Interview Like a Professional (Even When You Aren’t One)

interview like a professional

Interview like a professional to improve your hiring process.

Conducting a interview like a professional isn’t as easy as you might think. Some interviewers tend to just write out a list of questions, ask the questions and note down the answers – and that’s it. But that’s generally one of the worst interviewing tactics you can use. You won’t learn what you need to and you could miss out on some vital information, so follow the tips below to learn how to interview like a professional – even when you aren’t one.

1. Have a Conversation, Not an Interview

Instead of conducting an interview in the way that it appears in a magazine in question and answer format, have a conversation with the interviewee. The answers will flow much more freely and if the candidate feels comfortable, they’ll be more likely to open up with you. The key to getting this right is to make the candidate feel at home, so do your best to be open and chatty and the candidate should reciprocate.

2. Jot Down Notes, Not Questions

It’s absolutely fine to need notes – of course, you want to be prepared. But it’s a good idea to write down notes, rather than questions, to remind yourself of the general areas that you’d like to discuss. Don’t hold your notes in your hand, either – have them on the table and glance down at them occasionally if there’s a lull in conversation. You might find that you learn everything you need to know simply by chatting with the candidate.

3. Let Things Flow

You might have an idea in your head how things might flow during the interview, but it’s important not to get too caught up in your own schedule as you might miss out on some valuable follow-up questions. Let things flow naturally.

4. Use Open Questions

It might sound obvious, but try to use open questions that can only be answered with detail – try to avoid any questions that can only be answered with yes or no. Instead of saying, “Did you like your last job?”, say, “What was it that you liked about your last job?” And remember – the words “how” and “why” will always come in handy.

5. Have Open Arms

Keep your arms open and your hands open or flat on the desk in front of you, rather than clasped or crossed over your chest. It’s also a good idea to keep the desk in front of you relatively clear of debris – clear away folders, pens, pen pots, mugs, bags and any other paraphernalia that might come between you and the candidate. This creates a much more open and comfortable environment, which should get them talking.

6. Keep Quiet

Waiting for just five seconds after the candidate finishes answering your question might well get them to open up more and tell you something that comes from the heart, rather than something that they’ve had scripted out since they were told about the interview. Ask them the normal questions, yes, but then wait for a little while after they finish speaking before you ask another question as you might get even more detail from them.

7. Have Fun

The best conversations between you and your friends and family are the fun conversations – the conversations that aren’t awkward and that you don’t have to think about. If you’re feeling a little bit stressed out, just try to have fun!

Got any other tips to add?  Please leave them in the comments below.  Perhaps we will add them to our next interview focused article!


Leigh Grigaliunas

Leigh is an owner and co-founder of School Hours Pty Ltd.Leigh's passion for helping others coupled with his desire to achieve a balance between raising children and earning a living, lead him to create School Hours Pty Ltd with his wife Yasmin.School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.

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