Business skills: How to become a great job interviewer

Tips for interviewing job applicants.

When looking for a potential employee, it is often best to find someone who is not only compatible for the job, but also compatible with co-workers and bosses.

It’s not easy finding the right balance, but by asking the right questions, a hiring manager or someone else conducting job interviews can get a better sense of the person they are looking to hire.

Good preparation includes a quick study on the applicant prior to the interview – usually just reading the resume and cover letter. Interviewers should also be well-dressed and well-groomed, as they are one of the first impressions the applicant will have of the company.

A good interviewing rule is to ask open questions, which means asking “how” and “why” questions as opposed to “yes” and “no” questions. Phrase questions in a way that would make the responder have to explain. You won’t learn much about the person if they answer just “yes” or “no” to questions.

Business skills: How to become a great job interviewer

For example, it’s better to ask: “How do you feel about working in a fast-paced environment?” instead of “Do you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment?”

The type of questions an interviewer wants to start out with really depends on the job being filled. But in many cases, experience is paramount. Many interviewers may prefer to begin the interview by discussing the job applicant’s experience, because that provides a better insight into how the applicant might perform the job. A person with limited experience who is fresh out of college is, usually, unpredictable. They have a lot to learn, so with young applicants, it is usually best to start the interview with questions about career goals: “what do you hope to accomplish here?” “How long do you plan to stay with the company?” “Since you don’t have much experience, what do I gain by hiring you?”

Another important factor is education. Some applicants may list on their resumes that they have degrees from certain schools, but they fail to mention what degree they have or when they earned it.

An interviewer might ask, “Why did you choose to major in this subject?” or “How will this degree help you at this job?”

There is nothing wrong with being upfront. If anything, it’s a good way to see how the applicant reacts to pressure.

But there are some areas to avoid. Formally, an interviewer should never ask an applicant’s age, marital status or ethnic background.

Either way, some of this information will be on tax records, but it should never be asked or insinuated that this information will be used to determine if an applicant is fit for the job.

Federal laws prohibit discrimination in hiring. But informally, the questions might eventually come up. It is best to avoid them altogether, to avoid problems in the future with disgruntled applicants who may feel that they did not get the job because they were judged based on their age, marital status, ethnic background or other information not directly related to the job.

Other than those few areas, job interviews can be fairly loose and casual.

Keeping the interview casual makes the job applicant more comfortable, which usually means it will be easier for the applicant to talk and discuss. The more the applicant talks, the more the interviewer will learn about them.

Also, a good interviewer listens more than he or she talks.

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