Job interviews are a critical step in the hiring process for temporary, temp to hire or direct hire positions. For short-term temporary positions, managers often rely on a staffing agencies recommendation of a candidate or candidates.  For longer term or critical temporary assignments and direct hires, personal interviews by the hiring manager are key.  In these cases, while professional staffing companies can assist in narrowing down applicants, it is up to the hiring managers to assess the skills and abilities of the prospective employee. This article provides some important interview tips for hiring managers.

Types of interviews:

While there are many types of interviews, there are two broad categories, structured or unstructured.

In a structured interview, a set of predetermined questions and a scoring method are used. All candidates are subject to the same set of questions. Structured interviews will be discussed in more detail in a future post.

An unstructured interview is more informal, can be more relaxed. There are no predetermined questions or scoring method. It is up to the hiring manager to interpret the answers.

As a hiring manager, if you are conducting an unstructured interview, these tips will help you optimize your interview time and make the right quality hire.

  1. Be prepared: As a hiring manager it is important to note that while you are assessing the candidate, you are also being evaluated too by the interviewee. Be well versed with the work that your company is known for, the brand image, and the quality expectations. Having a thorough understanding of the job description will help you steer the conversation in the right direction, so that you can assess the relevant strengths better. Draw up a general sketch of what kind of questions will help you assess the candidate better.
  2. Project positivity: Candidates are likely to remember negative vibes and comments more than positive ones. Try to avoid any negative expressions about yourself, the candidate or the job in question. Setting a positive atmosphere for the interview is important. Choose a quiet room with a non-threatening ambience and an informal seating arrangement if possible.
  3. Listen well: If you are the one doing all the talking, you are not achieving your objective. Besides, you might miss the opportunity to learn more about the candidate. It is necessary of course to begin the conversation by explaining the interview process and the job expectations. It would be prudent to then ask relevant open ended questions, and listen while the interviewee talks.
  4. Pay attention to body language: Research shows that about 60% to 90% of messages that our brain processes are based on body language or non-verbal communication. Gestures account for 55 % of the non-verbal communication. While you assess the body language of the candidate, it is important to maintain appropriate level of eye contact and not appear disinterested in what the interviewee is saying. An empathetic attitude and a genuine smile will help the candidate open up more. According to interview coach Pamela Skillings, body language plays a role on both sides of the table.
  5. It’s not personal! Avoid asking personal questions that are not relevant to the job, and that includes marital status, health or disabilities, religion and race. Questions related to the candidates’ experience and qualification, the roles and responsibilities in the previous organization and other job related questions are what you should be asking. Note: it is important to have an understanding of what questions should not be asked from a legal perspective. Your Human Resources Department can be a key resource for this.

Following these interview tips for hiring managers will help make your next hire a success!