How to Conduct An Effective Personal Interview?

The personal interview is your chance to get to know your prospective employees. You will be delving deeper into the skills and requirements you have noted on the resume and phone screening. Mostly, the personal interview allows you to get a sense of the intangibles, such as passion, initiatives, goals, cultural fit, attitude, and communication skills.

However, to get the best results from the personal interview, you need to be prepared and structured. Here are some tips to help you conduct an effective personal interview:

Prepare Your Questions

Before coming face-to-face to the candidate, you must be clear about what you are looking for in a candidate. By doing this in advance, you can come up with relevant questions to be asked and get a proper idea about the candidate. If you are new to this, ask your seniors and top performers in that department for help in making a list of questions. Prepare a mix of questions to judge the candidate on what is expected from them and what kind of challenges they might face on the job.

Avoid Historically Repeated Questions

Questions whose answers are already mentioned in the resume should not be given much prominence. For example:

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  • Why are you the best candidate?

  • What’s your dream job?

  • Where would you like to be in five years?

These questions and their answers are repetitive and historical. Candidates are prepared with answers to such questions and it will not give you any idea about the candidate’s present stature or ability to face future difficulties.

Reduce Stress

Candidates are stressed before the interview because of the fear of unknown. What will the interviewer ask? How will I manage time to attend this interview? What should I wear? Together all these disrupt the candidate in giving their best. As an interviewer, you can make the candidate comfortable by explaining them what type of questions they might be asked, what is the dress code of the company. Ask for a convenient time for the interview. Your goal as an interviewer must be to make the candidate as much comfortable as you can.

Involve Others (As per the need)

To make sure you hire the right person and you don’t make a mistake you would want to have multiple checks. Therefore, taking advice from some colleagues and seniors would give you a wide perspective and you would take better hiring decisions.

Ask Real Life Queries

Apart from checking on their subjective knowledge ask them questions related to real-life situations that they might face on job. Don’t waste your and the candidate’s time and energy by asking traditional queries? Try to find out what difference they can make in an on-job scenario.

Look for Cultural Compatibility

A culturally fit candidate is a dream come true situation for an employer. You must look at the fact that is your candidate comfortable from your workplace situation. Is he in sync with companies’ culture and work ethics? But this must not be the criteria to reject someone because people are adaptive to their surroundings.

Listen More, Talk Less

The interview is mostly about the applicant, so listen attentively. Pay attention to non-verbal cues such as posture, alertness, dress, and personal grooming. Note if they have done their homework about your company. At the end of interview, give ample time and opportunity to the candidate to ask questions.

Taking interview and finalizing the right candidate is an art, you not only have to understand the tangibles but also unsaid things should also be understood and evaluated. Follow these tips the next time you conduct a personal interview and share the experience in comments. We would also love to have your thoughts on how to conduct an effective personal interview.

Anshuman Sinha

I am an Entrepreneur and Angel Investor. Board Member of TiE SoCal Angels Fund, and CEO @ Optizm Global, the executive search firm. We are a Right Fit Recruitment & Placement Agency.

I'm the Co-Founder of "StartupSteroid" the platform to connect founders with investors.

As an Angel Investor I look for Business Plan, Cashflow, Core Team, Board of Advisors, Secure IP, Quality Investors, Monetization Models, USP, Scalability, Strong Returns, Growth Market, and Board Role.