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Insights and advice for job seekers and employers from the experts at STS Staffing. 

How to Conduct a Successful Job Interview: Our 5-Step Guide

Three interviewers shaking the hand of a job candidate after a successful interview
You have compiled a solid pool of candidates from that perfect job posting. On paper, they all appear to be qualified and have the skills you need from your next employee. But what type of person are you hiring?

The interview process is the most important step when it comes to hiring. Face-to-face communication has never been more important in a world filled with misconstrued digital messages and other forms of computer mediated communication.

The interview is going to help determine if that perfect-on-paper candidate is worth hiring. Here’s our guide on how to conduct a successful job interview to find the employee your business needs.

1. Screen the Candidate Over the Phone

The candidate screening process may seem like an extra step when trying to hire fast. However, it’s important not to waste your time in an interview with someone who doesn’t meet the expectations set by their resume.

Once you have narrowed down your list of candidates, set up a call with each of them. These phone calls can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes. A phone interview can tell you a lot about the person behind the resume.

During the candidate screening process, ask them questions about their job experience and how their skills apply to the position you’re hoping to fill. If you feel they don’t adequately fit your needs after a 5-15 minute phone call, then that’s one less interview for you to conduct.

If you work with a recruiting service like STS Staffing, we actually do this step for you. We contact the candidate to gauge their interest and competency for the position. By the time you meet the candidate, your list of second round interview questions to ask will be more thorough, and you’ll learn a lot more about the candidate.

2. Prepare the Candidate for Success

Be proactive and take the time a few days before an interview to plan for situations that may arise. Reach out to the candidate via email or over the phone to make sure they have everything they need.

Confirm the date and time for the interview, send them directions to your office even if they don’t ask for them, and explain where to park. Tell them who they will meet with so they can prepare to ask the right questions.

You can also direct them to the Job Seeker Resources page on the STS website that provides a variety of tips and steps to help candidates prepare to stand out in the interview.

STS Staffing offers these resources and information to help candidates prepare and deliver a high-quality interview that will win you over.

3. Prep for the Interview With A Fellow Interviewer

We’ve seen it a million times. You’re busy with a project deadline that’s quickly approaching and you forget to prepare for your own interview. An interview can quickly turn into a huge waste of time if you’re not prepared.

Remember, hiring isn’t a solo mission. Ask one of your fellow managers or tenured employees to join you in the interview. Schedule a time to meet the day before or day of to discuss the game plan — who will talk first, what questions are you going to ask, who will explain the position, etc. This forces accountability.

Having a second opinion never hurts, either. You could feel that the candidate is qualified and would do a great job, but the other interviewer might sense that the candidate wouldn’t fit your work culture. Another interviewer might see a red flag while you’re thinking of the next question to ask.

When you meet before the interview, make sure you set an agenda for the interview. Agree to only spend 10 minutes on past job experience and leave 5 minutes at the end for questions, for example. Target a time frame for the interview and stick to it.

4. The Right Questions to Ask When Conducting an Interview

While pondering the questions to ask when conducting an interview, start with the job description you posted. What are the skills you are looking for? Base your questions around that to start. Here are a couple customer service related questions as an example:

How would you reply to a negative comment about our business from a customer?
What would you do if a customer asked to see a manager?

If you want to dig deeper into the candidate’s past work, do your research. Go beyond reading their resume and look into their former or current company so you can ask good questions about work they are familiar with.

If you did do an initial screening process, find relevant second round interview questions to ask like what they see themselves doing in five years or how they want to grow within the company.

Below is our top 10 list of questions to ask when conducting an interview. Here you’ll find a basic outline for what you should be asking. Make sure you add to this list and ask questions that specifically relate to your industry and job you’re looking to fill.

The 10 right questions to ask a candidate during a job interview
(Click to download)

On one final note about questions, make sure they are legal. Questions about marital status, if they have kids or their age are inappropriate and illegal to ask a candidate in an interview.

5. Sell the Job in the Interview

With the unemployment rate at the lowest it has been in more than a decade, the job market is filled with desirable positions. That’s why you have to make your company stand out.

When you go over the interview agenda with you interview partner, make sure you add another 5-10 minutes after the candidate asks you questions about the position. Use this time to cover your work culture, if they haven’t asked about it already.

Don’t be afraid to share news about the company or any exciting plans down the road that this candidate will be a part of if they’re hired.

Talk about how integral the job is to your company’s overall process and success. People ultimately want to feel valued, so express the importance of the position with the candidate. STS Staffing can also help in this respect. We can get your company and job seen by hundreds of people looking for their next job.

If you’re ready to start collecting candidates, consider STS Staffing. We have the right tools to optimize your job search. Your interview process is ready, now find the right individuals who are ready to knock it out of the park.



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