Here at Women’s Tech Jobs we realise that its not only a stressful and complex time for interviewees but often can be just as hard for the interviewers themselves. Its a complex job and very often there is no training given, which can lead to Bias’ creeping in and also to wrong hires based on simple easily rectifiable practices.
Due to this we decided that it might be nice to help out with some basic guidelines and support for our clients to help you through the process.
Feel free to contact us with any feedback on firstname.lastname@example.org
Prepare for the Interview
You want to feel as prepared as possible as it allows you to be in control of the interview and reflects well for the interviewee if you have some knowledge on who they are. It can also act as an ice breaker if you show an interest in their past experience, putting you both at ease and ensuring a more relaxed atmosphere.
Before preparing your interview questions ensure you know what it is you want to learn about the candidate. Is it a technical interview or a soft skills interview, is it a case of simply delving further into some of their skillsets. If you are clear in your objectives before the interview stage then it helps the candidate to prepare, puts them more at ease and ensures the interview runs smoothly. If you have a clear objective it will also help ensure that you don’t run off-topic and stay focused in gaining the info you really need from the candidate.
Prepare questions which have some flexibility in them and allow for 2 or 3 follow up questions relating to the answers given.
- Ask any “yes” or “no” questions or closed questions which can lead to stilted converstions
- Ask multiple questions at a time, this can be overwhelming and lead to partial answers
- Ask questions that are not relevant or illegal such as those based on the following:
- Race, ethnicity, or color.
- Gender or sex.
- Country of national origin or birthplace.
- Marital or family status or pregnancy.
- Ask questions that allow the person you’re interviewing to expand.
- Help direct the candidate to understand what type of an answer you’re looking for by keeping the subject matter clear.
Prepare some topics for small talk
People interview best in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere, small talk can help create this. Questions about how they travelled to the interview, if they were aware of the company, discussion on the weather and something on their hobbies are all acceptable topics to break the ice.
Conduct the Interview
Shake hands with the candidate, use open body language and tell them a bit about yourself. Explain a bit about how the interview will go, how long it should last and let them know that they are free to ask questions if they don’t understand the purpose of a question or if they want to chat further at teh end of the interview.
Make the person comfortable
This is really important, keep eye contact with the candidate, ensure your body language shows them you are interested and not just going through the motions as part of your job. Remember that these are possibly people that you may want to work with for a long time so ensure they also want to work with or for you.
- Don’t invade their personal space
- Thank them for taking time to come for an interview
- Offer them refreshments
- Ensure they have a comfortable seat
Ask your questions
Maintain eye contact as you ask the questions and listen intently to the answer, repeating a question would indicate that you have little interest in them as a person. Make the questioning feel as much of a natural converstaion as you can as you will get more out of them.
- Note any words or phrases that the person uses then if they trigger something you may be able to follow up on it
- Listening intently will also make it easier for you to notice when the person is veering off track and bring the interiew back on track
- If you don’t understand something the person says, don’t be afraid to ask as its better to have a clear understanding rather than a miscommunication.
Allow the candidate time to speak, occasional interjections with relevant personal information can make the person feel more comfortable but you should only talk 20-25% of the time. You should also be comfortable with some pauses to allow the person to think through their answers before continuing with the questions.
Let the person be natural
Most likley the candidate will be nervous and not understand the intent of a question, if this happens feel free to question if they would like more information or for you to rephrase it. If the person doesn’t respond much to a question, you can rephrase it a bit by saying, “Can you think of another example to illustrate what you mean?”
Stay in control
You are trying to understand the candidate as much as possible to allow for a thorough understanding of what they can offer and if they would fit in with the company. They should be doing most of teh talking but try to ensure that you’re still in the position of asking questions and directing the conversation without being obvious about it. Remember to keep things professional and not get upset if the interview feels like its running in the wrong direction, simply steer back to the questions in a polite manner.
Wrap up the interview
Steer the convesration to wrap up, make it clear that you have all the information you needed from them. Offer them some time such as “is there anything else you’d like to chat about?” This makes the person feel like they were part of conversation together, instead of just an interview question answer session
Thank the person
You should thank the person sincerely for taking the time to chat with you and for being so patient and answering your questions. Continue to be warm and welcoming even after you’ve finished and offer to show them out. Indicate when they are likley to here from you, its a bullish tech market so please remember that great candidates are not only difficult to find they are also quick to be snapped up by other companies.
Its always good to follow up with a candidate, keeping them informed of when tehy will hear from you. Remember that its not only you interviewing the candidate but them interviewing you as a possible future employer and that company reputation is based on more than just their products. If the candidate is unsuccessful then giving them helpful feedback not only allows them to grow in their career moving forward but also ensures they don’t give the company a poor reputation.