Five Tips for Conducting a Great Job Interview

Looking for the right person among a pool of hundreds of applicants can be a daunting task. You need to prepare questions and create tests that could help you narrow down your search. But the fear of ending up with an incompetent person that is not fit for the hired position can cause the interviewers to make irrational decisions.

However, you can put your mind to rest knowing that you are going to walk into the interview room and select an applicant that will bring new skill sets and add value to your organization. But how can you be so sure that you will make the right choice in the interview room?  One thing is for certain; people are unpredictable so it all comes down to the kind of questions you prepare to test your candidate’s abilities.

Here are five ways through which you can conduct productive interviews which can help you find the right person!

1. Avoid Asking Random Questions

The biggest mistake that any individual can make is the lack of preparation. Not knowing what you will be asking can lead to random questions that do not do justice to the skills of the candidate. Of course, if you keep asking irrelevant questions that are not related to the occupation, you will end up with little knowledge regarding the skills or the capabilities of the interviewee. Because of this, you need to prepare yourself in order to hit it right!

Take it from me; before conducting any interview, I like to prepare a list of questions that are not only related to the open position but are also related to the capabilities of the interviewee. After all, you need to know whether the person has the skills that could add value to your organization!

While we are on this subject, there are certain topics/subjects that you need to avoid. That said, any sensitive topic or private subject that could cause the interviewee to reveal personal information could lead you into legal trouble.

2. Set Specific Interview Goals and Stick with Them

To find the right individual, you need to know what skill set would be valuable for your organization. For this purpose, you need to prepare a list of goals or valuable skills that needs to be in your ideal candidate. Additionally, having a defined goal list will help you analyze the qualities and traits of the various candidates.

Let us start from the basics. What kind of experience, knowledge or qualifications are you looking for when it comes to the position? Write down anything that pops into your mind. Moving on, you need to prepare a detailed list of the supposed values of the ideal candidates that could benefit your organization in the long run. Additionally, you need to be clear on whether you want someone that entertains individual mindset or someone that is comfortable with a team mindset and vice versa.

These are some vague details on what should be on your list. Overall, if you will be conducting an interview in the future, you should be clear on what is required from the ideal candidate. Write everything down in details because the more detail-oriented you are with this step, the better!

3. Analyze Candidate’s Skills Beyond the Job Requirement 

The ideal candidate is not the one that has all the right skills. Rather, it is one that has a growth mindset and is willing to help the organization transform for the betterment. Additionally, your goal is to find someone that does not crumble under pressure and maintains their composure throughout. Someone who co-operates and is always ready to step out of their comfort zone is the one you need to look for.

To find a candidate that fits the bill, you need to design your interview in a way that compels the interviewee to reflect on and reveal their level of self-awareness, their ability to handle criticism, along with their work ethics. You have every right to get creative here.

That said, some interviews contain puzzles, brain teasers, etc. that are designed to assess the mental capabilities of the interviewees. Personally, I am not a huge fan of such interviews since the candidates are coming in for a job interview and not for having their IQ levels measured.

4. Avoid Asking Questions You Already Know the Answers to

This is something which I like to term as ‚Äòasking dumb questions.’ In this age of social media, you can get to know a lot about your candidate just by going through their social profiles. To some people, this strategy may be too intrusive; however, it is a necessary step in conducting a job interview. This is because you need to know what you will be up against in the interview room.

People like to put their entire lives on social media and by going through their profiles, you can know a lot about the person. This will give you time to focus on something more important while avoiding questions that you already know the answers to. Take it from me and learn to go through your candidate’s professional profiles. I specifically like to focus on LinkedIn profiles because it is a treasure trove of candidates’ previous experiences and qualifications. Now, that is where you can learn a lot about your interviewee which will also help you in shaping your interviewing strategy!

5. Prefer Open-End Questions

Asking questions that could elicit yes or no responses or similar shorter replies can be a frustrating experience for both the involved parties. After all, you need to know more the candidate’s skills and the interviewees need more time to boast about their skills. To satisfy your needs, you need to design an interview session that heavily focuses on open-ended questions. So, never ask questions like ‚ÄòDo you know anything about the document format conversion tools?’ Instead, ask questions that could generate interesting responses. In my personal experience, the questions that focus on the long-term goals of the interviewee always get the most entertaining responses. Additionally, such responses can provide you with an opportunity to judge an interviewee better.

Open-ended questions encourage an overall healthy environment and compel the candidates to think; all of this can provide you with a better picture of how any certain candidate will perform in your organization.


When it comes to job interviews, you just cannot go in unprepared and hope for the best! Even if you are the one who is conducting the interviews, you still need to research and craft questions that could help you judge the candidates in a better light. This is because if you do not invest your time into this step, you could end up hiring an incompetent person who may or may not damage your organization in the future.

Think long-run, set up goals, and create specific hiring criteria; because all of this can improve your chances of finding a desirable person equipped with the needed skill set!

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