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Idealist for Interviews: Acing the art of the interview as the interviewer

There are countless tips for job seekers looking to ace an interview, but what’s talked about less is how to be a great interviewer. Interviewing a candidate for a position is intuitive but also takes some preparation. Here are a few tricks you can use to get a sense of whether or not your candidate would be a good fit!

1) Approach the interview as a conversation with a purpose

An interview is exactly that: a conversation. Putting yourself in this mindset will reduce the stress on you as an interviewer, which can go a long way in helping your interviewee feel more at ease. The more comfortable they are, the more likely they’ll open up, allowing you to get a better sense of their personality.

2) Be clear with the structure of the interview.

While it’s not necessary to give candidates questions beforehand, it’s important to communicate what they can expect to be sure they’re at their best. Doing a group interview instead of an individual one? Meeting with multiple people? Let them know when they accept the interview offer. The interview is the first time they are truly engaging with your organization so make sure they have a great experience!

3) Use the “critical incident interviewing” method.

With this method, the interviewer takes specific things the candidate has done and peels back the layers to understand what they actually contributed. This information is incredibly valuable when assessing whether or not the candidate can fill the gaps of your current team or enhance the skills your organization already possesses.

4) Ask for context, not hypotheticals.

Asking a candidate about specific experiences instead of theoretical possibilities will give you a clearer snapshot of what they think is important, in a real life context. For example, rather than asking what skills they think a leader should have, an even better question would be to have the candidate describe a time when they took on a leadership role and what made them successful. This shows that they understand what it takes to be a leader not only in theory, but in practice.

And there you have it! Using these tips can help you gather the information you need to better assess whether a candidate is a great fit for your team. What tactics do you use to interview candidates? Let us know at io@idealist.org!

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