Two Critical Tips for Conducting an Effective Interview

Hiring managers want to know the magic potion for how to conduct the best interview. In this video, I am going to share two critical tips that will help ensure you plan and conduct an effective interview. The tone you set and the way you listen during the interview will dramatically change the way you think about a hiring decision.

Hiring managers ask me all the time: “what are the best interview questions I can ask?” as if that is some magic potion for the best interview. Sure, having good questions are important but just having the best questions alone will not guarantee success. In this video, I am going to share two critical tips that will help ensure you plan and conduct an effective interview. The tone you set and the way you listen during the interview will dramatically change the way you think about a hiring decision.

Tip 1: Set the Right Tone

The first tip is to set the right tone for the interview. The tone is going to happen whether you plan for it or not, but if you aren’t conscious and deliberate about setting the right tone, you can create a scenario that result in failure.  I have seen bad hires result from an interview that was built around incongruent perceptions and tone. In one situation, the business owner was hiring an Office Manager and he had the perfect candidate to interview. If an effort to get the candidate excited about the position, he approached the interview in an over-friendly, almost chummy approach that misled the candidate as to a higher level of autonomy and authority than she would actually have in the job. She was hired and almost immediately, she felt like the work she was being asked to do was more menial than what she had been led to believe by the tone of the interview. She left very quickly and neither party felt good about what had transpired, but in retrospect, they could see how it unfolded as it did.

What is the Right Tone?

When thinking about the right tone, you want to match the organizational culture and the position requirements to the way you conduct the interview. For example, if you are hiring a new employee that will be held to a high level of expectations, perhaps with tight deadlines, challenging and stressful situations, the interview should match that same feel. For instance, you’ll want to ask tough questions that would equal the times of challenges he would receive any day. You’d require an assignment during the hiring process with a deadline that would mirror the time frame on the job. You’ll look for the types of reactions you’ll receive as that will be predictive for what will happen on the job.

Similar to the situation I described with the Office Manager that didn’t work out, if you go into the interview with too casual an approach, that can be misleading to the candidate about the seriousness to your decision.  Or if your approach is ultra-formal, but that doesn’t match the laid-back culture of your organizational, that sends a mixed message, too. So it’s so important to think about the tone matching the organizational culture and the needs of the position.

Tip 2: Listen with Curiosity and Intent

The second tip is to listen with curiosity and intent. Have you even been a part of a conversation where you felt like the other person was more focused on what they were going to say next versus listening to what you were saying? That’s what we want to avoid in an interview process. Your goal is to learn as much as you can about a candidate and you will do a much job of that if you dig deeper on a particular topic than going through a lot of different questions at a surface level.

Be an Effective Listener

One of the best ways to be an effective listener is to come to the conversation with a perspective of curiosity. So you’ve posed a question to a candidate and they respond. Rather than racing to the next line of questioning, instead hold that response in your head for a moment and mull it over. What else might be missing there? What could you ask them that would enrich the conversation, that would dig deeper? What else is underneath that surface?

Remember the tone you set for the interview and your ability to listen with curiosity and intent will be the magic sauce for all the great questions that you ask!

Be sure to check out other videos in the Learning Resource Center, available to you as a member. Here’s to your Graceful Leadership!

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