If you are looking for the right kind of people to hire for your organisation, the interview is an excellent opportunity to evaluate potential candidates before making a choice. Therefore, knowing the best interview techniques is essential. It matters to have the best interview skills to make the most of the techniques.
The cost to the company for hiring the wrong person can be huge and not just monetary, but could also affect client relationships, reputational standing and lost opportunities through reduced ability to secure new work.
It’s also important, especially at the executive level, that you view the interview as an opportunity to showcase your company in the best light to industry leaders. As such, shaping interviews for the specific role, as well as planning and preparing for individual candidates, is essential. Interviewers can develop their skills through practice, learning and support.
Using the right interview techniques will ensure you fill the open position quickly and effectively. At Eagle Headhunters, we are here to support your interviewing process for executive and senior positions. Read on for an overview of the interview techniques and skills we recommend.
Amongst the most vital interview skills is preparation, yet it’s often overlooked. Before the interview, take the time to review the candidate's CV and any accompanying documents, and prepare questions that will help you assess their skills, experience, and fit for the role. Additionally, ensure that anything extra is organised. For example, for senior executive positions, a tour and informal introductions are usually expected.
Behaviour-based interview questions should make up the meat of the interview and are definitely the most important interview techniques to master. Interviewees are asked questions about how they have behaved in certain situations in the past. For example, “Tell me about a time when you added value to the department?”
Skills that are usually judged in these interviews include:
- content skills
- functional skills
- adaptive skills
Behavioural interviewing is often used to assess a candidate's skills, abilities, and attitudes in areas such as problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, communication, adaptability, and decision-making. It can be an effective way to evaluate a candidate's potential fit with the company culture and their ability to perform the specific responsibilities of the job.
The behaviour-based interviewing technique is used to gain insight into the candidate’s behavioural pattern so that their performance within the organisation can be predicted. Importantly, you are looking for evidence. Well-prepared candidates will consider examples they can draw on when answering these questions. It may also help to ask for multiple examples, for this reason.
Past behaviour is the best indicator for future behaviour, so these interview skills are essential for making the best decisions.
Behavioural questions should be part of structured interviewing, as well as more generic questions. The idea here is to ask a consistent set of questions to different candidates. The answers are evaluated on the same criteria which should help to eliminate bias.
Central to all interview techniques is the ability to ask open-ended questions and allow room for extended answers. Open-ended interview questions are questions that cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" response. They encourage the interviewee to elaborate and provide a more detailed answer that can reveal more about their thoughts, experiences, and behaviours.
Open-ended questions typically start with phrases such as "Tell me about...", "Can you describe...", or "How did you handle...". They allow the interviewee to share more information and provide insights into their skills, abilities, and attitudes.
Active listening is vital amongst interview skills. Active listening is a communication skill that involves paying close attention to the person speaking and showing that you understand and are engaged in the conversation. In an interview context, active listening is an important skill for the interviewer because it helps to create a positive and productive interview experience for the candidate and gathers accurate and meaningful information about the candidate's qualifications and fit for the role.
Key elements of active listening in an interview include:
- Paying attention: Focus on what the candidate is saying, avoid distractions, and give the candidate your full attention.
- Show that you are listening: Use nonverbal cues such as nodding, making eye contact, and leaning forward to show that you are engaged in the conversation.
- Clarify and paraphrase: If you are not sure about something the candidate said, ask for clarification or paraphrase their statement to show that you understand.
- Ask follow-up questions: Show that you are interested in what the candidate has to say by asking open-ended and clarifying questions.
- Avoid interruptions: Allow the candidate to complete their thoughts and avoid interrupting them.
By actively listening in an interview, you can build rapport with the candidate, gather accurate information about their experiences and qualifications, and assess their fit for the role and the company culture.
Use Multiple Interviews in Different Ways
For headhunted roles at the executive level, we recommend multiple interviews carried out in different ways. For example, a good first interview may be a telephone or video conference screening style interview. Often, these preliminary screening interviews can be undertaken directly by the headhunter, saving time.
Next, there are usually at least two more interviews with different people in the organisation. These are high value roles and it’s worth taking time to get it right. By interviewing on multiple occasions with different interviewers, you can get a more well-rounded view of the candidate. It also allows those who will work closely with the candidate to meet them and contribute to the discussion.
Closely related to behavioural interview techniques, competency-based techniques should be used. These assess the candidate’s future potential in role-specific scenarios. This should help ensure that candidates aren’t simply making claims about their abilities but that interviewers can envisage how the skills and competencies will be used in action, in the role they are recruiting for.
In comnpetency-based questions, the interviewer typically presents a scenario and asks the candidate what they would do. In some interviews, it may even involve undertaking a specific task, such as creating and delivering a presentation.
Support with Interviews
A notable benefit of choosing Eagle Headhunters is that we support you to develop excellent interview techniques and skills. We work alongside you to ensure your interview process reveals the best candidates in terms of proven-skill, competency and cultural fit. We also ensure our clients understand how interviews fit in with other assessment tools such as testing and background checks.