1. Be prepared. Many interviewers make the mistake of “winging it” in an interview. Being unprepared as the interviewer is just as bad as being unprepared as a candidate. Prepare a list of questions in advance, and use the same list with all candidates for that job. (Why is this a “secret”? Because despite how obvious it seems, I can’t tell how many hiring managers conduct their interviews without a written list of questions, or even an overall strategy for their hiring. The results of bad hires are VERY costly for companies … often exceeding the salary of the job.)
2. Talk less than a third of the time. The interview is a chance for you to get to know the candidate. That means the more you talk, the less you learn. Make sure you’re not talking more than a third of the time. How to cut down on that time? Prepare as much as you can about the position in advance in writing.
3. Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions (e.g., “Tell me about …”) get more information than closed-ended ones (e.g., “were you promoted in your last job?”). I usually start my interviews by saying, “Walk me through your career,” and then I shut up. This allows the applicant to explain their career history any way they wish, and I often get more information from that one question than any other.
Here are few other ideas —
– Always ask about gaps in a resume. If the candidate does not have a solid explanation for why there are gaps, that’s a red flag.
– If they have a LinkedIn profile, compare it to the resume. They should match exactly. If they don’t, ask why.
– Always ask if they are considering other positions at that moment. If they are, you might find out if they are currently considering an offer, as knowing that can help you greatly in deciding timing and next steps.