HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Interviewing Techniques

Post-pandemic, in the midst of social change, companies cannot afford to continue with the status quo of interviewing. Job seekers are demanding better and companies have a short window of opportunity to hire better.

What Are Interviewing Techniques for Employers?

Interviewing has been part of modern hiring practices for over 100 years starting with Thomas Edison who interviewed lab assistants. His interview technique was to give a bowl of soup to every candidate. If a candidate seasoned their soup with salt or pepper BEFORE trying the soup, he would immediately dismiss them from the interview process. WHY? He believed they would always rely on assumptions. Wasn’t this just an assumption on his part? While we may never know, we still hire like this today with one bias about a candidate deciding their fate for the interview process. The interview is part of the hiring process that has never been improved. Every interviewer has their own interviewing techniques that are often unchecked, unverified, and based on gut instincts rather than data. Hiring success, or lack thereof, shows because of it. We need to redefine interviewing techniques in a more structured way so every person on the hiring team, from the recruiter to a panel interview team to the hiring manager, follows them consistently. The interviewing techniques that need to be aligned and structured include:
  1. Asking the right interview questions and clearly defining the success indicators to be met.
  2. Organizing interview rounds using the intention of each interview, such as prescreening, technical evaluation, deep dive, and leadership assessment.
  3. Documenting every interview in real-time in one place to reduce the negative effects of recall bias (trying to remember relevant data about every candidate versus only what we liked or didn’t like about a candidate).
  4. Ensuring every candidate is evaluated equally throughout the interview process.
  5. Using only relevant data to support the hiring decision process.

Why Are Effective Interviewing Techniques for Employers Important?

Effective interviewing techniques ensure a transparent and equitable experience that is free of bias and full of trust, efficiency, and respect. By hiring with structured and aligned interviewing techniques across your organization, you remove a lot of stress from the interviewer. Effective and consistent organization-wide interview techniques also remove the fear that you might get reported for asking illegal questions and ensure you hire right consistently. Effective interviewing techniques help you hire faster, increase your retention rates and decrease your hiring costs.

Effective Interviewing Techniques for Employers

Now that you know why it's so critical to be strategic about how you conduct interviews, let's dive a little deeper! The following techniques will help you fairly evaluate candidates and eventually find the right one for the job.

Define Required Job Qualifications and Attributes

First and foremost, you have to know exactly what you’re looking for in order to hire the right person. Work with your hiring team to create a list of the skills, attributes, and behaviors that are REQUIRED for the role. These should not include things like “years of experience” or “where you went to school.”

Define the Right Questions and Success Indicators

Every interview starts with a question, however, preparing your interviews should not stop with a list of questions. You must also define the success criteria you expect to hear as answers to each of your questions. These indicators must align to your list of job requirements (see above). Next create question bundles with the question, clarifying questions, any context that can be shared with the interviewer and/or candidate, your list of scoring indicators, and the scoring methodology (such as 1 to 5).

Organize Questions Into Interview Scorecards and Rounds

Rule of thumb: each interview should focus on two to three of the required skills, attributes, and behaviors you’ve pre-defined. If you have nine, you should only need three to four interviews. Define the intent of each interview. Is it a pre-screen or deep-dive interview, or are you assessing their technical ability, culture alignment, leadership qualities, etc.? If you know what each interview is meant to assess, you can easily assign the right interview template and interviewer or panel of interviewers to each interview round.

Share Scorecards With Each Interviewer in Preparation for Interviews

This seems like a no-brainer, but most interviewers lack preparation before an interview, which leads to unnecessary stress and fear. This can enable biases to overtake interactions with a candidate.

Ask Every Candidate the Same Questions

Giving every qualified candidate equal opportunity throughout the interview process results in an “apples-to-apples” comparison of a candidate pool based on data-relevant information not poisoned by bias. This creates a truly repeatable and scalable interview process that produces the right hire every time. Before an interview, make a list of questions you're planning to ask. Though the lists below aren't exhaustive, they'll help you get started with your interview preparation. Traditional questions you might ask during an interview:
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What makes you qualified for this role?
  • What are your skills?
  • What previous experience have you had in this field?
  • Why are you interested in working for this organization?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your short term and long term professional goals?
Behavioral questions you might ask during an interview:
  • Give me an example of a situation where you were required to work under pressure. How did you respond?
  • Describe a time you made an error. Why did you miss the mistake and how did you handle the situation?
  • How do you typically deal with conflict? Can you give an example?
  • Talk about a time when you had to go above and beyond to get a job done. How did you handle this?
  • Talk about a time when you were in charge of a project. How did it go and what would you do differently?
  • Tell me about a time when you solved a problem in a unique way. What happened?
  • When you schedule out your workload, how do you prioritize tasks?
  • See the full list of behavioral interviewing questions here

Best Practices for Interviewing

If you do the bare minimum as outlined above, you will give your hiring teams a great advantage leading to better hiring. To truly impact your company brand in the talent marketplace, consider these best practices:

Include Your Hiring Teams in the Job Alignment Process

When you set out to define the required skills, attributes, and behaviors for your job, consider analyzing the current team. Understanding their current skills, attributes and behaviors will help you know which ones align with high performers and where new candidates could fill existing gaps.

Build Your Question Bundles and Scorecards First, Then Create Your Job Description

Hiring managers often start the hiring process with a job description but this often takes the shape of a cut, paste, and edit of an existing job description. Because of this, questions are chosen that often don’t align with the job description, leaving a cloud of ambiguity throughout the interview process. Start by building your question bundles and scorecards, then use this to build your job description. Questions will then align perfectly and candidates will know exactly what to expect.

Share the Questions With Candidates Prior to Their Interview

Because your hiring teams have already defined the success indicators for every question, there is no way candidates can cheat the system if you share all the questions ahead of time. Sharing questions in advance establishes trust and inclusivity for every candidate who can then begin thinking about their preparation and feel less stress during the interview. This best practice also saves quite a bit of time during the interview, leading to a reduction in overall hiring costs and faster response times as well as higher offer acceptance rates.

Train Your Interviewers

Whether you have seasoned or first-time interviewers, training them to be better interviewers is always a best practice. We are human which means we are biased, but often we don’t realize our biases are interfering with an equitable hiring process. Regular training about bias and the interview process helps interviewers get better with every interview, improving your company’s objectivity, equity, and organic growth of diversity. HR professional Valerie Vadala offers a few suggestions about what to train interviewers on:
  • How to sell the role and company. Interviewers should learn the talking points about why a candidate should be interested in joining the organization. The goal is that every candidate walks away excited about the opportunity.
  • How to apportion their time. Help interviewers know how time should be spent talking, how much time listening, etc.
  • Behavioral interview techniques. While not everyone is a fan of using behavioral questions, they can be helpful for people who don't interview for a living.
  • What they can’t ask. Make sure your interviewers know what they legally aren’t allowed to ask in an interview (see below for more information).

Be Aware of Questions not to Ask

While the list of questions you can ask in an interview is almost infinite, it’s not actually infinite. Feel free to go wild with fun behavioral questions or quirky, creative hypothetical questions if that’s your thing, but make sure you know what not to talk about. Certain topics are strictly off-limits in interviews. If you ask about them, you may be accused of discrimination. To be safe, avoid mentioning the following things:
  • Geography. Since it’s illegal to discriminate based on geographical location, avoid asking “Where are you from?”
  • Age. Because it’s illegal to discriminate against those over the age of 40, asking someone how old they are isn’t advisable.
  • Salary. In some states, it’s illegal to include salary-related questions (like “What is your current salary?”) in interviews. Check your state guidelines to learn more.
  • Religion. Questions about religious affiliation, holiday observance, and whether people work weekends could all be interpreted as religious discrimination.
  • Mental and physical health. This includes previous surgeries, weight and height, disabilities, and pregnancy status.
  • Prior arrests and convictions. This one can be tricky, as many different rules come into play. To be safe, you may want to avoid the topic altogether and simply conduct a background check before making a final hiring decision.

Be Prepared for Questions the Candidate Might Ask You

Interviews aren’t just your chance to assess candidates; they’re also an opportunity for candidates to decide if they’re actually interested in working at your company. So just as you ask questions, you should provide time for them to ask questions—and be prepared to answer them. Here are some areas that candidates will probably ask about, plus some example questions:
  • The position. What does a typical day or week look like in this role? What skills and experiences are you looking for? Will the responsibilities of this role shift in the future?
  • The company. What goals does the company have for the next several years? What are your company’s core values, and how does it uphold them?
  • The culture. What is the work environment like? What sort of activities and events does the company hold?
  • The team. Who will I be working most closely with? What departments does my team work with most? What are the team’s biggest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Development and training. What learning opportunities are available to your employees? What advancement opportunities are available?
  • Getting to know the interviewer. What did you do before you came here? How long have you been with the company? What’s your favorite part of working here?

Follow Up

Whether you use a phone call, email, or text message, always follow up after an interview. This best practice applies no matter how well the interview goes, because every candidate wants to be kept in the loop. If an interview goes great but a candidate doesn’t hear from you in the next few days, odds are high that they’ll continue exploring other options. To keep them interested, communicate openly about your hiring process and let them know what the next steps are (another interview, etc.). If an interview doesn’t go well and you know you don’t want to hire this person, still make sure to follow up. Ghosted candidates will eventually figure out they haven’t gotten the job, but they’ll probably feel annoyed and disrespected that nobody took the time to tell them. Ensuring that every candidate has a good experience will positively impact your employer brand in the long run, so it’s well worth the effort.

How Eddy Hire Can Improve Your Hiring Process

From finding qualified candidates to holding interviews, hiring isn’t an easy process. With so many people involved, keeping hiring information organized and consistent can be a bit of a headache.Eddy Hire handles the headache-inducing administrative tasks so you have more time to focus on what matters most: hiring top talent. With Eddy, candidate correspondence is a breeze. Automated emails ensure that each job applicant is kept in the loop at every stage of the process. Candidates who are chosen for an interview receive a calendar link letting them schedule on their own time.With Eddy, every person involved in the hiring process can leave feedback (including written notes, ratings, and even emoji reactions) on candidates as they move through a customizable hiring pipeline. With all the information in one place, it’s simple to evaluate options and make an informed decision on who to hire.
Ubaldo Ciminieri, Cofounder & CMO

Ubaldo Ciminieri, Cofounder & CMO

UB leads interviewIA's marketing and business development strategy through a constant state of innovation and "outside the box" thinking. He has taken his deep experience in client and customer solutions to build a company focused on people first, the value that every human brings to the table, and centered on belonging. UB is the "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" in the HR world. In the Malcolm Gladwell framework, he is the ultimate connector. UB has an intrinsic ability to span many different worlds through his combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.
View author page
Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Batch Interview
Behavioral Interviewing
Case Interview
Competency-Based Interview
First Impression Effect
Group Interview
Halo Effect
Interview Guide
Interview Note Taking
Interview Plan
Interview-Scheduling Software
Knockout Question
Meticulous Interviewing
Panel Interview
Personality Interview
Phone Interview
Pitchfork Effect
Pre-Employment Screening
STAR Method
Salary Expectations
Screening Interview
Second Round Interview
Situational Interview
Structured Interview
Technical Interview
Unstructured Interview
Video Screening Interview
Virtual Interview
Eddy's HR Newsletter
Sign up for our email newsletter for helpful HR advice and ideas.
Simple and accurate payroll.
Pay your U.S.-based employees on time, every time, with Eddy.