We know how tough it is to conduct a job interview.
At Insight Global, we placed over 50,000 consultants at roles in 2022 alone. That means we—and we’re ballparking here—conducted over 100,000 interviews in a single year across all of our recruiters and account managers! That’s a couple of hundred interviews every day!
And that’s all before we delivered these candidates to hiring managers like yourself, who then conducted another round or two of interviews before settling on the best fit.
We also asked over 2,700 managers to share the toughest part of the hiring process, and 50 percent said it was interviewing job candidates.
An excellent interview can help you find the cream of the crop, and tough ones can set your hiring process back by weeks.
With all of this experience, we’re here to share our expertise on how to conduct a job interview—whether it’s your first one, or you’re looking to reinvigorate your interview process.
We’ll go over:
- Different types of interview questions
- The pros and cons of different interview types
- How beneficial in-person interviews are (to culture and retention)
- Common interview mistakes managers make
- Strategic interview questions
- How to evaluate candidates after you’ve interviewed them
- When you bring a candidate back for another interview
- Locking down solid interview practices so you don’t lose candidates during the process
So let’s get started! (Click on each header to take you to blogs about each individual topic.)
And don’t forget to download our printable Complete Guide to Interviewing Candidates, too!
Generally speaking, there are seven types of interview questions. These questions probe a candidate’s:
- Technical skills and qualifications
- Behavior in past scenarios
- Potential behavior in future situations
- Motivations behind applying for the job (and for their career)
- Problem-solving skills
The best job interviews have some mix of multiple types of questions, all with the goal of getting to know the candidates better.
Remember: a job interview is a conversation, not an interrogation.
After you get an idea of the different types of interview questions, then you need to settle on what kind of job interview you want to conduct.
The primary types of interview formats are:
- Phone screens
- One-on-one interviews
- Video calls
- Automated interviews
- Group interviews (you interview multiple people at once)
- Panel interviews (multiple people interview one person at once)
Different formats are used for different interview situations.
For example, an initial contact with a candidate can come in the form of a phone screen, but once you’ve verified their qualifications, you’ll conduct a one-on-one interview or video call.
Most interview processes have multiple rounds, too, so you’ll end up using more than one format with a single candidate.
Over the last couple of years, the interview process has changed dramatically—and for the better, for the most part!
The COVID-19 pandemic sent a lot of people home, but businesses—even ones that require fully in-person roles—needed better ways to minimize contact with others. Phone screens were a must. Remote video interviews boomed.
But as companies transition back to hiring hybrid and fully in-person roles, the in-person interview is a must.
Some advantages, both for you and the candidate, are:
- You can clearly read their body language
- They offer clarity on the commute into the office, the company culture, and general expectations in the office
- You and your team can build a rapport with the interviewee, even if it’s just for 45 minutes
- The setting allows you to probe deeper into interview responses, especially since it’s easier to pick up on non-verbal cues
- You can observe the candidate’s interpersonal skills outside of yourself
The overwhelming majority of new job postings are for non-remote roles. The in-person interview will help you down the road with retaining an employee who you interview for this kind of job.
“It is really hard to be able to uphold a hybrid policy if you’re leading a fully remote interview process,” Lawrence Dearth, Insight Global’s president of recruiting, says.
Before we move into some specific interview questions you can ask, let’s talk about some common mistakes managers make when they conduct a job interview.
Hiring managers both experienced and novice have made these mistakes, so just keep them in mind as you prepare for your next interview:
- Not reading the candidate’s resumes: Read it multiple times, and take notes on what stands out. Then ask about those standout qualities!
- Not letting the candidate ask questions: Open the floor and let the conversation flow.
- Not including enough people in the process: The diversity of opinion in the hiring process can help your team make a better informed decision.
- Lying in an interview: A surprising number of managers do it, whether it’s about the day-to-day of the job or about what career growth looks like. Be up front about it all. It helps with retention—and trust—down the road.
- Asking different questions to each candidate: You’ll naturally ask some different questions to candidates based on their experiences, but having a set list of questions you ask to every candidate helps reduce bias in the interview process.
- Skipping the best candidate for your favorite one: Just because you get along well doesn’t mean they’ll be the best hire (though that certainly can be—and is—true in many cases). Make sure your decisions based on interviews are objective and informed.
In the last section, we mentioned that it’s crucial to have a set list of interview questions you can ask each candidate. The conversation will flow, but here are some examples of some general strategic questions you can ask that help you to get to know your candidate better:
- What is something about you that isn’t on your resume?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- How would your co-workers describe you?
- How does this role support your career goals?
- What role do you typically take when you work on a team?
Always make sure you ask the candidate if they have any questions at the end, too!
Once you get to the post-interview phase, it’s vital to know how to evaluate how they all went!
This actually starts during the interview. Make sure you’re taking notes, digging deeper on responses, and giving candidates time to respond to all of your questions.
Once you’ve conducted the interview, the evaluation begins.
Their performance in the interview (how they answered your questions and what they asked you) matters, but also examine if they’d be a good cultural fit. Did their experiences and qualifications line up when asked about them?
Did they interact with you after the interview? Do you need to talk to their references? And lastly, are they worth another interview so you can learn more?
On that note…
There’s no simple answer to this question. If you’ve interviewed someone across four different formats, do you need a fifth? Most roles don’t. Some roles might. Do you even need to bring the candidate back for that fourth interview?
Some factors that might contribute to bringing a candidate back for another interview include:
- Getting to know the interviewee better. Sometimes one or two interviews—a total of maybe 60 minutes—isn’t enough for some roles!
- Bringing in different perspectives. You may be the hiring manager, but they’re going to be working with/leading others. You can use another interview to bring in the outside perspectives.
- Show off your office/team culture. Some people may be on the fence about starting a job with you. You can use an interview to show off what the day-to-day looks like. That matters to a lot of candidates.
Don’t elongate the interview process if not necessary—that can lead to people dropping out during the process. And that leads to…
Sometimes, the interview process is just too long. Or, it’s not telling the employee all they need to know about the company and the role!
An average hiring process is around five weeks, though that differs per industry. The average interview process is a little over three weeks. That’s a lot of time!
The length may be just one reason you’re losing candidates during the interview process, but no matter the reason, keep in mind these three tips:
- Set objectives before the job interview starts. When do you want the candidate to start? What kind of candidate do you want? Are the job requirements clearly defined and communicated?
- Leverage technology when possible. Consider using technology like video platforms, candidate tracking tools, pre-employment tests, and more to speed up the interviewing process.
- Prioritize communication. Keep candidates informed throughout the process, providing updates on the status and timelines. Prompt and transparent communication leaves candidates with a positive impression of the company.
Download Our Guide About How to Conduct a Job Interview
If you need more help with conducting job interviews, download our free Complete Guide to Interviewing Candidates!
On top of advice on how to conduct interviews, the guide has dozens of suggestions of interview questions you can ask—fit for any job interview, from entry-level to an executive.
And if you need help with conducting job interviews, contact us, and we can cut out most of that process for you!
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