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Keeping the Interview Conversational: 5 Ways to Conduct an Interview Like a Pro

The best interviews flow like a conversation rather than an interrogation. Conversations work because it gives both the interviewer and the interviewee space to think laterally and creatively, which allows both parties to share more about themselves.

But how do you keep an interview conversational when you have so many to complete and little time to do it?

Here’s how to get the most out of an interview.

Break the Ice First

“How are you?” is the most obvious question you can ask, and you won’t glean much from the candidate by asking it. Instead, ask them a more specific question that allows you to make a minute or two of small talk.

Some questions include: 

  • What’s the best thing to happen to you this week? 
  • How did you find this job post? 
  • What are you watching on television at the moment? 
  • Tell me something you’ve learned this week.

These are questions that open up the floor for discussion but don’t veer far enough into the personal to be jarring. 

Practice Asking Open-Ended Questions

If the answer to a question is yes or no, then you’ll get a yes or no answer. While it may provide a perfunctory answer, you won’t learn much, and your questions will seem more like an interrogation.

Practice answering open-ended questions to get more from candidates. These questions usually begin with “why” or “how” rather than “can” or “do.’

Ask Questions (and Follow-ups) Relevant to the Interviewee

You won’t find cookie-cutter candidates because there aren’t cookie-cutter people. So, don’t ask every candidate the same list of questions. Instead, use their resume and their previous answers to riff on their experience and ask questions relevant to the candidate’s history specifically.

Lean on Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is an often-overlooked part of the interview process. You don’t give anything away by being kind, warm, and yourself with a candidate, even if you aren’t sure they’re a good fit.

Lean on building a natural rapport with each interviewee where possible to keep the conversation flowing. Not only does it improve the process, but it also gives you a better sense of the candidate’s emotional intelligence too.

Let the Conversation Flow

Candidates regularly say that the best interviews feel more like conversations. And these interviews leave them with a positive experience, even if they don’t land the job.

Rather than rattling off a list of questions, let the conversation flow by demonstrating emotional intelligence and keeping each interview personal. You’ll find you both get more from the process when you do.

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Looking Beyond the Resume – The Benefits of Hiring an Underqualified Candidate

In your quest to find the best candidate for your role, you likely have a long list of boxes to tick. There are certifications, education, and technical skills that your candidate needs to do the job well. Or are there?

Sometimes, finding the right candidate means looking beyond the resume and worrying less about qualifications. What are the benefits of hiring an underqualified candidate? They could add far more to your organization than you think.

They Automatically Push Beyond Their Limits

Someone who applied for a job that they aren’t technically qualified for may not have the technical skillset you desire. But they do have a skill you can’t teach: the desire to reach beyond themselves and push their own limits.

Finding employees who want to learn and grow in their field is far more valuable than finding someone who ticks all the boxes but enjoys the comfort of staying at the same level. A candidate who has been in the same role and held the same responsibilities for years may not be willing to grow with your company!

They Are Inherently Trainable

When you have a candidate who comes in and requires some additional skills, you have a unique opportunity: you get to mold them in a way you can’t with fully-trained ‘qualified’ candidates.

Having the opportunity to train them according to the latest information and your organizational processes will help them fit in quickly. It will also attract hungry learners looking for opportunities that they may not have had at their last place of employment.

Plus, as too many managers know, it’s far easier to teach an employee new skills than to help them un-learn old or incorrect ways of working. When someone “isn’t qualified” they don’t have giant egos or bad habits.

They Often Bring Unique Skill Sets

In today’s world, workers change jobs every 4.2 years. In some cases, they don’t just leave for a promotion: they go for an entire career change.

Career-change candidates are invaluable. They have experience in the job-market, a foundation of core training, and often unique skill sets picked up from other roles or careers.

It’s not just the soft skills they bring. They also have technical skills that may translate or inform their work and a valuable outsider’s perspective that allows them to use them.

Unqualified Candidates Add Value to Teams

Every job post comes with a list of duties and responsibilities and skills required to perform them. There’s no need to pass on the resumes that don’t quite tick all the boxes. Underqualified candidates often possess other value-adding qualities that may be what your organization needs to take the next steps.

Are you looking for that valuable ‘unqualified’ candidate for your IT role? Get in touch to learn how the RIghtStone 360 process places the right fight every time.


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