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Preparing for the Interview in 4 Steps

The success of an interview depends on steps you perform at the start of the recruitment process. These steps help you narrow down the list of candidates you’ll invite to interview. And once you’ve done this, it’s time to determine how you will conduct the actual interviews.

The process of preparing effectively for an interview includes four steps:

1. determine the structure of the interview,
2. review the necessary paperwork and plan questions,
3. schedule enough time for the interview, and
4. plan an appropriate environment in which to conduct the interview.

I. Determine structure

Prior to asking candidates to come in for interviews, you need to decide how the interviews will be structured. To determine this, try answering five questions:

  1. How many rounds of interviews are required? — Think about the number of times candidates will have to come to your company to complete the interview process. Each separate visit to your company is considered one round.
  2. How many interviews should be allocated per round? — It’s important to determine how many interviews per round are necessary.
  3. Who should conduct the interviews? — Give some thought to who in your organization should meet with candidates. Supervisors, managers trained specifically to conduct interviews, or people who know most about what’s required of the successful job applicant should be considered to conduct interviews.
  4. How many interviewers should be allocated to each interview? — Just one interviewer or a panel of interviewers may need to conduct the interviews. The best approach will depend on the situation.
  5. How much time is required for each interview? — Think carefully about how much time you should devote to different requirements and to different parts of each interview. This will help you structure the content of the interviews.

Three phases of an interview

Generally, an interview can be divided into three phases — the opening, body, and closing. When you’re determining how much time is required for each interview, it’s important to account for each of these phases.

  1. Opening — During the opening phase, you meet a candidate, put this person at ease, and explain the structure of the interview. You should allocate about 10% of the total time for the interview to this phase.
  2. Body — During the body phase, you evaluate the candidate’s suitability for the job by reviewing his or her qualifications, skills, understanding, and experience. This should take up about 80% of the allocated time.
  3. Closing — During the closing phase, you use the remaining 10% of the time to thank the candidate for coming in, ask for any questions or comments, and explain how the follow-up procedure will work.