Making your interviews more productive

Posted by +Tim Cincotta

If you think going to a job interview is a candidate is tough, spare a thought for the person carrying out the interview.  In 30-45 minutes, they need to establish if you meet several criteria including team fit, capability of doing the job, reliability and much more.

When I first went into recruitment, I had never carried out an interview before. I had been interviewed several times and I was pretty confident of my own abilities as the interviewee (most interviews resulted in an offer - ask my past employees), but as the interviewer, I was hopeless on my first few attempts.

I remember my first interview well. I was interviewing a Business Analyst and he could talk. An interview that was meant to go for 30-45 minutes lasted over 2 hours. I had no control of the interview at all and the candidate just kept talking and talking.

Now a 2 hour interview isn’t always bad. If you are meeting the key hiring manager and they really want to discuss your ideas for the job, great. In this case, I was interviewing for a BA role and really just needed to establish if the candidate was worth putting through to my client.

My second interview got better by 30 minutes and eventually I managed to get my standard interviews to 30-45 minutes. 

What I found was that early on before walking into interviews, I didn’t know enough about the candidate and was asking questions for things I should already have known. Basics that may not have been in their CV, but should have been addressed with the key selection criteria.

What I found has worked for me was the following:
  • Have a set questionnaire for telephone interviews. A good 10-15 telephone interview can save to an hour meeting someone who is of no use to you.
  • Use screening questions when possible. You may be able to save yourself a 10 minute phone interview straight away with a screening questionnaire that gets you the most important information you need to know about a candidate including qualifications, experience and salary.
  • When you are interviewing, be the one who controls the conversation.
I am always keen to get more feedback on what works for others. If you have any thoughts on what has worked for you, please share below.

Tim Cincotta is the Sales Director for Talent Propeller New Zealand. Connect with Tim on LinkedIn here or read Tim's other blog posts here.

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