If you are hosting an interview, and you want it to go well, you need to think through the meeting ahead of time and determine how you want to address the individual. The topic of conversation ultimately doesn’t really matter; you can find success if you utilize the information included in this article.
There are so many reasons why you might host an interview. Perhaps an employee’s work habits aren’t up to par. Maybe you need more information on a recent setback at work. Or, it could be that you are thinking of giving someone a promotion or looking to fill an empty position. If you want your interview to be successful, some planning is essential. The following tips will help you going forward.
- Set A Goal
Prior to setting up the interview, figure out what the purpose is. What do you want to know? How will this help you going forward? What will you gain by having the interview?
- Come Up With An Outline
Some interviewers list their questions ahead of time. They simply refer back to their sheet as they go through the interview. When you do this, though, the conversation doesn’t seem natural. It may put the interviewee on edge. Also, if you are constantly looking down at your paper, you won’t be able to watch the other person. You may miss crucial, nonverbal clues that give you more insight into the person that you are talking with.
Instead, sketch out an outline of the meeting. Put a little check mark by the topics you cover so that you stay on track. You’ll still be able to focus during the meeting, but you’ll have a little something to ensure that you cover all relevant points.
- Determine A Meeting Place
It may be best for you to go to the other person, because they will feel more comfortable in familiar surroundings. However, that approach could backfire, as the interviewee may not want you in their personal space. If you feel that is the case, think about securing a neutral location that neither of you have any ties to. It could be a coffee shop, an empty conference room, or anything that you deem appropriate. Talk it over with the interviewee to see what they would prefer.
- Be Polite
If you are going to the interviewee’s space, don’t just barge into the room. Be polite; wait for them to invite you in, wait for them to invite you to sit down and follow all normal rules of etiquette. Keep your personal belongings close to your body rather than spreading out. Doing so will help the other person feel more comfortable and may inspire them to open up to you.
- Ease Into Conversation
Before you get to the tough questions, spend a little time making small talk. Ask the interviewee about their day. Point out something that you notice in the space. Don’t get too personal, however. For example, if you see a picture of a child, don’t assume that the interviewee is related to the little one. You don’t know what the relationship is, and you risk offending the other person. Be as general as possible, while still helping the interviewee to feel at ease with you.
After you chat for a couple of minutes, you can move into the interview. There are a few ways to let the other person know this is happening. Change the way you are sitting. Get out your folder or open your computer. You can also make a leading statement, like, “Thanks for meeting with me today. I’d like to talk about…”
- Ask The Right Questions
Open questions require more than just a yes or no answer. They allow the person answering the question to showcase their personality, be informative or just share information. These are good questions to ask when you want to find out more about someone. However, they can be problematic in that you may not be able to get the interviewee to stop talking once they start.
Closed questions only require a simple yes or no. The problem with closed questions is that they do not give you a lot of information. As such, you may get the wrong idea about something because you don’t have much to go on.
You should use both open and closed questions in the interview. It is best to start with open questions. You need to find out as much as possible about the interviewee. Open questions allow the other person to talk about things that matter to them. You can then focus in on elements of what they have shared with you to learn more.
Conclude the interview with closed questions. They can help you clarify issues that you may have been confused about. They can also help you reign in an interviewee that keeps going off on a tangent. If the person has been talking for a while, you can use a closed question to make sure you understand what they were getting at during their speech.
- Make Notes
As the interviewee talks, you can jot down short notes to help yourself remember important parts of the conversation. You can also write down your own thoughts and ideas so that you can look back at them later and read everything in context. In particular, when I sit in on these meetings, I make note of any contradictory statements so that I have a record of the conversation.
Watch what you are doing, however. You don’t want the interviewee to catch a glimpse of your notes and become offended. Writing in shorthand is a good idea. You can also come up with a few codes; you could have one for “confusing,” for instance.
- Keep Your Notes To Yourself
Holding your notebook and your pen in your lap is the best way to handle the situation, because you can keep your notes to yourself. Hopefully, if there is a desk between the two of you, the other person won’t be able to figure out if you are writing at all. The goal of this is to be discreet. You want to have notes to help yourself dissect the meeting later, but you don’t want to make the other person uncomfortable. If you lay your notebook out in the open, you will not accomplish that goal.
- Be Respectful
As the interviewer, you want to get to know the interviewee as much as possible. Sensitive topics could arise during the course of the conversation. Be respectful of the interviewee’s feelings. Proceed with tact, because that is the only way that you will learn anything from the conversation. If you are rude, the other person will shut down.
Also, try to ensure that things are always on time and that the interviewees are not kept waiting. There is plenty of software out there for tracking and scheduling interviews.
Don’t use the word “you” too much as you are speaking. You could make the other person think that you are attacking them. Whenever possible, rephrase your questions to eliminate that word. It may be difficult to do at first, but it gets easier as you practice it.
This isn’t something you have to do. However, it could benefit you during the interview if you take on this approach.
- Use Caution When Confronting
If an interviewee makes two contradictory statements, your initial inclination may be to call them on it. Consider that they may have simply made a mistake and were not trying to be dishonest. If you attack him or her, the other person is not likely to finish the interview. You can bring up the discrepancy, but try to do so in a nonthreatening way. This will allow the interview to continue.