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Etiquette When Interviewing Potential Employees

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 4 Jul 2013 | comments*Discuss
Interview Etiquette Interviewees

Interviews can be as much of a minefield for the employer as they can be for potential employees. Preparation before the interview should ensure that the right questions are asked and should help to reduce those interview nerves.

The Interview Process Objective

The main goal of the job interview from the employer’s point of view is to select the right candidate for the job. Asking the wrong questions can mean that the wrong employee is chosen or that none of the interviewees appear to be a suitable choice. The interview process can be a costly and time consuming process and it is important to get it right. Becoming comfortable with the interview process does take time and learning how to get the most out of an interviewee will come with experience. Employers and managers will have their own interview methods but there are some common etiquette rules that will help first time interviewers.

Eliminating Interview Nerves

Although many people would consider the interview process daunting for potential employees, managers and employers can also suffer from nerves. Interviewers who appear nervous will not put interviewees at ease. Being fully prepared will help with nerves; employers should set out and if necessary rehearse the questions that are to be asked. Smiling and appearing friendly but professional will help to eliminate nerves for the interviewer and the interviewee. Interviews with more than one interviewer should also help to eliminate interviewer nerves as the responsibility will be shared.

Asking the Right Interview Questions

Read over the interviewee’s resume carefully keeping in mind how their previous work experience will be of use in this job when preparing questions. Use the same questions for each candidate in order to compare candidate answers. Try to ask questions that do not require a simple yes or no answer. Don’t fire questions at the interviewee but direct them in a friendly conversational manner. Always be ready to ask unprepared questions that will follow on from the interviewee’s answers if necessary.

Tried and Tested Interview Questions

There are always certain questions used during interviews. One of the reasons for this is that familiar questions will help the interviewee to prepare. Some interviewers will throw in questions that are designed to make the interviewee think on the spot. Seemingly ‘clever’ questions that do not relate in any way to the job should be avoided. These questions will simply confuse the candidate and will do nothing to calm their nerves. Tried and tested interview questions can include:

  • Ask the interviewee to give a little background information on themselves; interviewees will usually have this answer prepared
  • Ask how the interviewee can be of benefit to the company
  • Ask why the interviewee applied for the position and why they are leaving their present employment
  • The interviewee’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to employment skills is a much used question that will tell a lot about the interviewee’s mindset
  • Ask the interviewee about their goals and what they hope they can obtain from the job
  • Ask for examples from previous work experience with relation to how they would handle situations that may crop up in the new job
  • Always allow the candidate to ask questions at the end of the interview

Interview Etiquette during a Panel Interview

Panel interviews where more than one interviewer is present can be an interviewee’s idea of a nightmare. If a panel interview is used ensure that each person present is introduced to the candidate. Explain each person’s job role to the candidate and why they are attending the interview. If company employees are present to take notes during the interview but not to ask questions then explain this to the interviewee. Make sure each interviewer is prepared in order to ensure that the questions are relevant and not duplicated between interviewers.

Interview Questions That Shouldn’t Be Asked

There are some interview questions that can be considered offensive by the interviewee. Questions on religious beliefs, sexual preferences and marital status are usually not relevant during a job interview. Questions on health issues and personal life are also usually a no go area. Remember that candidates are also interviewing the potential employer, and interviewers will be judged on the questions they ask.

Interviews need not be a gruelling process for either the interviewer or the interviewee. Sticking to the interview etiquette and asking relevant questions will help the interview process to run smoothly and efficiently. The correct interview etiquette will also provide the interviewee with an impression of a professional company. Over time, interview etiquette and interviewing skills will become second nature and will be a valuable addition to an employment resume.

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