A little planning and preparation goes a very long way. Plenty of assessors don’t know what they are assessing until 15 minutes before walking into an interview. Structured interviews have proven to be more valid time and time again.
You should always know the objective of your assessment and what you’re assessing well before assessing it. Set some time before the interview to go over the competencies you need to cover, the behaviours you need to look out for and the time you have for it.
This is very easily the part of an interview process that most often gets overlooked. Assessors can sometimes be very quick to “get on with it” and thus forget the value of a good informal discussion. Doing this well influences how much a candidate will be willing to share with you; which can either make or break the interview.
Creating a friendly environment in which the candidate will be open to sharing their experiences is vital if you want to gain strong evidence around the competencies being assessed. Take some time to build rapport with the candidate, helping them relax into the conversation. This way you’ll collect a variety of reliable behavioural evidence while creating a positive candidate experience.
It can be easy to interview a candidate and label them ‘ineffective’, but the behaviours of assessors can also throw them off. On that note, pay attention to the subtler things you do. For example, do you let them know that you will be taking notes, or do you leave them to wonder why you’re doing it? Are you conscious of the tone of you are using? Is your questioning technique solid or do you find yourself doing 70% of the talking because you’re uncomfortable with the silences?
We know that candidates often feel nervous prior to interviews, but we don’t think about the fact that assessors can sometimes be equally anxious. If you experience this, take some time to calm yourself and prepare. If you’re nervous as an interviewer, you risk the candidate mimicking your style, which could result in a less than satisfactory performance from them.
While having a structured, standardized interviewing methodology will support objectivity, it isn’t enough. We all have our own specific biases that can easily come into play. The key to avoiding this is bringing those biases to a conscious level and maintaining self-awareness.
A few tips on avoiding bias:
It might have been said a million times, but it’s great advice so I’m going to reiterate it; Treat your candidates the way you would like to be treated. Communicate openly with them to keep them engaged. Provide them with feedback, regardless of whether they are successful or not. If you do all of this, you’ll get the best from them and they’ll have a great candidate experience.
Finally, practice makes perfect. Great interviewing is a skill. The more interviews you conduct, the more you get to experiment and improve your style.
At Cubiks, we create competency based interview guides with suggested interview questions to standardise and structure your interviews. Our team also delivers training to ensure you’re able to make valid judgements during interviews, and ultimately contribute to more predictive outcomes in the selection process.
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