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Tips for conducting interviews (not only for IT positions)

You may be about to conduct your very first interview as an interviewer, or you may already be an old hand who have recruited dozens of people to your team over the course of your career. Whichever side you are on, if you want to take your interviews up a notch, improve them, or even feel more confident, we’ve got tips to make interviewing more natural and maybe even more successful for you.

Avoid cliché questions

Why? Because the most common questions we all know from interviews have no added value. When we think about them, they tell us nothing about the candidate’s real knowledge, personality or soft skills.

Delete the following from your list:

Where do you see yourself in XY years?

Not only is time accelerating incredibly and few people know what they will be doing in a few years, but even the candidate may not be sure that the company will still be active in those X years.

Why should we hire you?

If you have already invited the candidate for an interview, you are probably interested in their knowledge and experience. By asking this question, you would only create an atmosphere indicating that the candidate is not supposed to be there or that they don’t have the necessary knowledge for the position.

What are your strengths/weaknesses?

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If you want to verify some specific ones, it’s better to choose other methods than to ask directly this way.

What is your dream job?

Should a dream job, which may not even be related to reality, really affect the position the candidate is applying for with current experience at the given moment?

If you are interested in where the candidate is heading and what attracts them in the future, try to find out using other questions. For example, you can try the following:

  • What technologies do you want to work with in the future?
  • What should a team that makes you feel good look like?
  • What working hours do you prefer?

What to avoid when conducting an interview

Unpunctuality

There’s probably nothing more to add; be there in time as arranged with the candidate.

Unreadiness

Go through the candidate’s profile, their current or past places work, and what experience they have so that you can ask about it. Prepare questions to find out what you need and any tasks to give the candidates.

Tip on how to ask about experience: To make it not look like an interrogation, don’t ask one question after another, but respond to the candidates’ answers before asking another question.

Straight to the point

Even if you like time efficiency and want to go straight to the candidate’s technical knowledge, let them breathe and relax a bit at the beginning. Informal small talk is a great start.

Don’t talk straight about yourself

Allow the candidate to show what info they have gathered about your company. You will find out how prepared and motivated they are.

There is no room for candidate’s questions

It’s always good to remember that you don’t just choose the candidates, the candidates choose you as well. This is especially true in IT, where specialists receive several offers a day. So dedicate enough space for their questions, whether they are interested in technical matters about the project, the composition of the team or where the employees go eat around the area.

Lengthy decision-making process during the selection procedure

A problem that is striking in case of IT specialists. When an IT specialist decides to change a project or location, they most likely have 5 to 10 companies to choose from. We often find that a company is not able to shorten its selection procedure and misses out on great candidates because of this.

Extra tip: Make sure that, at the end of the interview, the candidate knows exactly what the next steps are, when they will be contacted, etc.

Too informal/home dress

Online interviews, which are often accessed when working remotely, are already standard nowadays. However, the interview should still remain a bit of an unusual event, so it is advisable to dress appropriately.

Tips that will make you and the candidates feel good at the interview

  • Print out or prepare the candidate’s CV on your PC/tablet and take notes, so you can relieve your memory and don’t miss anything important.
  • Take a moment to the already mentioned small talk, which will serve as an ice-breaker.

Topics you can try:

 - how was the trip to the interview

 - how the candidate is currently doing (how was the weekend)

 - if they like coffee/tea, what kind they like, maybe they know a lot about it…

 - and the weather is always here too :)

  • Not only prepare the questions in advance, but also have the entire interview structure planned. You will not skip from one topic to the other and you will manage to go through everything you need.
  • Consider whether you want to give the candidate feedback immediately or not. If you respond after the interview, the steps that will follow the interview need to be communicated appropriately and clearly so that the candidate knows what to expect.
  • If the candidate answers your questions incorrectly, if you disagree with them on something, or if you simply feel that it is not the right fit, stay professional and don’t transfer your negative emotions to them. Also, refrain from pointing to their technical or other ignorance.

Extra tips for conducting an interview with IT specialists

Each of us is different and each position requires something different. What are our recommendations if you are to have interviews with IT specialists?

  1. This is definitely not always the case, but be prepared for a more introverted nature.
  2. Set up the selection procedure so that you can give feedback to the candidate as soon as possible. As was already written, IT specialists are in demand and they often “shake on it” directly at the interview, so make sure you don’t lose good partners by waiting unnecessarily long…
  3. Going through just a CV is sometimes not enough, so your basic preparation can often be more extensive – browse GitHub, look at the code included for reference…

Fingers crossed for the next interviews and we wish them to be successful and smooth!

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