7 ways to improve your interview technique

How many times have you missed out on placing the perfect candidate due to their poor interview performance? You might know exactly what your client is looking for from an interview, but you can’t be in the room with your candidate to ensure things go smoothly. You can however put candidates in the best position for interview success by offering simple coaching and tips before the big day.

1. Ensure candidates fully understand the purpose of a role
While you want to entice candidates to your roles, avoid up-selling a position beyond recognition in a job ad or in initial talks with candidates. There’s nothing more frustrating for candidates than knowing they’ve been misled about a role, and their frustration will come across through interview – reflecting poorly on yourself. The easiest way to avoid this is to be honest about the role at all times, highlight key skills and tasks expected, and check your candidate is aware and happy with these long before putting them in front of your client.

2. Create an interview tips pack
Using the tips in this blog as well as asking your colleagues for their input, sit down and create a ‘Candidate Interview Tips’ document, outlining your best preparation tips, on the day advice and common interview questions. This pack may take time to create, but could prove invaluable in helping your candidates prepare and will stand the test of time. Email the pack out to candidates when you confirm their interview and highlight that it been attached.

3. Encourage candidates to prepare write-ups for their most significant accomplishments
When put on the spot it can be easy to forget key achievements and successes, so having candidates write these up before interview will help keep them fresh in their mind. It’ll also boost their confidence through highlighting the successes they’ve made and the value they would bring to a new employer.

4. Think ‘STAR’
One of the most common interview slip ups candidates make is not being able to prove what their CV claims. The best way to avoid radio silence following a ‘tell me about a time when you…’ question is to encourage your candidates to think ‘STAR’ during their preparation, as this will help them identify examples to back up CV claims and tick off person specification must-haves.

Situation: This is about setting the scene and providing context.
Task: Specific information about the role candidates played in the situation
Action: This is the most important part, highlighting your candidate’s response to an action/problem/challenge and demonstrating the skills they would bring with them. Details and information about how a candidate was able to make an impact or influence others are always good to include.
Result: This should be positive and demonstrate the valuable input of the candidate. If quantifiable information is available to back this up encourage candidates to supply this.

5. Address candidate concerns before their interview
While it’s important for candidates to ensure the role they’re interviewing for is right, the last thing you need is for a candidate to air concerns at interview without first running them past you – or worse, just not turn up to interview. Make sure you ask candidates if they have any concerns, offering any information from your knowledge or asking clients for input in advance of the interview. This will give your candidate more confidence in their decision and could save you a lot of embarrassment from avoiding a ‘no show’ situation.

6. Portfolios
If you recruit for marketing, media and creative, industries remind your candidate to have a portfolio of work with them on the day of the interview so they can talk through key pieces of work and highlight their professional achievements. The portfolio can be digital or in print, the most important thing is that it literally demonstrate your candidate to position their skills and talent above that of the competition.

7. Meet candidates in person before
This may seem obvious, but it’s not a requisite for all recruiters and can lead to glaring issues being overlooked. For example, your candidate may seem calm and confident over the phone but turn to jelly when face-to-face. Meeting candidates a few days before their interview, if not at registration, will help you get to know them better, allow you to pose interview style questions, gauge their confidence and the suitability of their replies, and – most importantly – offer relevant feedback to help them put across their best self at interview.

Discover more professional tips
If you found this blog helpful why not take a look at our blog on interviewing candidates as well as our Professional Guide on candidate experience.

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