How to be a More Effective Interviewer

You probably have a list in your head of qualities you want your managerial staff to have. This list might include bullet points that say "dedicated," "skilled," "good at delegating," etc. However, being able to interview well is often overlooked and is just as necessary. Employees in a leadership role regularly have to hire new staff, and the process is the first step in building a great team. Managers who are effective interviewers learn sooner whether a candidate is a good fit for the job. As you look for eLearning courseware to use to train your managers, consider adding interviewing to the curriculum. Here are tips for interviewing more effectively:

Come Prepared

Most people come to interviews having done prep work. You expect candidates to know something about your company and to be ready to answer questions. In the same way, managers should also be prepared. Before the interview, they should look over the candidate's resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile, and develop questions for this person. That way, the manager can spend less time getting to know obvious facts and spend more time learning more about the individual, why they made certain career choices and whether they're a match for the role.

Additionally, managers should clearly outline the role the candidate is interviewing for so they can learn over the course of the conversation if they have the necessary qualities.

As far as the questions go, make sure they are open-ended, allowing the candidate to provide a thoughtful response. Avoid yes-or-no questions.

Provide a Comfortable Atmosphere

A tense candidate may not put his or her best foot forward, which is just as detrimental to your company as to the person being interviewed. Your staff should be friendly and open, as this encourages candidates to be themselves. In order to ascertain whether someone is a good fit for the job, you must see them as they normally behave. Your manager might not observe candidates in a totally relaxed state, but comfortable is better than tense.

Opening the conversation with more personal comments and smiling, speaking colloquially and being yourself can help. After all, you want to see whether a candidate will fit in with your company culture.


Even if your managers go into interviews prepared, they should be able to work off-script. Sometimes, a candidate won't fully answer a question. In that case, the interviewer should be able to follow up or ask more questions to get clarification. He or she should not just move onto the next question.

Being flexible and knowing when to follow the pre-written questions and when to take a different approach leads to a better understanding of the candidate.


"Use active listening tools when conducting an interview."

Being a good listener is a skill your managers should hone. It will help them improvise and discover important information about job candidates. Rephrasing statements and asking follow-up questions are active listening tools your managers can use to improve their listening abilities.

Listening well also helps managers stay focused on the interview.

Manage the Meeting

Interviewers run the meeting, which means they have to keep track of time and prevent the conversation from going off topic. Being prepared and watching the clock helps managers steer the interview. Ideally, interviewers should prevent candidates from going off on tangents, ensuring that everything discussed is relevant to the job. To do this, a manager might have to gently ask a candidate to relate their comments back to their career.

Managers need to be effective interviewers, as this skill will help them find members to add to your staff. Our leadership curriculum provides your employees with video eLearning courseware that will hone their skills as managers.

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