Have a Conversation, Not an Interrogation

Police Detective Interrogating A Prisoner In Handcuffs

It’s easy for job candidates to sit through an interview and feel as though they are on an unequal footing with the hiring manager. This is sometimes due to their own anxiety or their preconceived notions about how the interview will go. At other times, their anxiety directly relates to the hiring manager conducting the interview. Here are three tips to ensure that interviews look more like a conversation than an interrogation. Spotting a bad interview is a wakeup call to take a more effective approach in the next interview.

Give the candidate a chance to answer each question. When a candidate says something that sparks interest, make a note. Immediately firing off another question before the person has finished speaking creates discomfort for both the interviewer and the interviewee.

Analyze what went well and what didn’t during the interview. A candidate could walk away with a negative impression of the organization with even a simple feeling of disorganization. (S)he might feel as though (s)he blurted out the wrong thing or that the job they were interview for wasn’t a great fit.

Look for signs that a candidate needs clarification. A stutter, grimace or uncomfortable silence indicates the need for a life-line. Giving an example to a question like “tell me about a time you solved a complex problem at work,” gives a candidate the chance to formulate a response before the next question on the list.

Interrogations are not comfortable for anyone and can leave both the interviewer and the interviewee with the strong sense that the interview went poorly. Good interviewers pace interviewees through the first meeting. They know when to spend more time on questions based on verbal and nonverbal feedback received from the interviewee. Bottom line: a great interview feels more like a conversation than an interrogation.

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