Unlocking Success: How to Structure an Interview from an Employer’s Perspective

Interviews are a pivotal step in the hiring process, providing employers with valuable insights into a candidate’s qualifications, skills, and fit for the role. However, conducting an effective interview requires careful planning and structuring to ensure a fair and comprehensive assessment of each candidate. Only 2% of candidates who apply for a job opening are selected for a job interview which just shows how important it is to get the interview process right[1]. An employer should structure an interview to maximise their effectiveness and make informed hiring decisions.

[1] Source: https://recruitcrm.io/blogs/job-interview-statistics/

Structure An Interview: An Employer Shaking Hands With An Interviewee

Step – by – step process on how to structure an interview:

1. Define the Objectives:

Before conducting an interview, it’s essential to clarify the objectives and desired outcomes of the interview process. Determine what specific skills, experiences, and qualities you’re looking for in a candidate, and tailor your interview questions accordingly. Having clear objectives will help focus the interview and ensure that you gather the information needed to assess each candidate’s suitability for the role. Having a clear objective will also help you “tick the boxes” so that you can choose a candidate that suits your specific requirements.

2. Plan the Interview Format:

Consider the most suitable interview format for the role and the candidates involved. Options include one-on-one interviews, panel interviews with multiple interviewers, or even virtual interviews conducted remotely. Choose a format that allows for effective communication and interaction between the interviewer(s) and the candidate, ensuring a productive and insightful discussion.  67% of recruiters feel that eye contact is crucial to making a good impression so choose your interview format carefully.[1]

3. Develop a Structured Interview Guide:

Create a structured interview guide outlining the key areas of inquiry and the specific questions to be asked during the interview. Structure the questions to cover a range of topics, including the candidate’s relevant experience, skills, problem-solving abilities, and cultural fit. A structured interview guide ensures consistency across interviews and helps assess candidates objectively based on predetermined criteria. Remember, the candidate is also there to assess you as an employer so it is important for you to have a clear structure and plan in order to come across as organised and professional.

4. Start with an Introduction:

Begin the interview with a warm and welcoming introduction, setting the tone for the conversation. Introduce yourself and any other interviewers present, provide an overview of the interview process, and explain what the candidate can expect during the interview. Creating a positive and welcoming atmosphere helps envision the candidate at your work space and encourages open communication. It is also appropriate to start with a few non-interview questions such as: “How was your weekend?” Or “I love your shirt, where is it from” which would instantly make the candidate more at ease.

5. Ask Open-Ended Questions:

During the interview, ask open-ended questions that prompt candidates to provide detailed responses and examples from their experiences. Avoid leading or yes/no questions, as they limit the candidate’s ability to showcase their capabilities. Instead, encourage candidates to elaborate on their responses, share relevant anecdotes, and demonstrate their qualifications for the role.

6. Allow Time for Candidate Questions:

Give candidates an opportunity to ask questions about the role, the company culture, or any other relevant topics. Encourage candidates to ask insightful questions that demonstrate their interest in the position and their understanding of the company’s goals and values. This two-way dialogue provides insights into the candidate’s level of engagement and enthusiasm for the role. It will also indicate to you if they have conducted any prior research on the company or role and their commitment to the position.

7. Close with Next Steps:

Conclude the interview by thanking the candidate for their time and interest in the position. Clearly communicate the next steps in the hiring process, such as follow-up interviews, assessments, or timelines for decision-making. Reiterate your appreciation for the candidate’s candidacy and express your enthusiasm for the possibility of working together in the future.

Structuring an interview from an employer’s perspective involves careful planning, clear objectives, and effective communication. By following these steps and creating a structured interview process, employers can conduct more insightful and productive interviews, leading to better hiring decisions and successful outcomes.

[1] Source: https://recruitcrm.io/blogs/job-interview-statistics/