Ultimate Guide on Conducting Interviews that Will Make You Wonder

 Are you looking forward to getting hired as a recruiter? Or do you just simply want to learn how to conduct interviews?

 To become a great interviewer, you must first understand why interviewers ask specific questions during job interviews. This will help you prepare for any type of interview.

We have created this ultimate guide to interviewing because lot of recruiters fail miserably at conducting interviews.

This guide covers everything from the most common types of interview questions to how to handle difficult candidates. It also includes tips for never forgetting anything important during the interview process.

If you want to learn how to conduct compelling interviews, here’s a detailed guide. 

Basics Of Conducting Interview 

If you want to be a hiring manager or Human resource professional, then keep reading. You’ll find out what you need to know about the interview process and how to create a winning candidate experience.

So let’s begin with the basics.

Interviewing is all about asking questions. The more and better-quality questions you can ask, the better your chances of getting the job will be.  

But there are two main reasons people don’t ask enough questions: they either don’t know what to ask or think that asking too many questions makes them look unprofessional.

The truth is that if you ask good questions, you can avoid making mistakes that could cost you the job. So before we go into detail about specific interview questions, let’s discuss some general guidelines.

First of all, when you start an interview, it is crucial always to be prepared. Make sure you’ve researched the job description and candidate profile extensively.

Also, remember that every question you ask has a purpose. For example, if you ask someone if they like working here, you might be trying to determine whether they would enjoy working for you.

On the other hand, if you ask them if they like their current boss, you might be trying to figure out whether they have a problem with authority.

Finally, try not to ask open-ended questions. These are questions where the answer doesn’t really matter. Instead, focus on closed-ended questions. They allow you to measure the applicant’s knowledge and understanding.

Everything You Need to Prepare for an Interview

Preparing for an interview means taking the time to ensure you get the best person available. It also means that you’re making things easier by having everything ready when they call.

Before every job interview, here are the steps you should follow:

Organizing the Interview Process 

Interviews are essential to your employer’s brand because they show prospective employers who you are.

As candidates prepare for interviews with your company, they may be able to read through job descriptions, see interview questions, and even view interview reviews from current employees.

According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 52 percent of employees/job seekers report that company ratings and reviews from current employees are one of the most valuable sources of information when making decisions about jobs and companies.

It is essential to organize your interviewing process. It won’t just not only reflect to your potential employees that you value their time, but it will make your hiring decision more straightforward.

Here’s how to organize interview questions for maximum effect.

  • For each position, create an evaluation flow map. Steps may include:
    • First interaction through phone/video 
    • Secondary phone/video screen
    • Assessments or Tests 
    • The first round of interviews
    • The second round of interviews
    • Team presentation or discussion 
  • Determine which interviewers ask questions requiring different responses and assign topics accordingly.
  • Standardized feedback mechanisms include scorecards or questionnaires that allow employees to give each other feedback.
  • If appropriate, schedule post-interview debuts.

Craft The Prep List

Before an interviewer asks questions about your company, be prepared to provide them with the following information: Company name; Description of the job (what skills are needed); What makes your company unique; Your qualifications for the position; a list of references. Here’s more : 

  • Mission Statement
  • Mission and function of department or team
  • Title and responsibilities (including the job description)
  • Reporting structure
  • Cross-functional team members
  • Recent acquisitions or significant partnerships (if applicable)
  • Benefits: vacation, health insurance, and perks
  • Glassdoor profile of the company, CEO approval rating, reviews, and more
  • Future initiatives of the department or team
  • Career-growth opportunities
  • Potential start date of the position
  • Key company dates and metrics
  • Salary range 

Make A Pre-Interview Checklist

This needs to be done some days before the in-person interviews. Create and. review the following Pre-Interview Checklist to prevent any last-minute disasters.

Also, ensure you share this checklist with other people on your team who are interviewing you. 

  • You need to re-read or review the job description and resume of the candidate. Also, compare them together for relevance and compatibility. 
  • Jot down all the interview questions or other points you want to ask the candidate.
  • Double check on the room availability for the meeting.
  • Make sure the technical support is sound and already. 
  • Look at Glassdoor for any recent job postings for the position for which the applicant is applying. Particularly look at reviews for the department or role for the position.
  • Make sure each interviewer has:
    • A copy of the candidate’s resume.
    • Correct interview time and location.
    • Information about who the candidate will be reporting to and working with.
    • Instructions on interview direction or topic if decided upon in advance.
    • Basic company info.
    • Information on next steps.

Types Of Interview Questions

Now that we have already talked about the significance of preparing for an interview let’s dig deep into various types of interview questions.

There are three main categories of interview questions: behavioral, situational, and cognitive. Let’s break down each one.

Behavioral questions are designed to evaluate how well you work under pressure. Do you panic easily? Can you stay calm in stressful situations? Are you able to multitask effectively?

Situational questions are used to assess your ability to adapt to changing circumstances. How do you deal with unexpected events? What kind of problems do you solve best?

Cognitive questions are used to gauge your analytical abilities. Do you understand complex concepts quickly? Can you explain complicated ideas clearly?

Behavioral Interview Questions

The following questions help you assess your candidates’ behavioral skills. You can use these questions as a guide when conducting interviews with potential employees or simply for self-reflection and improvement.

These questions are designed to examine your ability to perform under pressure. The interviewer wants to understand whether you are capable of handling stress and making quick decisions or not.

If these questions don’t feel comfortable for you to answer, you should probably rethink your decision to apply for the position.

The following list contains some common situational interview questions. Use these questions to test applicants’ ability to adapt to changing conditions.

  • Tell me about yourself. What is your professional background? How did you start your journey in this field?
  • Describe the most challenging situation you have faced in your career. How did you overcome it?
  • If you had to give up something in life, what would it be? Why?
  • What was the last book you read? What were your thoughts while reading it?
  • What is your favorite movie? Who is your famous actor/actress?
  • What is your biggest weakness? Your greatest strength?
  • What is your dream job? Why?
  • What is the worst thing that occurred to you in your life? How did you handle it?
  • What is your definition of success?
  • What is the most important lesson you learned from your parents?
  • What is your philosophy on relationships?
  • What is the most valuable skill you possess?
  • What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
  • What is the most rewarding part of your job?
  • What is the most exciting project you worked on recently?
  • What is the most unusual place you visited?
  • What is your idea of perfect happiness?
  • What is the most exciting opportunity you have ever received?
  • Do you panic easily?
  • Can you stay calm in a stressful situation?
  • Are you able to multitask efficiently?

Situational Interview Questions

The following are some of your most common situational interview questions. These questions can test your knowledge and understanding of a particular topic or determine if you have the skills necessary for a specific job.

These questions are designed to evaluate the way you handle unexpected events.

What is your greatest strength?

This question is designed to get at how well you think on your feet and your ability to make decisions. If you’re asked this question, the interviewer feels you need to improve in these areas.

Why did you choose our school/company over others?

This question is designed to find out why you chose a particular school or company over another. It also allows you to display your enthusiasm for the institution.

Tell me about yourself.

This question is meant to give you the chance to talk about yourself. You’ll want to emphasize any extracurricular activities, awards, honors, etc.

Describe a time when you had to overcome adversity.

This question is designed specifically to see how you handle stress. The interviewer was figuring out whether you can persevere through difficult times.

What is your biggest weakness?

This question is like the “Tell me about yourself.” query. However, instead of focusing on your strengths, this question focuses on your weaknesses. This will help the employer identify potential issues that could later cause trouble.

What was the last mistake you made?

Employers often use this question to determine what kind of employee they should avoid hiring. It helps them figure out whether they’d like to hire someone who makes mistakes frequently or not.

What would you change about your education/career?

This question is usually asked after students graduate from college. It allows them to think over their past experiences and decide what they’d like to do differently next time.

What are your short-term career goals?

This question is typically asked during an interview process. It’s designed to find out what kind of jobs you’re looking for now and what kind of jobs you might look into in the future.

What are your long-term career goals? (or) Where do you see yourself in the upcoming 5 years?

This question is very similar to the previous one. Instead of asking about short-term goals, it asks about long-term ones.

How do you deal with conflict?

This question is meant more to find out how you respond to situations where there is a disagreement between people than anything else.

It’s important to note that you don’t necessarily have to answer this question directly; instead, you can simply answer something like “I try to resolve conflicts peacefully,” conveying the same message without giving away too much information.

Do you prefer working alone or in groups?

This question is meant more to see how you work best. Some people thrive in a team environment, while others do better when left alone.

What motivates you?

This question is generally asked during an interview to determine what drives you. For example, some people love being able to make a difference in other people’s lives, while others enjoy helping themselves grow as individuals.

What is your greatest strength?

This question is used to find out what kind of person you are. After all, if you think you’re great at everything, then you probably aren’t!

What is your greatest weakness?

 How do you deal with the unexpected event?

What type of problems do you solve most effectively?

Cognitive Interview Questions

The Cognitive Interview is a method of testing that helps to identify and correct errors in how people think. It can be used for any software, but it’s most commonly used with web applications.

The cognitive interview questions are designed to help you understand how users will interact with your application. This makes it easier to make changes and improvements as needed.

Here are the top 10 cognitive interview questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why did you choose this job?
  •  What information do you have on this company?
  • What is the best aspect of this job?
  • What is the most hating aspect of this job? 
  • What are your expectations from this job position?
  • What do you expect to learn here?
  •  What skills do you need to perform this job well?
  •  What do you consider to be the biggest challenge you are facing right now?
  • What do you feel needs improvement?
  • What is the difference between an “object” and an “entity”?
  • Do you understand complex concepts quickly?
  • Can you explain complicated ideas clearly?

Crafting the Best Interview Questions For Conducting Interview 

It is an art to conduct a good interview and a skill set that you can learn over time.

What you would require to do is collect essential information to find out whether a particular candidate is suited for the set job position you are looking at.  

Also, you need to do that in a short amount of time by utilizing the information available and your skills and experiences. 

There are numerous interview preparation resources available on the web for you to access, so chances are your candidates will do a lot of preparation. 

It makes things easier for them and harder for you to examine the true potential and compatibility of the person for the job.

That’s why you need to give a hard look at the skillset of the candidates. Also, better to look deep and beyond their skill set as well. Don’t just stick to their job description. 

The goal here is to ask them questions that help you find out whether they’re the right fit for the given role or not.

Here are a few strategies or ways you can craft or design the best interview questions. 

Know Exactly What You Want For The Job Position 

You must first figure out which specific qualities these candidates possess before deciding whether a particular person is suitable for that exact job position.

So, start by making a comprehensive list of all the ideal traits and qualities you can examine using interview questions.

Then you will find out which of these qualities are the most crucial or highly required for the job, and Now you prepare a list that elicits responses that show the most relevant attributes.

For example, asking candidates how they interacted with customers in their previous roles is essential for a job that requires interacting with customers.

Suppose there is an irrelevant position for which a candidate is applying. In that case, you won’t be able to determine whether they’re qualified by simply asking them about their customer service experience, but you may want to ask anyway.

Focus on Asking Questions On Problem-Solving 

Regardless of the type of business or position within that business, one certainty is that problems will arise.

Problems aren’t always a bad thing. They might just be an inconvenience. You may be able to improve their performance by providing them with better tools.

Employees will benefit from companies that support them when there are obstacles to deal with in the form of troubling situations. 

Make sure you ask open-ended questions. This will help you to know their approach, how to treat a problem, identify them, examine a situation, and find a solution. 

How creative they can get to come up with multiple solutions, or they are more rigid in their ways. 

Examining the candidate’s ability To Learning And Adaptability 

Change is unavoidable, so it is only sensible that roles must change over time. Employees who can adapt to change can eventually help companies grow by avoiding high employee turnover in the future.

You can identify people who are likely to be adaptable and learn quickly by asking them interview questions related to topics such as:

  • Times they’ve taken on new projects, assignments, and ideas.
  • Experiences with learning about new technologies, tools, and processes
  • Examples of managing unexpected situations and adapting to changes in circumstances

Ask Questions Based on Behaviour 

Questions that reveal a person’s emotional intelligence can help us determine whether they’re aware of their own emotions, know when others are feeling something, and respond appropriately in the office.

Behavioral questions, as well as situational interview questions, are going to help you get a sense of the candidate’s self-awareness. We’ve provided some examples for each type of question below.

Adapt And Change Your Questions When Required

Interviews are a crucial part of the hiring process for both employers and candidates.

Even the most experienced interviewers must continually reassess and rework their commonly used interview questions to ensure they’re selecting the best candidates for each position.

These tips provide a good starting point for interviewing candidates, but you may need to modify them depending on the role, candidate, position, and industry.

Conducting Remote Interview 

How To Conduct Remote Interview?

  • Prepping Yourself In Advance Before Conducting Online Interview
    • Test the technology, i.e., virtual platform, hardware-software compatibility, mic and video issues, etc
    • Inform your participants who will be joining, what this is about, key points, etc
    • See whether the required information is distributed across the participants or not
    • Review the resume of the candidate
    • Share a list of shortlisted interview questions with all the interviewers.
    • Inform the attendees about the next step post this interview
  • Focusing On What You Expect From An Ideal Candidate
    • Send a detailed schedule of the interview
    • Share the job description with other interviewers
    • Coordinate well with other interviewers
    • Layout the detailed plan of how the interview session will go on
    • Better over-communicate when in doubt

Prepping Yourself In Advance Before Conducting Online Interview 

Remotely interviewing candidates requires preparation beyond simply preparing for an interview at a traditional office. 

Here’s what you need to get done with before you show up for the online interview 

Testing The Technology 

Test out the technology needed to conduct the interview. Start by logging into the selected virtual platform you will use for the discussion: Microsoft Team, Zoom, or Skype.

You further need to test whether the software is good with mic and video. Most of the time, the problem happens due to hardware-software compatibility issues, driver issues, or some technical fault in your hardware for the permission of audio and video.

Testing out earlier will make that problem go away. Along with it, you can also verify whether the candidate can access the platform well or not. 

If you are using some external mic or any other hardware, you need to check whether it is working or not with your PC. 

Informing Participants 

Before you start your interview, it is essential to inform your participants about who will be joining this online interview or the interaction. 

There can be more than one interviewee, usually, and sometimes there is a whole panel, or there can be different stages and levels to go through with specific tests. 

It would help if you informed your candidates about this early on about what will be discussed in the interview or what this interaction will be focused on. 

Checking On The Distribution Of Right Information 

Again, doubling down on informing the candidates or participants is essential when it is a remote interview. 

Every interviewee needs to be on the same page. Candidates also must know what to expect. This can be only possible if the correct job description is passed along. So you better review that again before you meet the candidates to examine them. 

Also, it can be written information, reports, job responsibilities, tests, and much more that are required to be with every participant. Candidates, on the other hand, will get other documents as well. 

Reviewing Candidate’s Resume 

Before you conduct the interview, it is essential to review the candidate’s resume. Also, have the job description handy to see how they match together to find a more suitable candidate. 

More importantly, you need to make notes based on their resume, their achievements, experience, and more.  

Also, write questions that come to your mind to ask them. These will be the more tailored question as per their resume compared to your general interview question. 

Get Together A List of Interview Questions 

Don’t get blank or ask the same repetitive question in the interview that even they have memorized or over-prepped for. 

Better compile a long list of interview questions as per the job description and requirements for the candidate. 

Also, share this with other interviewees from the panel, so all can be on the same page and ask relevant questions. 

Also, you can cross-check with them and finalize a few to ask primarily without wasting any time. 

Tell The Attendees About The Next Steps After This Interview 

Whether the other interviewees or candidates or even other participants that might be in the online interview must know what are the further steps after this interview. 

So, you need to tell them the conclusion as to how it will wrap up, what they should do after the interview, especially the candidate, what they can expect, and what further interviews or conversations are scheduled. 

Is there any document or test they have to submit or anything they need to do from their side? You need to lay out the whole plan with them. 

Focus Yourself Towards What Exactly You’re Looking For

Interviews usually include some kind of informal conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee.

It eliminates most of the touch points between interviewer and interviewee and puts more pressure on each interaction.

Before meeting someone for the first time, set clear goals, so you need to know your topics before you end up in the meeting.

Sending Detailed Schedule 

To make your interviews more laser-focussed, the best way is to make your consultation more productive. 

You can send a detailed schedule to your attendees, such as candidates and interviewers or other participants. 

It is done to assure that you stay on the topic and use the given time more efficiently. Ensure you also include breaks if the interview lasts more than sixty minutes. 

Coordinating With Other Interviewers 

You need to communicate and coordinate with other interviewers beforehand, so you’ll be on the same page when you conduct the interview. 

It avoids confusion and any sort of time-wastage in the meeting or interview. You need to prepare others for all the possible interview questions that are required to ask the candidate. 

You also share what core competencies need to be talked about and will be focused on. Everyone must know what topics or areas need to be dug deep into and talked about more. 

Identifying And Double-Checking 

Before the interview, it is essential to identify all the traits, qualities, hard skills, soft skills, competencies, achievements, attributes, and much more that are required for the particular job position. 

Once you identify them, you can now double-check all the questions and topics you noted down and see whether they can address or not. 

And if not, you need to change your interview questions and topics that need to be discussed. 

Better To Over-Communicate When In Doubt

Remote interviews leave a lot of room for misunderstandings, but they don’t necessarily mean that you’re doomed to make them.

To avoid making mistakes and relieve stress, you can best inform the candidates as much as possible during the interview process so that they know exactly what to expect.

Candidates who understand what comes next are more likely to leave with a positive impression of you than if you don’t give them any advance notice.

Before the remote interview, make sure your candidates know:

  • The timeline used to hire a person. 
  • Any factors that can delay the timeline of the interview
  • Names and roles of the interview participants
  • Anticipating the response time when the interview is over.

Things To Do When Conducting Interviews 

Design An Ideal Candidate Profile For Conducting Interviews

Before you even begin with your interviews, first, you need to know what exactly you are looking for in a candidate for that particular role. 

The hiring process only can be smooth if you pay attention to the planning stage, which includes coming up with an ideal candidate profile. 

Also, it depends upon what kind of job position you are looking for. It has components such as specific things to do in that position, cultural drivers, experience, and the job description itself. 

ideal candidate profile
Image Source: CareerPlug

So here, it would be best if you designed an ideal candidate profile for conducting interviews. 

Here are some common positions and their typical requirements.

 Sales Manager: A sales manager needs to have good communication skills and the ability to work independently. These managers are required to be excellent listeners and also good at communication. 

Sales Representative:  A sales representative needs to have strong communication and presentation skills. They need to sell effectively and persuade customers to buy their products.

Customer Service Rep:  A customer service rep needs to be friendly, polite, and well-mannered. They require good listening skills and the ability to communicate clearly.

Human Resources (HR) Manager: A human resources manager must be skilled in managing people and employees. They need excellent interpersonal skills and good management skills to handle different projects simultaneously. 

Accountant: A bookkeeper needs to be proficient in accounting software and must be able to handle multiple tasks at once. They need analytical skills and must be able to prioritize work efficiently.

Clerk: A clerk needs to be efficient and organized. They need basic computer skills and must be able to multitask while working.

Customer Support Specialist: A customer support specialist needs to be aware of all the products and services of the brand or business. It is essential to have comprehensible verbal and written communication skills. 

Administrative Assistant: An administrative assistant needs to be detail-oriented and organized. They must have the ability to multitask and prioritize their workload.

Warehouse Worker: A warehouse worker needs to be dependable. They need attention to detail and must be able to follow instructions.

Customer Service Agent: A customer service agent needs to be friendly, courteous, and professional. They need practical communication skills where it becomes essential for them to handle different calls just at once.

Office Manager: An office manager needs to be responsible and accountable. They need organizational skills and must be able to plan ahead.

Interview Formats And Types 

Interview Formats

A critical step in conducting a great interview is knowing the different formats of interviews. It is also to decide which one is best suited for you. 

Structured interviews 

Interviews where interviewers prepare a fixed list of questions to ask candidates are called “pre-interview” interviews.

These questions ensure that every candidate receives equal attention during the interview, regardless of their experience level.

One drawback of this somewhat rigid approach to interviewing is that it limits what an interviewer can learn about each unique candidate. They cannot ask custom or follow-up questions. 

Unstructured interviews

They are the opposite. Interviews using this conversational style allow interviewers to follow their curiosity and ask better-tailored questions.

Interviews can sometimes get sidetracked by irrelevant topics, leading to unintentional hiring biases. 

Hybrid interviews

They’re a mix of both structured and un­structured interviews. They’re more complicated than most technical questions because they require an interviewer to judge whether you’ve answered their question correctly or not.

You can use this approach to learn more about each candidate by asking them the same primary questions. However, it is strongly recommended for new interviewers to abide by a fundamental policy. 

Interview types 

There are several different types of interview questions to ask during an interview. You are going to use more than one type of interviewing technique.

You may choose to interview different people depending on the number of applicants for the job and the position you are looking forward to hiring for.

Here are the main types of interviews: 

  • Phone screen interviews
  • video or remote interviews (when hiring remotely)
  • Panel interviews
  • Group interviews
  • Out-of-Office interviews

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