On an interview, it isn’t only the prospective candidate who has to impress. Any hiring manager who has substantial interviewing experience knows that interviewers represent the company they are hiring for, and therefore need to be equally as professional, respectful, and courteous to the candidate. As we have stressed before, candidates should always ensure that the company is a good fit, and one of the best representatives of a company is its hiring manager. Just as you prepare for an interview, an interviewer should be doing the same. Here are ways to identify a good interviewer, and possibly, a good company as a result:
- Prepare the candidate for the interview. Most candidates know that, while setting up a time for an interview, they should verify what you need to bring—resume, cover letter, writing samples, etc. Asking this question will keep you prepared and make you look good, but you shouldn’t have to ask it. A great interviewer will know that candidates can be nervous and anxious about obtaining an interview, and will do what they can to help you prepare for it. He or she should provide you with the time, date, place, and a list of required materials to make the interview a success.
- Make the candidate comfortable first. Before diving into the thick of the interview, many good hiring managers will take their time to ease your nerves, either by making small talk or asking some questions that he or she knows you can answer well. To do this, the interviewers must…
- Do their research on the candidate. Just as a hiring manager expects you to have researched the company, you should expect him or her to do some research on you prior to the interview. Depending on the application process, in most cases, candidates provide hiring managers and recruiters plenty of information through their resumes, cover letters, and portfolios to shape their interview questions and to do further research. A great interviewer will become familiar with your credentials prior to your meeting; instead of asking what your qualifications are, he or she may ask you more in-depth questions about your experience with them, for example.
- Invite you to ask them questions. Hiring managers should know that you’ll naturally have questions for them, and that they can learn a lot about you as a professional by the questions you ask and the way you ask them. Great ones take advantage of this opportunity.
- Know what they need and are clear about it. Have you ever been on an interview and wondered what you were interviewing for? You should always reread the job listing and do what research you can before interviewing, but if you do that and you’re still in the dark, it could be the interviewer’s fault. They should know what the company’s needs are and provide you with the details. You should always have a clear idea of what the job entails before accepting it.
- Converse rather than interrogate. This being said, comfort shouldn’t stop after the introduction. While still goal-oriented, focused, and professional, interviews should be a conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee. If good hiring managers are invested in what candidates are saying, first answers won’t be enough. Instead, the interviewers should…
- Ask follow-up questions. The difference between a thoughtful interview and a game of question-and-answer is that the interviewer will delve deeper into your answers. It shouldn’t be enough to tell them that your greatest strength is your communication skills—he or she should usually want to hear an example of that. Great interviewers seldom take an answer at face value and look down to their notes for the next question.
- Ask open-ended questions. To allow for these deeper answers, great hiring managers will usually drive the interview forward with open-ended questions—i.e., questions that elicit a more in-depth answer than just “yes” or “no.” For example, an interviewer is normally more inclined to ask “How has your past experience shaped you as a professional?” Rather than just “Has your past experienced shaped you as a professional?”
- Listen more than they talk. Good interviewers know that they won’t learn anything about you (except maybe how engaged a listener you are) by talking through the whole interview. Instead, they ask questions, make comments, and let you do the rest of the talking. Of course, they will also:
- Inform you of the follow-up process and stick to it. Candidates put a lot of time and effort into interviews. Respectful interviewers will recognize this and make an effort to inform them of the next step. Not only will they inform the interviewer of when they can hear back, they stick to the schedule. Great interviewers—and companies—strive for utmost professionalism and respect.