7 Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know

7 Interviewing Techniques You Need to KnowThis is Part 2 of a three-part series on how your small business can hire the best employees. Part 1 discussed reaching active and passive candidates. Part 3 will show you how to create a new employee onboarding experience. Want to improve your hiring process and save you time and money? You will love these seven interviewing techniques.

Technique #1: Prepare.

Of the 7 interviewing techniques, this is the most important. You must prepare! Start with a job description. It defines the job duties and the knowledge, skills, and abilities required. During your interview, you want to learn who your candidate is. Do they have the essential skills? Do they have the attitudes and behaviors that are critical to successful performance? Your job description is the foundation for Insightful InterviewTM questions (Technique #4). It also helps assess whether candidates can perform the job (Technique #7).

Technique #2. Keep it simple.

Is your process lengthy and time-consuming? If you answered yes, you are losing great candidates. Making it hard for candidates is a big mistake. Great candidates will drop you in a hot minute if your process takes too long or is too complicated. Can you simplify your process? Bring your candidates in to interview once instead of two or three times. Use pre-interview assessments (Technique #7) to reduce the number of candidates you interview. Combine several steps into one in-person interview. Also, remember your candidates are working somewhere else. Please don’t put them in a position of having to take time off to interview.

Technique #3: Assess Cultural Fit.

Great technical skills are not enough; you must also hire for attitude. Like people, your business has a unique personality or culture. It has core values, beliefs, and a unique mission. These differentiate it from other similar businesses. Great candidates want to know why their work matters. They want to know how they can contribute to making a difference, and what it will be like to work for your company. They need to know that your business shares their personal values. Tell them why what they do matters (the purpose or mission of their work).

Technique #4: Ask Insightful Interview™ questions.

You want your questions answered in a way that gives you trust and confidence in your applicants. You want to know how a candidate will perform on the job. That’s why the questions you ask must be strategically designed to give you that information. Define what a right answer sounds like and what a wrong answer sounds like. Interviewers often ask questions without knowing how to decide if the answer is a good one. Take some time to define both good and bad answers. Here’s an example to get you started.

Technique #5: Use silence.

Silence is one of the most underused yet most effective interviewing techniques. Many people are uncomfortable with silence and rush to fill it. As an interviewer, you want to let your candidate break the silence. Why? Because most candidates will fill the void with information they never intended to share. That information is often not prepared or rehearsed. You’ll receive unexpected and surprising (both great and not so great) information.

Technique #6: Be a great listener.

People generally hear what they listen for. When you interview people, listen for what you want and don’t want, as well as for your own biases. Listening, really listening, is difficult. Your mind is unconsciously focused on hearing what it wants to hear. But, you must actively listen to what your candidates are staying. Candidates often use jargon or buzzwords to hide lack of knowledge. When you strip all that fluff away, is there any substance? If not, dig a little deeper using follow up questions until you get the needed information.

Technique #7: Use skill assessments.

Consider using skills assessments if you lack the technical expertise to assess skills. For example, you might be hiring a finance or accounting person and that’s not your area of expertise. Assessments can be a pre-interview step. They can save you from spending time interviewing candidates who lack critical skills. One word of caution: make sure you use a reputable company who has tested and validated the assessment. When used properly, assessments are a good tool to have in your recruiting toolbox.

Put these Interviewing Techniques to work for you.

Stay tuned for next week when we’ll discuss the ways you can create onboarding experience that immediately engages your new team member.

Have a question or want some help using these interview techniques? Click this link to schedule a complimentary Insight session. It’s an investment of 15 minutes of focused coaching that will pay huge dividends.

Prefer a do it yourself approach? The YOLO Principle: The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Small Business is packed with tools, templates, and step-by-step instructions. Purchase your copy here or on Amazon.