How to ace an interview for interviewers...

On paper, the candidate looks cracking. They came across well over the phone too. They’ve even agreed to take time out of their day to come and meet with you. So why put in-demand candidates through hoops at the final stage of the hiring process?

If an interviewee ticks all the boxes, then set them up for success. Hiring tech talent is difficult enough. Why make things harder for yourself?

In this blog, we’ll be giving you our top tips on how to ace an interview – as the interviewer.

Play nice

Some interviewers need to realise that interviewing is a two-way street. Yes, you need to meet with candidates to make sure they are just as good in reality as they are according to their Résumé. But an interview isn’t just for that. It’s a time for you to “pitch” your business, and highlight why this quality candidate should choose you over one of your competitors.

The best way to get a candidate on your side is to make their life easier. Put them at ease when they arrive, have an informal chat so you can find out what they’re like as a person. Don’t low ball them with difficult questions. And when they’re speaking, listen. And show that you are listening. You need to make the candidate feel valued.

Time is of the essence

It’s great to have a process and be methodical. However, having a structured process shouldn’t mean your time-to-hire should be lengthy. If you or your recruiter speaks with a candidate on the phone, then they come in for an interview that should be enough time for you to decide on whether they’re right for your business, or not.

Extending your interview processes unnecessarily by testing their skills and further interviews increases the chances of you losing that candidate.

What will another meeting achieve apart from prolonging the hiring process?

Chances are if an under-qualified candidate has managed to blag themselves through a phone call and a first stage interview, they’ll do the same way in other meetings. There’s only so much you can discover during the interview process. That’s why employees have a probation period.

Ask yourself some important questions

Before you meet your shortlisted candidates, you must understand what it is you’re looking for. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Software engineer, Li Haoyi, recommends being broad with your criteria. If you go too specific with what you’re looking for, you’ll either not find anyone who ticks every single box – or you’ll overlook a candidate with massive potential.

Some examples of questions Haoyi recommends asking yourself after an interview is:

  1. Will the candidate be able to write working code if they join the team?
  2. Can the candidate discuss code and problems with the people they’ll be working with?
  3. Can the candidate reason about arbitrary problems and constraints?
  4. Is the candidate someone we would enjoy working with?

It’s an age-old saying, but when it comes to interviewing, you should treat candidates how you would like to be treated. Offer them a brew, start with some easy questions and let them warm up before you make a judgement on them.

Regardless of whether you decide to offer a candidate or not, you should ensure they have a positive experience. Even if they aren’t a great fit for you, they probably have friends who would be. Word spreads, especially when it’s negative.


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