Conversation Starter: Top Tips For Getting The Most Out Of An Interview

Interviews can be full to the brim with small talk. Not only can they leave you feeling awkward, but the potential hire sat in front of you can be left with the wrong impression. That’s where good conversation is your greatest ally. 

When you feel like the person you are talking to is genuinely interested in learning about who you are as an individual, you tend to be more open and honest. 

Hiring a candidate that you have already made a connection with can bring positive results to your company, not only from a growth perspective but also in boosting morale.

Here are our top tips for getting the most out of an interview.

Be human

Opening an interview with a personal touch is always the right place to start. Asking questions like “Where did you grow up?” or “What was your first job out of school?” will often help to make your candidate feel more relaxed. 

Humanising the situation makes a calmer atmosphere and allows the conversation to flow more freely. You might even hear one of the most entertaining stories of your life in the process. 

Engaging the interests of your potential next hire will allow you to get a greater insight into who they are as a person. At the same time, you will get a sense of how they might into your team and what they can offer in the process. All from asking a simple, but a human question. 

The open-ended question

“Where do you see yourself in five years time?” may sound like an irrelevant question. When you start thinking about what your candidate then offers you as an answer, you will realise how powerful an open-ended question is. 

Finding out where your next recruit sees themselves in the future will allow you to:

1. Line up their expectations with yours.

2. See how realistic their goals are.

3. If they have a future with your company.

Open-ended questions are a perfect way to explore ideas, as well as lead on to other subjects of interest. Mostly, you get a broader perspective of who your candidate is as an individual and if they will be an asset to your team.

Take your time to listen

It’s easy to get distracted in an interview. You could be running on the clock, aware that you have another meeting in 20 minutes or the conversation is stale. There are things you can do.

Paying close attention to your candidate is vital. You can see the nuances in how they respond to your questions, where they gloss over facts or have lost interest themselves. When people are really engaged in a conversation, eye contact is frequent, and words are not hard to come by.

So, take your time to listen. In an interview, the conversation you are having at that moment may be the most valuable one you have all day. 

Be prepared

Running late or not being calm and collected yourself before an interview can be a nightmare. Not only are you potentially doing your company a disservice but the individual waiting for the interview. 

Bringing a written checklist of crucial interview questions can help tremendously. The business owners or HR departments that lead an interview blindly, often miss out on hiring the best talent out there. 

Great candidates will be prepared. They will have spent time getting to know your company, its values and possibly who some of the key players are in the team. Top talent will be ready for you. So, make sure you are ready for them too. 

Go beyond the CV

Most people, however confident, can completely lose themselves in an interview. Nerves and adrenaline take over and leave little room for you to see their true selves. 

Surrounding yourself with an excellent team or panel for the interview will offer a wide range of perspectives. Allow time for finding out more about your candidate before their interview. Learn as much as you can, and leave no stone unturned. 

Making an effort to allow your potential hire feel at ease will always yield better results in an interview. You need to be ready for different personalities, social presences and communication styles. Not everyone can fit into a box. 

Feeling comfortable in an interview is one of the hardest things to achieve. Someone will always feel nervous, awkward or even bored. Boost your conversational points ahead of the game, and hire the ideal candidate. We can do the rest for you!