6 Proven Interview Techniques to Hire Top Talent

In today’s war on talent, the power of your interview techniques is a critical part of your team’s success. Not only do those techniques determine the quality of the candidates you select, but the interview experience is important to candidates as well. LinkedIn reports that for 83% of candidates, a negative interview experience changed their opinion of a company. The last thing you want is to turn away a top candidate’s interest because they did not appreciate the process.

How do you craft an interview experience that’s positive for the candidate and reveals which applicant is the best fit for the job? These six tried-and-true interview techniques will help you find the team members you’re looking for.

1. Create a Positive Candidate Experience

One of the most important aspects of the selection process in today’s world is making the experience a positive one. This will help you attract top talent and help you develop or maintain your organization’s “employer of choice” reputation. Every step of the process can contribute to creating this positive impression including the job posting: the first email or phone conversation, the virtual or in-person meetings and the offer or the rejection.

Our approach should differentiate us from others and be centered on making each candidate feel important. We need to be professional, open, agile, effective and welcoming at every step. Make sure you put some thought into this aspect of your process. We want each person we meet to want to work with us and for them to speak positively about our organization even if it doesn’t work out!

2. Structured Interview

Traditionally, one of the most popular interview techniques in big organizations was the structured interview. In a structured interview, the interviewer asks every candidate the same questions in the same order. The answers are scored so that candidates’ performance can be easily ranked.

While the structured interview technique helps identify good candidates, it can come across cold and impersonal, which can turn those great candidates away. We usually do not recommend this approach but if you’re going to use this technique, do your best to connect personally with each candidate.

3. Behavioral Interview

A very popular and effective interview technique is the behavioral interview. This technique is based on the following statement: Past behavior is the best predictor of future success. In this technique, interviewers ask candidates a series of situational questions to help them assess how the candidate handles tasks, deadlines, and potential challenges or problems on the job. It helps an interviewer understand the needs and personality of the candidate so that he can determine how the candidate handles conflict or change and whether he will be a good fit for the team.

Behavior interviews use questions asking for examples and stories from candidates. It may be difficult for candidates to relate situations concisely, so this technique may require some extra time and patience. It does, however, provide great insights into how a candidate behaves on the job and can help reveal the best candidates.

4. Semi-structured Interview

With the semi-structured interview technique, an interviewer will use both pre-planned, ordered questions and some questions which result from conversation with the candidate. The advantage is this technique lends itself more easily to the warm, friendly connection highly valued by talent. As with the other techniques, it’s important to consider the goals of the interview and be sure that the interview achieves those goals even in its unstructured portions.

5. Work Assignment or Simulation

This technique is usually a part of the selection process. It’s often cited as a highly effective way to reveal the best candidates for the job from among the applicants. As the name suggests, with this technique, an interviewer assigns a task and asks the candidate to complete it. This might mean brainstorming some solutions to a problem or drafting a quick proposal. A work assignment or work sample gives the candidate the opportunity to try out the kind of task he will be asked to complete on the job. It provides both parties the chance to evaluate whether the candidate is a good fit for those kinds of tasks.

6. Combine them!

At KCC, we recommend combining the semi-structured interview with behavioral questions. A portion of the interview should include a simulation. Don’t forget to ask the candidates what they are looking for. What do they want in terms of the role, team, boss, work environment and work conditions? Always ask about their talents and passions. The key is to make sure we present the organization and the team in a positive, yet realistic manner and that we make the experience a positive and exciting one for all candidates.

Learn to Conduct Effective Interviews

At KCC, we understand the critical importance of hiring the right person for the job. That’s why our Interview and Selection Techniques training session offers key insights and up-to-date tips on how to craft the best interview experience for your candidates and how to determine if there is a good fit for the job and your team.

Contact us today to schedule training for your interview team so you can get the best candidates working for you.