Conducting an Interview: Tips to Know Before, During, and After the Big Day



We know interviews are a big deal for prospective employees. Candidates feel the anticipation around a potentially new and exciting opportunity and know they have to make a great impression. On the other hand, employers may feel the gravity of the interview process just as much, since finding the right hire who can add value to the organization isn’t a decision that should be made lightly. 


With today’s environment posing challenges in obtaining and retaining top talent, and with so much riding on quality recruitment and hiring, it’s critical for you as an employer to prepare for the interview as much as a job candidate might. Here are some useful tips that can help you before, during, and after the interview process.


How to Prepare for the Interview

Some important prep work is often necessary before you conduct any interview. Get started on the right foot by considering doing the following before the interview process begins:

  • Get clear on the role for which you’ll be interviewing candidates. Understand the skills, experience, and requirements that are needed for it.

  • Evaluate every candidate carefully. Review a candidate’s cover letter, resume, and any other items he or she provided in the application process to make sure the candidate’s skills and experience match what you’re looking for.

  • Develop a list of questions to ask during the interview. Try mixing behavioral, situational, probing, and creative questions to elicit the best responses. 

  • Do a practice run of the interview. Consider timing yourself to ensure you can get through your portion of the interview and leave enough time for the candidate to ask any questions.

  • Set aside a proper room or space. Give the candidate clear instructions on time and place.

  • Test any technology or apps you plan to use, if you’ll be conducting a remote interview. Troubleshoot and solve any issues upfront. 


What to Consider During the Interview

When you’re conducting an interview, remember that the candidate is also interviewing you and evaluating what it might be like to work for your organization. Here are some tips to help the interview go smoothly and successfully:

  • Create a quiet, accessible interview atmosphere. A dedicated, comfortable interview space relays a positive image of your organization and helps the candidate relax.

  • Explain the interview process upfront. When the candidate arrives, let them know exactly what to expect and who they will be interviewing with (if others are present besides you).

  • Be a good listener. Make eye contact with the candidate when they’re speaking and avoid distracting activities like tapping your pen or looking around the room.

  • Take comprehensive notes. Summarize the content from each candidate’s interview and highlight anything during the interview you may want to clarify or expand on later.

  • Be aware of interview order effects. Candidates interviewed first and last in the order tend to be recalled more easily and evaluated more favorably. Make sure you evaluate each candidate fairly and thoroughly, regardless of where they are in the order.

  • Thank the candidate and explain next steps. When concluding the interview, be sure to extend gratitude to the candidate for their time and clearly explain any next steps


What to Do After the Interview

When the candidate interviews have concluded, your work isn’t done yet. The following post-interview guidance will help ensure you evaluate each candidate effectively and can follow up as needed:

  • Review the notes you took during the interview. This will help each candidate stay fresh in your mind so you can analyze their responses effectively.

  • Keep any work samples or resources the candidate may have provided. Organize each candidate’s materials for quick and easy reference.

  • Keep your eyes out for a “thank you” note from the candidate. It’s courteous and a best practice for candidates to thank you for the interview, and it’s another indicator of who is serious about the opportunity.

  • Stay engaged with the top candidates so they remain interested. Touch base with them and keep them in the loop so they know you’re interested as well.

  • Draft the offer letter. Once you’ve settled on your perfect candidate, make sure to send the offer letter in a timely manner so you can keep the process moving forward.  

  • Keep a positive connection with those who didn’t get the position. Communicate that the decision was made to hire someone else but they may have great potential for a future role with your organization.  


Developing Your Hiring Strategy

The interview is just one component of a solid recruiting and hiring strategy. As you settle in for the year ahead, it’s a good idea to review seasonal hiring tips and familiarize yourself with recruiting for remote work. It’s also helpful to prepare for peak hiring season which usually encompasses the first month or two of the year, and consider some additional interview advice to ensure all your bases are covered.


Additionally, from talent shortages and skills gaps to high turnover and slow onboarding processes, HR leaders have their hands full juggling current workforce needs—not to mention balancing them against future business goals. 


To succeed in this modern business landscape, it’s important to have the right workforce strategy in place. Strategic workforce planning enables HR teams to identify and fill skills gaps based on current organizational needs and future business objectives through hiring, training, and technology. 


Need help with strategic workforce planning?


SyncHR changes the workforce management game by delivering a next-generation HCM solution that enables 360-degree visibility while integrating essential functions like talent management, performance management, and employee costing—all within a single platform. 


To learn more about SyncHR, click here.


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