11/01/14 By Jennifer Brown

interviewCreating the right mix of interview questions and knowing what to listen for in a candidate’s responses can set you up for a successful interview and hiring decision. To take it a step further, preparing in advance and creating the right atmosphere will strengthen your chances of hiring the best talent even more. Utilize the strategies below to boost your confidence both in your ability to interview as well as make the right hiring decisions.

Don’t wing it
All too often, interviewers do not prepare adequately for the interview and end up making hiring decisions on whether or not they like the person. Having a prepared interviewer is just as important as having a prepared candidate. Read their resume beforehand – thoroughly. Look them up on LinkedIn. This may spur additional questions or highlight commonalities between you and the candidate (great for ice breakers!). You need to be able to walk away from the interview with an in-depth understanding of the person’s experience, accomplishments and how they measure up to the position. Having behavioral-based questions prepared will help keep you on track and focus on the competencies of the position.

Second time is a charm
Often times, hiring managers only interview a candidate once before making a hiring decision. Keep in mind that some candidates are really good at interviewing and making great first impressions – they know all the right things to say and do. A good way to validate a candidate’s authenticity is to meet with them at least twice before making a final hiring decision to confirm your first impression. Better yet, change the setting. If your first interview with the candidate was more formal (i.e., office setting), make the second interview more casual (i.e., lunch meeting). This will allow you to see the person in different environments, get them to let their guard down and provide further insight into whether the person is a fit or not.

They’re interviewing you too
Keep in mind that the candidate is interviewing you (and the company) too. The person may have another company she is interviewing with and is taking mental notes on the people, the culture, and the onsite interview process. Make a great impression. Ultimately, if she is a great candidate, you want her to choose you as well. Make sure to ask if she has any questions at the end (she should come prepared with a few!). A warm and welcoming environment along with a prepared interviewer can go a long way in setting a positive impression.

Interviewing is not a science; however, when you are prepared, know what to ask, know what to listen for, and create a positive experience for all, you are sure to make a good decision. Best of luck on your next hiring effort!