How to Open an Interview

Opening an interview is the most important part of the interview. It sets the tone for the rest of the interview.

By preparing well and putting your candidate at ease, you can conduct a truly successful interview that will help

you choose the best candidate.

Preparing Yourself

1. Establish what you need in a candidate. Before starting interviews, you need to be clear about

what you need in a candidate. You probably already have a list of qualifications. However, think about what

other needs the company has. Maybe the company needs a real people-person or maybe you need someone

who's very detail oriented. Having a clear vision will help focus the interview.

2. Write out your questions. Once you've established what you need, you can use that criteria to guide

your questions. You'll need at least a couple of questions for each of the requirements you have for your

candidate, though you may need as many as seven or eight questions for an important requirement.

3. Do your homework. That is, thoroughly read every resume well in advance of the interview. Look at

it as a whole, and see where the candidate shines and where she doesn't. Also, take some time to find her on

the internet.

4. Dress appropriately. You are representing the company, so you want to look your best. Essentially,

the interviewee will be making a judgment about your company based on how you present yourself. Wear

professional clothing that fits in with your company's culture.

Putting the Interviewee at Ease

1. Be polite, friendly, and sincere. You show that you respect the candidate by being polite and open.

Smile at her, and try to make her comfortable up front. Also, by establishing early on that you generally want to

know more about her, you're likely to get more relevant information out of her.

2. Establish common ground. Fortunately, you've already done your research, so you can do this step

easily. For instance, find something you both like. If you both love the beach, try casually bringing it up.

3. State why you brought her in. Upfront, show that you are genuinely interested in her as a candidate.

Begin by talking about why you brought her in.

4. Provide an introduction to the company. Give some basic information about the job, such as the

duties and the hours the employee will be expected to work. Offer a salary range if you are allowed to do that

upfront. Also, provide some background information on the company. You don't want to overwhelm the

interviewee, but you do want to take a few minutes to provide some basic information.

Beginning the Questions

1. Begin with an easy question. You can try something like, "Where did you go to school?" Basically,

you want to give the person something easy to help break the ice and ease off the tension.

2. Ask the interviewee about herself. This question is one of the most basic. It's open-ended for a

reason; it gives the interviewee a chance to highlight key aspects of her skills and background. It also gives

you a chance to assess how concise the candidate can be.

3. Listen well. The interviewee can tell if you're not actually listening, and if she notices that you aren't,

she's likely to get more nervous or stumble over her words. In addition, if you don't jump in as soon as she's

spoken a few words, you give her a chance to think through her answer and provide added details.

4. Gauge your questions by her answers. As you go along, don't be afraid to change your tactics a

bit based on how she answers your question. For instance, you may need to ask for clarification, tweak a

question a bit, or ask for more information overall.




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