How To Be a Good Interviewer With Tips and Examples

Updated March 20, 2023

Interviewing is one of the most essential phases of the hiring process, and being a good interviewer helps you select the best candidate for your company's next open position. Effective interviewing involves several skills, including planning, good listening skills, and consistency. Making a candidate more comfortable during an interview increases your chances of gaining valuable insights about them and ensuring that you hire the best person for the job. In this article, we discuss why being a good interviewer is important, some common types of interviews, and how to be a good interviewer.

Why is being a good interviewer important?

Being a good interviewer is important because it lets you attract and hire the best candidates for your business. A good interview can give you the information you need to decide whether someone has the knowledge and skills needed for the position, whether they can fit into the company culture, and whether they can be successful, productive employees.

Good interviewer skills help you use your hiring resources in the most effective way possible, including the time you spend interviewing candidates. You can make candidates more interested in your organization and increase the likelihood that the first person you offer the job will accept the offer. Using consistent interview metrics can help you examine each candidate more objectively and prevent unintentional bias. Interviewing candidates also gives you an opportunity to administer practical tests and see how people deal with stressful situations. All of these skills contribute to what makes a good interviewer.

Related: Tips for an Interviewer (With Actions to Improve Efficiency)

Interview types

You can conduct a variety of types of interviews, and knowing the differences between them helps you use the best one for the circumstances. Here are some of the most common interview formats to prepare you for how to be a good interviewer:

Individual interviews

Most interviews are individual, and they're also called traditional interviews. They involve an interviewer and an interviewee talking to each other. These interviews may be conducted in person, over the phone or via video call.

Group interviews

With a group interview, you can speak with several candidates at once. This lets you easily evaluate the differences between candidates' answers and then choose the best performers for individual interviews. Many group interviews are conference calls or video calls so the candidates won't always have to come to the office.

Panel interviews

Panel interviews involve multiple supervisors, hiring managers, or executives interviewing one person. They're common when hiring for positions that are advanced and require working with a variety of people. This type of interview can help you make sure that everyone on the team agrees with your decision.

Related: Panel Interviews: Definition and Advice

Technical interviews

Technical interviews are a category of individual interview, and they focus on the candidate's technical skills. With these types of interviews, you can test people's knowledge and skills with questions and practical tests. For example, you could ask someone applying for a computer programming position to write a short program or a few lines of code in the programming language that the company uses most.


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How to be a good interviewer

Here are some steps to help you conduct successful interviews:

1. Do some research

Before you start an interview, review the job description and prepare a list of the qualifications you prefer for a candidate. If needed, ask the direct supervisor for the role what skills they need most. You may not find a perfect candidate, so decide which of these qualifications the new hire must have and which would be nice to have. Then, compare that list of skills with the information in the person's resume and cover letter and note anything you would like to clarify during the interview.

You can also look up the person's social media accounts and contact their references to get a better idea of their personality. To promote your business to prospective employees, make sure you can describe the company's goals, its culture, and the benefits that a new hire for the position receives.

2. Think about the questions you want to ask

Asking the right questions can help you learn essential information from an interviewee. You should think about the best questions to ask for a specific position. Here are some examples of common interview questions:

  • Why do you want a new job?

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • What are your greatest strengths?

  • What are your biggest weaknesses?

  • Why did you choose this industry, field, or specialty?

  • What are you passionate about?

  • What are your professional goals?

  • What are your compensation requirements for this position?

Consider using situational or behavioural questions to get a clearer picture of the candidate, including their personality and their approaches to a variety of issues in the workplace. Situational or behavioural interview questions focus on how the candidate handles problems they could encounter in the future and how they have taken care of similar issues in the past. These questions can help you assess candidates' problem-solving, critical thinking, management, and communication skills. Here are some examples of common situational or behavioural interview questions:

  • Describe a time when you had a conflict with one of your team members or supervisors. How did you handle it?

  • How would you resolve a dispute or argument with a dissatisfied customer?

  • Describe an occasion when you managed your time to complete a task or meet a deadline.

  • Describe a time when you failed to meet your goals. What lessons did you learn?

  • Describe a time when you completed additional tasks to help coworkers, supervisors, or clients.

  • Talk about a time when you motivated coworkers.

  • Discuss a difficult problem that you encountered and how you solved it.

  • Tell us about a time you learned a new skill. How did you approach it?

  • Have you ever pitched an idea to a manager or executive? What was your strategy, and how did they react?

  • What accomplishment are you most proud of? How did you achieve it?


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3. Use the same structure for each interview

Before you start interviewing, outline the structure you want to follow and list the questions you want to ask. Refer to the outline during the meeting to make sure you cover everything, and consider organizing the interview based on the time you want to devote to major topics.

Having a defined structure can help you stay focused and keep you from forgetting questions. It also makes comparing the interviews of different candidates and making a hiring decision easier. For example, you could start by introducing yourself, offering the candidate a glass of water, and inviting them to have a seat. Then, you could ask the same list of questions and take notes about people's responses.

4. Use active listening

Understanding and using active listening can make you a more effective interviewer by allowing you to comprehend everything the candidate says, along with their body language. Listen closely, take notes, and nod to show you understand and are engaged in what they're saying. Ask follow-up questions for clarification. Ask for as many details as possible and check the candidate's references and resume later to confirm they're accurate.

Read More: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

5. Practice your interview techniques with friends or coworkers

In some ways, conducting an interview is as stressful as attending one. The interviewee can focus on finding a good job, and they can go to interviews at other companies if they're not successful. In contrast, the interviewer knows that the company is relying on them to find a suitable candidate and persuade them to accept a job offer. Choosing the wrong person could cost the business money and reduce your team's performance.

Practicing your interview techniques is an opportunity for friends or coworkers to offer feedback. It can also help you be more confident when you start meeting candidates.

6. Invite the interviewee to ask questions

At the end of the interview, ask if the candidate has any questions and answer them thoroughly. The questions that a candidate asks can tell you a lot about how much attention the person paid during the interview, their level of interest in the position, and how much research they conducted about the company before attending the interview. You should expect the candidate to ask for details about the position, the organization, employee benefits, and the other people on the team.

7. End the interview professionally

At the end of the interview, tell the candidate about the next steps in the hiring process. Let them know when they can expect to hear from you and how they can contact the company if they have any additional questions. You can also give the person a brief tour of the workplace and let them meet some people they would work with if hired. This gives them a better idea of the company culture, and it can keep you from hiring someone who's not a good fit with the rest of the team.

Related: Top Interviewer Skills for an Efficient Interview Process

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