How To Be a Good Interviewer in Six Steps (With Helpful Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A good interviewer can assist an employer in hiring a qualified professional for the job. Leading an effective interview involves understanding the job opening and the candidates who apply. As an interviewer, it's also important to be prepared so you can maintain a positive image of the employer. In this article, we describe how to be a good interviewer, what the role of an interviewer is and list steps and tips for preparing for a successful interview.

What is an interviewer?

An interviewer is a representative of an employer who conducts interviews with job candidates. To determine if a candidate is qualified for a position, the interviewer poses questions that assess a professional's skills and work experience. They also offer more information about the job and the company. Interviewers are often hiring managers who spearhead the recruitment process. Human resource managers or the supervisors of the open position can also serve as interviewers. A good interviewer can establish a positive relationship with the candidate and collect enough information about them to make an informed hiring decision.

Why is being a good interviewer important?

The role of an interview can impact recruitment procedures and the hiring decision. The job interview is often the first encounter the candidate has with the employer. Being a good interviewer can positively represent the organisation, which can increase the candidate's desire to work with you.

Hiring and training new employees can be expensive and time-consuming. As an employer, your goal may be to employ a professional who can work at the company for a long time, avoiding the need to recruit more candidates for the same position so soon. A competent interviewer can lead a competent interview, which also increases the possibility of hiring a competent employee.

What are the qualities of a good interview?

A competent interviewer might have these three characteristics:

  • Prepared: as an interviewer, being prepared means knowing which candidate you're meeting with and the vacant position. You have a list of questions to ask and you've established your goals for the meeting.

  • Attentive: being an attentive interviewer means being engaged in the conversation. You're processing the candidate's remarks and contributing positively to the meeting.

  • Thorough: being a thorough interviewer means asking enough questions to make an informed decision. You've learned a lot about the candidate and their qualifications, and you're confident about your assessment.

Related: Body Language Tips for a Job Interview

What are three things that make a great interviewer?

Here are three things that can represent a successful interviewer:

  • Strong communication: an interviewer who communicates effectively can explain their expectations for the job in a way the candidate understands. They can also pose their questions clearly to encourage detailed responses.

  • Friendliness: having a friendly attitude can enable the interview to make a positive first impression on the candidate, which may encourage them to accept a job offer. Friendliness can stimulate a pleasant conversation and ease potential awkwardness.

  • Education: an informed interviewer knows all the information about the job and the company, which enables them to explain the details to the candidate. They've taken the time to learn the requirements of the role and they are qualified to represent the employer.

How to be a good interviewer

Here are six steps that can enable you to lead a successful interview with job candidates:

1. Read the candidate's CV

The first step in preparing for an interview is collecting as much information about the candidate as possible. A CV typically details their professional background, including previous experience, education level and skills. As the interviewer, it may be your responsibility to determine if the candidate can demonstrate their qualifications in person the same way they do on a job application. Know who you're interviewing to stimulate a productive conversation with the candidate and learn everything you need to decide if you want to advance them in the hiring process.

Related: How To Write a CV (With Template and Example)

2. Review the job posting

Reread the job posting to learn about the open position from the interviewee's perspective. The candidate may form their expectations about the interview from the description the employer posted. To ensure you discuss relevant information, use the posting to help you prepare for the interview. For example, if the description stated the employee has to make weekly presentations and travel frequently, then you can use those responsibilities as talking points for the meeting. Consider the potential questions the interviewee may have about the job and incorporate the answers to those questions in your discussion.

3. Understand the qualities you seek

For the job interview, it's essential to know the characteristics you desire from an employee. Think about the needs of the company and how a professional can positively contribute to the workflow. Understanding the attributes you seek can help you better assess the interviewee during the appointment. You can interpret their answers more effectively and identify if their personality and background align with the organisational culture.

4. Create questions in advance

Once you've established goals for the interview, make a list of questions to ask the candidate. Contemplate an inquiry that can offer insight into the interviewee's qualifications for the job. As the conversation proceeds, you might choose to ask follow-up questions based on the candidate's response. However, having a list of general inquiries can help you transition to different subjects. It might be helpful to use their resume to consider the areas where you want the candidate to elaborate. Here are examples of the type of interview questions you might ask:

  • General: the purpose of general questions is to gain information about the interviewee on a surface level. For instance, you might request the candidate to describe their strengths and weaknesses or what circumstances persuaded them to apply for the job.

  • In-depth: in-depth questions encourage potential employees to explain their professional background in detail. Consider asking about their industry knowledge and how their previous roles have prepared them for the position they're seeking.

  • Scenario: with the answers to scenario questions, you can gauge how the candidate might respond to instances in the workplace. For example, you can describe a scenario and ask them what they would do to solve the problem or handle the task.

Read more: Interview Question: "What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?"

5. Design an agenda

An agenda can outline the activities of an interview or a list of topics in the order you want to discuss them. Having a schedule can allow you to remain organised during the meeting, managing your time productively and ensuring you accomplish your objectives. It might be helpful to reserve a few minutes towards the end of the conversation for the candidate to ask questions. You can also note when you want to explain the history of the company and its work culture, for example.

6. Evaluate your interview skills

After the meeting takes place, contemplate your performance as an interviewer. Review the information you learned about the candidate and the quality of their answers to your questions. For example, in the future, you may decide to extend an interview to pose in-depth questions or require a skills test to watch a candidate practice their technical abilities. Evaluation can enable you to identify ways to improve your interviewing techniques.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

What should an interviewer do during an interview?

During your meeting with the candidate, you might perform these tasks:

  • Practice active listening: active listening can allow you to hear and understand the candidate's answers to your interview questions. Use verbal and nonverbal cues to show you're paying attention, such as direct eye contact, nodding your head and paraphrasing what they've said.

  • Ask follow-up questions: another benefit of active listening is it can help you form follow-up questions, which you might create based on what the candidate previously said. If you want the interviewee to elaborate on something, ask a follow-up question to receive a more detailed response and maintain the momentum of the conversation.

  • Take notes: you can refer to your notes after the interview to help you make a hiring decision. Write what you learned about the candidate and details that captured your attention that you want to remember.

Tips for being a good interviewer

Consider the following tips for additional guidance on being a good interviewer:

  • Make a good first impression

  • Welcome the candidate to the interview

  • Begin the interview in a lighthearted manner to relax the candidate

  • Search for commonalities between you and the candidate

  • Ask the manager of the open position about their requirements for the role

  • Get a second opinion on the candidate's resume

  • Prepare for every interview separately

  • Customise your questions to the specific candidate you're interviewing

  • Create mock interviews with your colleagues to help you prepare

  • End the interview on a professional note

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