It’s a recruiter, or staffing consultant’s, dream come true when an interview goes perfect in every way, but more often than not, the interview will go one of two ways. Either the candidate wants to share their entire life story with you, or you feel like you’re pulling teeth. This is probably the reason many companies have decided to use staffing services… Who wants to waste precious time interviewing a dud? Okay, occasionally a miracle happens and you interview a rock star, but even those interviews are more efficient with some kind of structure. Having structure will not only keep the interview on schedule, but make it more efficient. All it takes is a few simple tips.

Tip #1: Don’t forget your nonverbals
Yes, watching candidates nonverbals are important, but so are yours. Start by greeting every applicant with a smile and shaking their hand. I know their hand may be clammy, but it will help gain trust. Always look them in the eye, even if they don’t look back. This will show you are interested and make them more apt to talk; if you need them too. Nodding can also show that you understand. Applicants many times don’t like silence, and by pausing before you say something will nudge them to talk more.

Tip #2: Have prepared interview questions, and then listen
Make sure you have specific interview questions prepared; preferably in a staffing software where you are able to track their responses. These questions can be open-ended, accomplishments, and situational. Of course, you may stray a bit and other questions may come up, but having certain questions will make the interview go smoother and leave you with less unanswered questions. Interview questions can provide you with a great deal of information about the applicant, but it may still be difficult to gauge what they are actually thinking. Therefore, some people prefer the undercover interview technique. This would require someone else in your office meeting with the candidate. Their title remains unknown, and they may just conduct a tour and listen. Applicants are more apt to mention red flags when they don’t feel like they need to impress someone.

Tip #3: Your time is valuable, be honest
You don’t want to waste your time or the job seekers time. At times applicants might get a little carried away on certain topics or questions; in these instances it is okay to interrupt them as long as it’s subtle. A transition statement leading into the next question is a great way to get them back on track. If this doesn’t work you can also explain to them that you only have so much time to learn about their background and what they are looking for. Applicants usually appreciate the fact that you are interested in learning about them. However, if there are too many red flags it is okay to end the interview early. This isn’t always the most comfortable situation, but you’re also not telling the candidate that they are completely unemployable, anywhere. You are just saying that they don’t meet the skills or requirements that you’re looking for at this time.

Tip #4: Don’t dread paperwork; have applicants finish it somewhere else
Have you ever had the person you were interviewing fill out paperwork, but they spent more time looking at the paper than writing on it? Depending on your interview process, paperwork may be filled out and completed during the interview. However, if you can tell the candidate is going to take a significant amount of time, direct them to an area other than your desk, to complete the forms. You may also choose to use a tool such as DocuSign and have the applicant complete the paperwork on a computer in your office, or at home.

Tip #5: You’re done, stand-up
Now the interview is done, but your applicant is comfortably sitting across from you explaining what happened to them on vacation 20 years ago. This is most likely not relevant information to the job, so thank the candidate for coming in and stand up slowly. This will in turn make them stand, wrapping up the interview.

Remember, these tips are supposed to help you gain more information about the applicant, manage your time more efficiently, and leave the applicant feeling as positive as possible. You never want the applicant to leave with negative feelings. This can result in a bad reputation for not only you, but the organization you work for. Occasionally, the interview process may go longer than you would like, but hopefully you received all the necessary information you needed from the applicant. What would you do to manage the interview more efficiently?

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