One of the most important things that a manager does is building his or her team by bringing in new talent. The most critical step in this process is the interview. Here is a collection of tips/techniques that I usually send out a few days ahead of time to anyone that is helping me conduct interviews. Some of this stuff may seem basic, but it’s amazing how often people overlook these points.

Good interview techniques:

  • You represent your company or business when interviewing candidates. Recognize that every person who interviews for a position forms an opinion of your company based on how they are treated. In addition to selling the advantages of being an employee, every interview is an opportunity to give potential or current customers a positive view of the company.
  • Read the resumes ahead of time. Don’t cram 30 minutes before the first interview.
  • Create your planned list of questions prior to the interview. You don’t have to follow it verbatim, but you shouldn’t be fumbling to come up with questions during the interview.
  • Numerous studies have shown that past behavior is the best indicator of future success. As such, questions should be behavior-based. Behavior-based questions ask candidates to give specific examples of what they did and the steps they took to accomplish their results.
  • Ask follow-up questions.
  • Turn off your pager/cell phone and close your laptop. If interviewing at your desk, you should turn off your monitor and forward your desk phone directly into voice mail. Remove all possible distractions.

Fair Hiring Practices:

  • Questions should be linked to the requirements identified in the job description. Do not ask questions that are unrelated to a candidate’s ability to do the job.
  • Do not ask questions that attempt to determine if the candidate belongs to one of the protected classes listed below. Also, do not give the impression that you want to know whether or not the candidate belongs to a protect class. If a topic comes up related to one of these, politely change the subject or move on to the next question.
    • Age (40 and above)
    • Race or national origin
    • Citizenship (Although it is okay to ask all candidates if they are legally able to work in the US)
    • Religion
    • Gender and/or Pregnancy Status
    • Sexual Orientation
    • Disability (actual or perceived) or association with a disabled person (such as care responsibilities)
    • Veteran status
    • Marital status
  • This is a fairly exhaustive list, but some states may define additional protected classes. Check with your local HR for a complete list.
  • Don’t write or take notes on the resumes or cover letters, these should be considered official legal documents. Take notes on a separate sheet of paper, preferably on some sort of candidate evaluation form.
  • This section is geared towards fair hiring practices for US-based positions. If you have insights on fair hiring practices outside the U.S., please post a reply

General Logistics:

  • Be vigilant about holding to the schedule and ending your interviews on time. When you are coordinating multiple candidates and multiple simultaneous interviews, one delay can have a ripple effect on the entire schedule.
  • If you are conducting a lunch interview, pick up the tab. Let the candidate know ahead of time that you will be picking up the tab.
  • Make sure someone is available to greet each candidate upon arrival at the beginning of the day. This would usually be the first interviewer. The last interviewer should be available to walk the candidate back to the lobby or entrance at the end of the day.