How to Be a Good Interviewer

Finding great candidates for your clients is a must. You likely collect applications, scour the web to source candidates, screen resumes, and interview top candidates.

Interviewing is a crucial step. It can help you sort out the bad fits from the good. By interviewing candidates, you can make sure you only send the very best on to your client.

Conducting interviews might seem simple. It’s essentially asking questions and recording the answers. But, interviewing is more complicated than that. You need some skill and preparation. If you want to ensure that you pick out the best candidates during interviews, you need to be a good interviewer. So, what makes a good interviewer?

How to be a good interviewer

Some people have qualities that make them naturally good interviewers. Other people learn how to be a good interviewer.

Find out below what qualities make a good interviewer, then check out the tips to become an even better interviewer.

Qualities of a good interviewer

Good interviewers tend to have certain characteristics. If you don’t have all the qualities listed below, don’t worry. Some qualities can be learned or improved with practice.

Welcoming personality

Good interviewers are welcoming people. You must invite candidates in and make them feel comfortable. Even if you’re doing phone interviews, you must put candidates at ease. People should want to talk to you.

You shouldn’t be stiff or formal. Instead, be inviting. Be conversational. You might even share a little bit about yourself to make candidates more open to talking to you.

Good listener

If you want to be a good interviewer, you need to be a good listener. The point of the interview is for you to learn about the candidate. That means they actually need to talk.

Make sure you listen more than you talk. You can ask questions and direct responses with follow-up comments. But, other than that, you should let the candidate talk.

As the candidate talks about their skills and experience, listen carefully. Listen for red flags. And, you must spot areas that require more details.

Detailed recordkeeper

You must keep good records of all your interviews. Your notes should include the candidate’s skills, experience, why you think they’re qualified, and any negatives.

You should take notes during the interview. Include follow-up thoughts, too. Keep your notes organized so you can easily review them and send them to your client. Your recruiting software can help you do this.

Wise judgment

An interviewer must have good judgment. You must be able to tell whether or not the candidate is actually a good fit.

You must also be aware of your biases. You must put your biases aside during interviews so you can fairly judge the candidates. For example, you might be biased against people with a certain level of education. Because of your bias, you might judge a candidate unfairly. But when you are aware of your biases, you can determine if your thoughts about a candidate are legitimate or based on a bias.

Quick thinker

When you are interviewing, you must think on your feet. You should have a list of questions to ask. But, you must think quickly to ask follow-up questions. These questions are difficult to create in advance because you have no idea what the candidate will say. You will need to practice improvisation when learning how to be a great interviewer.

Tips for being a good interviewer

Being a good interviewer isn’t about qualities alone. There are things you can do to become a better interviewer.

Prepare questions

Create a list of questions to ask. You might have generic questions, behavioral interview questions, and specific questions about the job.

The list of interview questions will keep you on track. And, it’ll ensure you ask similar questions to all the candidates.

You might also want to create an interview scorecard. The scorecard lists the interview questions. It also provides room to take notes and rate the responses.

Don’t wing the interview. If you do, the interview might get off track, run long, or not be beneficial to you or the candidate.

Review materials

Brush up on the candidate before the interview. Read their resume and cover letter. If they gave you work samples, look at those, too. If you’ve made any notes about the candidate in your applicant tracking system, review those.

Reread the job description. Make sure you can accurately talk about the role and its requirements.

If your client gave you any other materials about the position, review those. Look over your client’s values and goals so you can better evaluate the candidate.

Stay on track

It’s good to make candidates feel comfortable. But, it’s easy to get sidetracked with small talk or unrelated conversation.

Have an interview structure. Imagine how you want the interview to go. For example, you might want to casually talk, move into the interview, and leave time for candidate questions. When you have a plan, you know what comes next so you can keep the interview moving.

Cut out distractions

The candidate should have your full attention during the interview.

Don’t let interruptions occur. You shouldn’t answer phone calls or emails. Don’t let co-workers walk in.

Also, don’t schedule anything for right after the interview. You don’t want to rush or push candidates out if the interview runs long. Having extra time after the interview can also let you record thoughts before you forget.