What is a Good Way to Conduct a First Job Interview?
The art of interviewing is just that: an art. There are many different guides which you can purchase to assist you with determining what kinds of questions to ask, how to assess the answers you get, even how to structure your body language so as to present the optimal sort of first impression, but even if you read all of these things, the best way to get better at conducting interviews is through lots and lots of experience. After all, you can only know how good you are at interviewing once you have a sense of the results of your interview processes over time. Nevertheless, this short article will summarize some of the most important things to keep in mind when conducting a first interview; just remember that these things will take time and effort to get down, especially because you have to take into account your own personal style.
First, your attention to your interview(s) should begin long before the date itself. Prepare a list of relevant questions to which you can refer. Divide such questions into rough categories (job skills, availability, educational background, previous work experience, and so forth), and make sure they are open-ended. What that means is, for example, do not ask "Do you know how to handle a difficult situation with a co-worker?" Instead, say, "Tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult situation with a co-worker." Also make sure you steer clear of any questions that are not legal or ethical to ask, such as whether or not she plans to get married and have children, what religion she practices, how old she is, and so forth.
When it comes time for the interview itself, remember that you are representing your company. Therefore, your behavior needs reflect the utmost professionalism. Make sure you are dressed in business attire, even if the job place is not usually demanding of such a thing; this tells your interviewees that you respect them, and your place of business. Also be sure to be courteous and polite, not overbearing but certainly making her feel welcome, even engaging in a minute or two of small talk.
While you are asking questions, be sure to be firm, clear, and open in your demeanor. This means that while you want to make sure she understands your questions, and understands that you want honest answers, you are open to hearing what she has to say. Be willing to ask follow-up questions that lead from her answers, and in fact, try to do this at least once or twice. You could find yourself learning about skills, talents, and experiences that might not otherwise come to the surface, but that could come in handy for this particular job position.
Finally, ask her if she has any questions, and make a note of whether or not she does, and what kinds of questions she asks. The ability to ask a good, penetrating question is a good sign of an active mind; it is also, in this case, a sign that your interviewee is very much interested in the position, and wishes to know if she, too, feels it would be a good match for her.
When the interview has been concluded, regardless of how well or poorly you believe it went, thank your prospective employee for her time and escort her from your office. Good, professional manners are always called for in any given situation. When she has gone, jot down some notes while the interview is still fresh in your mind: such notes should include not only facts about her which you learned, but also further questions you might like to ask and thoughts about what you did well, and what you might want to improve for your next interview. This will help you into the future.