How to make job interviews more productive

How to make job interviews more productive

Most advice about how to interview focuses on the interview questions you will ask each candidate. But not enough attention is paid to the environment and atmosphere where you have the conversation — which make job interviews more productive

A conversation requires more than a list of prepared questions. Like a great dinner party, details matter. Most people intuitively know how to throw a comfortable party, only to forget that wisdom in arranging an interview.

Yet, if anything, interviews demand more effort than parties. Interviews are inherently uncomfortable for job seekers. Interviews happen in unfamiliar surroundings with total strangers. Your “invited guest” is there solely to be judged, and with a very high likelihood of being rejected.

Make your office as welcoming and comfortable as possible. I don’t recommend redecorating the office to look like Downton Abbey, but you should:

  • Be on time
  • Be prepared for the candidate to arrive
  • Be calm, relaxed, polite and smiling — look like you're happy to be there
  • Offer a drink (coffee, water, etc.)
  • Start the conversation with a bit of warmth and small talk

When in doubt, just remember what your momma taught you.

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Bob Corlett is the founder and President of Staffing Advisors. He’s been named as one of the 100 most influential people in staffing, is a nationally syndicated weekly writer for the American Cities Business Journals and is a founding member of the Editorial Advisory Board for The HR Examiner. Bob is a frequent speaker at meetings of the Society for Human Resources Management. Thousands of hiring executives read his monthly newsletter, and the Resource Center on this site contains hundreds of his articles on innovation, staffing, leadership and performance management. Bob has worked in the staffing industry since 1989, starting Staffing Advisors in 2002.