Interview like a Jedi Master in 6 easy steps

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Yep, it’s interview time. That means, before you go any further you need to put away your interrogation lamp and check out our top tips for interview mastery.

1. Ask ‘How am I doing?’

Before you head to the interview room it’s time for a bit of self-evaluation.  Ask yourself: Am I creating a bestselling first impression? Do I present an irresistible case? Do I focus on the candidate experience first and foremost? Hand on heart do I give my very best to every candidate? Answering no to any of the above? The next question is ‘what can I do differently?’

Often overlooked, this personal preparation is just as important as the standard prep (reading CVs, preparing questions, being clear on company culture and the role itself). People buy people and the candidate’s decision will be hugely affected by your approach. It could make or break the party popper moment of getting a yes.

2. Create a killer first impression

Treat the first time you engage with a candidate as their first day with the company. This is when their experience begins so make it memorable for all the right reasons. Clichéd it might be but first impressions really do count and a candidate’s initial perception must never be underestimated. Look after them from the minute they step through the door, be on time and give them a nice warm welcome.

3. Make it YOU, not me

Close your laptop, turn off your phone and make sure people know you are not to be disturbed. The best results come from mutual respect, value and rapport so resist the temptation to jabber on about yourself. Instead focus on the candidate, be interested in them. Stick to the 90-10 rule (that’s 90% them10% you) and you won’t go far wrong.

4. Keep it real, keep it relaxed

Interviews are nerve-wracking and often feel very artificial. To get the very best from a candidate and take a peek behind the interview mask, you need to nurture them and help them relax. Ask questions about the hobbies and interests listed in their CV to encourage natural conversation. This helps you to get the best from them, it adds to that sense of rapport and respect and gives you a clearer picture of their fit with your company culture and existing staff. All seriously important stuff!

5. Be 100% Present

If for any reason you’re likely to be distracted (illness, deadlines, timescales, personal issues) re-arrange the interview. Candidates will know if you’re simply going through the motions (nothing worse!).

Learn from one of my fabulous employers who after falling ill before a senior interview was determined (with the best intentions and in true British Spirit) to carry on regardless, despite my advice to the contrary. Unfortunately this usually spirited interviewer unwittingly presented themselves as disinterested, disengaged and lacking passion. They were horrified by the candidate feedback and almost blew it. Luckily, by being honest, we rescued the situation, re-arranged the interviews and secured a successful outcome. We were lucky! It’s hard to replace the shine after such a negative experience so remember to value your candidate’s time and give them your full attention. If you can’t guarantee this, don’t interview!

6. Finish on a high

The interview was a blast and you’re super keen on the candidate so don’t let them walk away without making sure you’ve asked all the relevant questions, answered theirs, understood what other roles they’re considering, outlined next steps and sincerely thanked them for their time and effort.  They could walk out of your interview room and straight into another so do this well and send them out on a high.

With all that said, If the prospect of interviewing fills you with dread or feels like a complete chore then ask for help. Interviewing is an art and a science and as such can be a daunting prospect for many people.  However if you find the right support and advice, implement what you learn and then constantly review and hone your approach you will be amazed at the results and most likely start to enjoy it.

Don’t be discouraged if things don’t always go to plan or if a candidate doesn’t accept your offer. That’s life! Learn from the process and focus on next time.

Most of all it’s important to remember that interviewing is about getting to know people and having a good chat. So, be yourself, have fun and let your candidates relax and have fun too.

I’d Love to hear your interview tips, stories and successes.

Thanks for reading

Haig&Co