The Art of Conducting Job Interviews

By Anadi Upadhyaya

I have always enjoyed the process of identifying, attracting and selecting the best talent. Hiring is one of those processes which uses both science (i.e. data science) and art. There are tools and techniques which help you to attract and shortlist candidates worthy for a job interview. Recruiting tools embedded with insightful analytics and various forms of preliminary tests help you to understand candidates better, but final selection is mostly a human driven process and it’s not yet a science.

It is a two-way process. You want to select the "best person for your opening" and candidates want to find out "if this is really the right job, right workplace, and right people to work for". While it seems all the pressure is on the candidate, as an interviewer, you also have to prepare well; not only to make the hiring process a success but also to increase the chances of selecting the right candidate.

Effective interviewing is critical for your business. Losing the right candidate or hiring the wrong one are both very costly. As an interviewer, you must be able to open, run, and close the interview properly. This process requires active listening. You must make every effort to refrain from selective listening. Don’t decide based on the words you are hearing but understand “what is really being said”. Both verbal and non-verbal communication skills are important and you should "stay alert" to this fact while interviewing candidates. 

Before you start, you need to have a plan which clarifies basic points about the interview. For example, you should be clear about the type of interview (one-on-one, panel, or sequential), timing and location (often mutually agreed between you and candidate) and topics (decided based upon job profile, candidate profile, and data science recommendations about the candidate) that you would like to cover in the form of questions or discussions.

At the beginning, make sure that the candidate is comfortable and ready to begin before you start the interview. You need to develop a rapport with candidates first as it is your responsibility to create a healthy atmosphere for the interview. Humans are prone to mistakes and prejudices so make sure that every candidate (regardless of sex, marital status, race, disability, location, age etc.) is given an equal opportunity to perform.  

When in discussion, you should run the interview according to plan and cover various relevant topics. In order to get information on past performance as well as to gauge candidate potential, you should ask questions related to the job you are interviewing for, candidate's profile, company, fact-findings, education, work experience, interests, ambitions and so on. You should mix different types of questions which provide the candidate every opportunity to prove that they are the best fit for the job and avoid focusing solely on close ended questions. 

At the end, while you are closing the interview, you should provide the candidate an opportunity to ask questions. You should also clearly signal that the interview is over and should inform the candidate how a decision will be communicated. Make sure that the discussion remains realistic and don’t show a false picture during an interview as it will not benefit either one of you.

Finally, you should be able to reach a decision without any ambiguity. Similarly, you should be able to tell whether insight provided by your data science matches your own experience and be prepared to analyze any differences with your team as this feedback will do wonders for the betterment of your recruiting process as a whole. 

Always remember that it is a human to human event. Be nice, as respect is something that people across generations value most. Happy Recruiting. 

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Anadi Upadhyaya is a Director of Workforce Compensation Product Development at Oracle. He is leading global teams and actively involved in HCM customers' success story on the cloud and on-premise. Anadi is a technology leader, blogger and patent holder with a proven track record for delivery of enterprise business applications. He has unique combination of abilities to set functional and technical strategy, converting them to achievable plan of actions, and driving to realization and customer success. Follow him on Twitter @AnadiUpadhyaya

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