Improving Leadership Skills: How to Conduct an Effective Interview

Are you ready to dive into the world of job interviews to uncover the skills to do them well? In this insightful post, I sat down with Jess Weiss, managing consultant for Human Tribe Consulting and Training Company. Together, we explore the intricacies of how to conduct an effective interview that yields exceptional results.


Why are interviews so important? 

Jess offers a fresh perspective, emphasising that getting the interview process right is crucial, especially in today’s competitive job market. A lot of things happen during the hiring process but if you don’t have the right person, all of that goes to waste. It’s not all about having good questions to ask in an interview. The objective is to ensure that you hire the right person who not only fits the role but also contributes positively to your organisation’s culture and success.

a woman smiling as she is getting interviewed by a man an office - How to Conduct an Effective Interview


Before the Interview

Know What You’re Looking For: Identify the behaviors that align with your company’s ethos. Instead of generic “What would you do if…” questions, use behavior interview questions like “Tell me about a time when…” to assess past experiences and actions. That’s a whole lot easier to give a really good answer for.

Get the Team Involved: Involving your team in the interview process helps ensure you hire someone who complements the existing team dynamics and culture. High-performing teams benefit greatly from this collaborative approach. It helps ensure that what you’re looking for is what the team actually needs, rather than what you or the hiring manager thinks they need.

Choose the Right Time and Place: Consider your mental state when scheduling interviews. Ensure you’re in the right headspace and avoid scheduling interviews during stressful periods. What we need to remember is you’re on display as well and your interviewing skills also affect what the applicant thinks of you and the team.

Have you read: Patrick Lencioni’s The Ideal Team Player

a man and woman talking to another man across the table in a meeting room - How to Conduct an Effective Interview

During the Interview

Build Rapport: Start the interview with a friendly and engaging conversation to ease nervousness. Begin with a question that allows the candidate to discuss their work experience, a topic they are comfortable with. A nice starting question is, “I’ve taken some time to look through your CV, but can you talk me through a bit of your work experience?”.

Play Your Cards Close: One useful tip to conduct an effective interview is to allow the interviewee to do most of the talking. Effective questions should prompt them to provide detailed responses. This approach allows you to assess their skills and suitability for the role. Save the business information for the end of the interview or later in the interview.

Listen with Curiosity: Listen attentively to the candidate’s responses. Be open-minded and curious, asking follow-up questions when something piques your interest. This approach fosters a deeper understanding of the candidate’s qualifications and potential fit within your organisation. 


After the Interview

Reference Check with the Team: Engage in discussions with other team members who were part of the interview process. Collect different perspectives on the candidate’s performance and behaviour. This step helps identify potential biases and ensures a more comprehensive evaluation.

Consider a Second Interview: If you have reservations or unanswered questions after the initial interview, don’t hesitate to schedule a second round. Address concerns directly with the candidate to gain clarity. The second round is also an opportunity to bring other people in if you haven’t done so for the first rounds. 

Conduct Reference Checks: Reach out to the candidate’s former employers or leaders to gather additional insights into their work history and character. One of the most important questions for the reference check is “Given the opportunity, would you hire them again?” Simple question but really, really powerful.


Is it good practice to offer the job at the end of the interview?

While it can be suitable in some cases, there are potential downsides to consider. Offering a job immediately might skip an important step: due diligence. Rushing into a decision means missing opportunities for discussion and evaluation with your team. It could also mean skipping the crucial process of conducting reference checks, which provide insights into a candidate’s background and suitability.


How important is it to document the interview process?

Documenting the interview process serves as a valuable tool for improving and making informed decisions. If a hiring decision doesn’t work out as expected, having a documented record of the interview process is invaluable. It allows leaders to objectively revisit the process and ask critical questions. Did we conduct an effective interview? Did we miss something? Were we asking the right questions to assess a candidate’s suitability? This ongoing process promotes growth and ensures that each hiring decision aligns better with the company’s goals and values.


Ready to conduct an effective interview?

Remember that the best outcomes arise from genuine conversations. Share your key takeaways from this How to Conduct an Effective Job Interview episode on The Culture of Leadership (TCoL) YouTube channel.

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