Creating a winning first impression is just as critical for the recruiter as the candidate at a job interview.
Well-constructed and delivered interviews create that vital good first impression to the applicants.
Almost all of the preparation for the interview should take place before the day itself. A professional and standardized approach leads to a smoother experience for both the recruiter and all the candidates, making it easier to find the right person for your job.
This preparation also can ease the part of the interview that most interviewers dread: the beginning.
The start of an interview can shape the direction of everything that follows. Use this guide to understand what you need to prepare beforehand and the steps to ensure a solid start to this crucial stage in recruitment.
With these tips, you can be confident of a smooth interview from start to finish.
What to Prepare Before the Interview
An interview is an opportunity to impress the candidates, showcase your company, and evaluate the applicants. You want your first choice to accept the job when offered.
Good interviews don’t just happen by chance—preparation is vital. Here are some areas to focus on before the day.
Meet and Greet
It can create an excellent first impression if someone is present to greet each applicant.
The meet-and-greet is an opportunity to go through any preliminary paperwork like identity documentation or work status.
The accessibility of this meet-and-greet is also crucial. All candidates should have access to facilities upon arrival.
Companies must accommodate special requirements, such as disability access, under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA protections shouldn’t just apply to employees but also prospective employees.
Choose an interview location appropriate for everyone’s needs, and you can demonstrate your company values equity.
Interview Format and Questions
Before the interview, it’s good practice to decide on the format and questions.
One-on-one interviews lend themselves to more in-depth discussions. They can be valuable for smaller companies or candidates who have advanced to the second or third interview stage.
In a panel job interview, each panelist will take turns asking a question from the list. The panel-style format gives each recruiter an opportunity to speak to the candidate.
Most questions are pre-determined and agreed upon by the recruitment team ahead of time. Usually, these center on questions to determine the candidate’s fit as well as their qualifications.
Scenario or situation-based questions have been popular amongst recruiters for a long time. These invite the candidate to illustrate an occasion from their personal or work life where they have demonstrated particular skills or qualities.
Remote interviews require an element of special preparation.
The bulk of the interview will be the same. However, it is important to ensure that the technology delivers correctly on the day, especially the link to the applicant and the interviewing panel for the date and time.
Remote interviews have a different vibe, and even for experienced recruiters, they can prove quite disorientating.
If you are conducting remote recruitment, plenty of professional advice is available to help you avoid the standard pitfalls that apply to both the candidates and the interviewer.
Some recruiters will require candidates to undergo further testing to assess specific competencies. It can take place either before or after the interview.
Candidates should receive a notification of what these tests will involve, how long they last, and when they will take place. Emailing this information is good practice, and you can do so when extending an invitation to interview.
Many recruiters will arrange for a staff member to show each applicant around the building or location where they will be working. This tour is a good opportunity for applicants to ask questions in a less formal environment.
4 Steps on How To Properly Start a Job Interview for Interviewers
1. Set Up the Interview Room
Pre-book a suitable room that is large enough for the participants and has special access if one or more candidates need this.
If candidates are giving a presentation, equip the room with the relevant equipment. Verify all the equipment works and is ready before the interviews start, so there are no glitches.
2. Meeting Each Applicant
If more than one person is interviewing, it is helpful to nominate a lead who can greet the candidates and chair the interview.
Meet each candidate with a warm smile and friendly approach—this will help put them at ease. First impressions count, and this is as important for the recruiter as it is for the applicant.
Show the candidate into the room and invite them to take a seat. Indicate the available water and any equipment required for a presentation.
Check that they are comfortable and ask them if they have everything they need before the interview.
3. Introduce the Panelists
Open the interview with a welcome statement and then introduce the interview panel to the applicant in turn.
Introductions are more than formalities. They indicate to the candidate whom they can expect to work with and hint at your company culture.
4. Explain the Interview Format
Explain the format the interview will take. You may already have outlined this in the invitation letter or email but repeat it.
The interview may begin with general questions, such as what attracted the candidate to this company or role. These act as an icebreaker.
The main bulk of the interview will consist of the panel asking questions of the candidate in turn.
If the candidate is to give a presentation, explain when this will be in the interview process.
Reassure the candidate that they will have an opportunity to ask their own questions at the end of the session and conclude with a timeline when you will let the candidate know the outcome.
5. Translating the Process for Remote Interviews
The process is similar for the content of the interview, whether you are face to face or on screen.
However, remote interviews have a different dynamic, and interviewers need to be comfortable with the process before engaging with real candidates.
If you are a seasoned interviewer but have worked mostly face to face, it is worth having a couple of trial runs with some mock interview sessions.
The interview is a vital part of recruiting, and ensuring a sound start can better position you to find the ideal candidate.
ScoutLogic can also help with finding the best match. Our comprehensive background checks and verification of employment history and qualifications streamline your recruitment process, freeing you to concentrate on the interview and assessment stage.
Call ScoutLogic today to find out how we can help facilitate your recruitment.