10 ways for an employer to prepare for an interview

The interview is a pivotal stage in the recruitment process. This is the point where you select who the right person is for your job.   

It is easy to get complacent with interviews. When you have hired multiple times in your career your “gut feel” can determine your decision making. However, this can be a dangerous path. When you do not prepare thoroughly for an interview you can miss out important information, not delve deeply enough into the questions, and make a snap judgement based on your first impression. 

Every interview should be like your first interview. By meticulously preparing you not only get the detailed information that will help you make informed decisions. You will also make an impression with the candidate that will enhance your personal and employer brand. 

In the excitement of the interview process it is important to remember that it is not a one-way process. It is a mutually beneficially process where they choose you, and you choose them. Preparing for the interview is important not just for the candidate, but for the employer too. 

10 of the best ways for an employer to prepare for an interview:

1. Understand the job you want to fill

Understand every detail of the job including the responsibilities, activities, methodology, measurement, and expected results. Be clear on how the job contributes to company’s success and why the job is important to the vision of the company.

The way you communicate demonstrates your clear understanding of the job and how it adds value to the company’s success.

2. Know how to effectively communicate the culture

The culture of your business is a driving force in how you attract and retain talent. Clearly communicate your culture with specific examples of the behaviours that are encouraged how these are celebrated.

If you are unable to effectively communicate your culture take your time to assess and create a way to communicate it. This sets you apart from your competition. It is your identity and makes you unique.

The culture of the company is a deciding factor for a candidate, so you need to do it justice.

3. Engage and promote

You are being interviewed as much as you are interviewing. From how you introduce yourself, the questions you ask, your interest in their response, and how you say goodbye. Each stage of the interview structure is an opportunity to engage. Think about your tone, body language and how engaging you are in the conversation.

This is an opportunity for you to promote your personal and employer brand. Consider how you promote yourself and your company. A good way to do this is to prepare a 90 second elevator pitch. It helps eliminate any hesitation and creates clarity in your message.

4. Be yourself

It is important for you to be yourself and let the person you are interviewing get to know you. Can you see yourself working closely together, everyday? If yes, you are off to a good start.

Your employee and employer relationship will develop in the interview. Having a personal connection and respectful engagement facilitates the effectiveness of the relationship.

5. preparation is key

You have an hour to uncover the information you need to make your decision. To make the most of every minute write down the interview questions that you want to ask. Check that these questions will reveal the information that corresponds to the job description.

Take the time to read through the CV, application, and any assessments. Change or add to your list of questions based on the insight from these resources. Eliminate questions that you already know the answer to.

How well or badly you prepare will easily be observed by the candidate. The more you prepare, the more engaging and positive the interview experience will be.

6. deep dive questions

Prepare a list of competency questions. They will help you to understand the candidate’s technical ability as well as their emotional intelligence. A general rule of thumb is that past performance is an indicator of future performance.

Base these questions on the skills and requirements of the job description.

For a flowing conversation and to dig deeper, minimise the chance of one-word answers by asking open ended questions. Start the question with either “why, what, how, when, where or who” this encourages a conversation. Ask for examples to help you visualise the explanation.

7. be curious

To understand more about your candidate, be curious. Follow your deep dive questions by asking “why”. This curiosity adds layers to your questioning to understand more about their reasoning and decision making, not just their performance.

Understanding their reasoning and decision making gives you a deeper understanding of their capabilities and character.

8. Give the candidate an opportunity to ask questions

This will help them to find out more about you and your company. It will also give you some insight into the research they may or may not have completed.

Consider the questions they ask and the way they ask them. It will give you an indication into their interest in the job.

9. Listen

Throughout the interview let the conversation flow. Do not interrupt. This is your chance to show your leadership qualities and your ability to listen.

How you communicate in the interview will give the candidate insight into how you will communicate in the business.

10. Follow up

Your follow up and feedback, whether successful or not, is a key indication about your values and how you engage.

Be respectful and kind by providing specific feedback, not generic comments. A candidate will know if it is generic and will feel disregarded and undervalued. Give people your time by making the effort to provide feedback.

How you respond and communicate in the interview process is an indicator about how you respond and communicate in business. A judgement will be made on you as a future employer. Make it the best possible judgement. 

Hunton Executive can help you create and prepare for your interview process so you can select the right candidates for the right jobs, accelerating your business performance. 

For a comprehensive guide to attracting, recruiting, and retaining your talent contact Hunton Executive.


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