As someone in a leadership role, conducting interviews is likely a regular part of your job.  While you can probably find some insight on how to improve your skills when being interviewed, how much is out there on improving your skills as the interviewer?  An interview can be a high anxiety event for both parties, depending on the skill and experience level.  If you’re new to a leadership role, you may even find conducting an interview to be quite nerve-wracking.  To improve your skills, and provide the best interview experience for your candidates, consider some of these tips:

Learn & Listen to the Candidate

One of the best ways to open the lines of communication during an interview is giving the candidate the opportunity to open up about themselves and their history.  Give them the opportunity to explain who they are, what their interests and goals are, etc. Giving the candidate this opportunity will let you have a good view of their communication skills; how well they can present themselves and communicate with you.  Be sure to listen carefully to what they’re saying. You’ll want to refer back to specific highlights throughout the interview. Additionally, this will show you’re engaged and interested in what they have to say.

Ask Open-Ended & Goal Oriented Questions

When you’re asking questions during an interview, don’t be afraid to ask open-ended questions that take some explaining.  You want to challenge the candidate in a fair way, so they can really show their ability to communicate.  In general, most interviews require a certain amount of generic questions that require rather short answers.  You don’t want to limit the interview to just those. Be sure to ask questions that highlight the candidate’s personal goals, and what their goals would be should they move forward with your company.  Let them explain what they’re trying to accomplish, and where they see themselves in the future.

Let the Candidate Have Some Control

An interview shouldn’t be limited to you asking all of the questions. Give the candidate the opportunity to have some control by leaving the floor open for their questions.  If they are focused on the company, job position, and their personal goals, they will likely have some questions for you as well. Letting the candidate bring some questions to the table gives you the opportunity to gauge their interest, and see what their thoughts are regarding the position.

Interviews should have a healthy balance between typical structured questions, and an opportunity for conversation and open-ended answers.  Use these tips to provide the best interview experience possible.