How to Conduct an Effective Job Interview

Inattentiveness can spoil an interview.
Inattentiveness can spoil an interview. (Image: two businesswomen in an office environment. image by endostock from

Job interviews are high stakes and high stress situations -- and not just for the people being interviewed. As the interviewer, you put a lot at stake, including the money your company can waste by hiring the wrong person for the job. Conducting an effective interview, then, is vital to sifting through candidates and making the right choice. For you, the interview process needs to start long before the first candidate steps into your office -- you must properly prepare for each interview before it begins so that you can maximize your time and that of your interviewee.

Determine the qualifications you are looking for in a candidate. This will help you find the right person for the job, instead of just choosing the best person out of the candidates interviewing, according to Inc. magazine.

Look over the candidate's resume, cover letter and qualifications. Remind yourself of important biographical information, and jot down any candidate-specific questions you want to ask.

Avoid making snap judgments when the interviewee arrives. Stay objective, and remember that you are looking for an employee, not a friend.

Make your interviewee comfortable before the interview begins. Make two or three minutes of small talk to put him at ease and develop a rapport.

Ask the candidate behavioral questions. These are questions such as, "Tell me about a time you had to deal with a bad customer." Questions like this make your candidate not just describe herself but her process and how she works in concrete terms, according to Inc.

Take notes throughout the interview so that you don't confuse candidates with one another later on.

Ask unconventional questions that bring out the candidate's personality. For example, ask about hobbies or skills. Turn the interview into a conversation from which you can cull information about the candidate, recommends the website B-Net.

Give the interviewee time near the end of the interview to ask any questions hhe may have about the position. Tell him about your hiring timeline and what he can expect regarding future communication.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't ask any questions that violate human rights laws. Though the exact boundaries may vary from state to state, you must generally avoid questions regarding race, religion and national origin, according to the New York State Department of Civil Service.

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