An interview is not a dialogue. The whole point of the interview is to get the applicant to tell you his or her history and give you information. Limit your own remarks to a few pleasantries to break the ice. Let them do the talking.
To avoid dead-end questions; ask questions that require more of an answer than “yes” or “no.” Start with “Why, how, where, what kind of . .
Ask one question at a time.
Ask brief questions.
Start with non-controversial questions. A good place to start is with the person’s background. This allows you and the applicant to become comfortable, make eye contact, etc.
Don’t let periods of silence fluster you. Give the person a chance to think of what he/she wants to add before you hustle into the next question.
Don’t worry if your questions are not as beautifully phrased as you would like them to be. A few fumbled questions will help put your applicant at ease.
Don’t interrupt a good story because you have thought of a question or because the applicant is straying from the planned outline. If the information is pertinent, let the person continue, but jot down your question so you will remember to ask it later.
If the applicant does stray into non-pertinent subjects, try to pull him/her back as quickly as possible. Example: “Before we move on, I’d like to find out …..”.
It is often hard for an applicant to describe persons or situations. Give them time. An easy way to begin is to ask him to describe the person’s appearance.
Interviewing is one time when a negative approach can be more effective than a positive one. Ask about the negative aspects of a situation. For example when asking about an employer ask “I hear he is a real jerk to work for – hard on his people.”
If an applicant tells you a story or describes an event – determine where the applicant was or what his or her role was in this event. Interrupt to ask “did you see this yourself or hear it from others?” then let them continue. Evaluate the content of what was shared. The applicant’s judgment, trust, ability to keep a secret or divulge confidential or privileged information.
Normally do not challenge accounts you think may be inaccurate. Instead, try to develop as much information as possible that can be evaluated later.
Or, tactfully point out to the applicant that there is a different account or contradictory information of what he or she is describing, if there is. Observe the reaction / response.
Try to avoid “off the record” information.
Don’t let the applicant control the interview. You ask; they answer.
Interviews usually work out better if done in private without interruptions.
End the interview at a reasonable time. An hour-and-a-half is probably maximum. First, you must protect the applicant against over-fatigue: second, you will be tired, too.
Don’t use the interview to show off your own knowledge, vocabulary, charm, or other abilities. Answer their questions and briefly sell your business as a good place to work.
A second interview is always recommended. Both you and the applicant will be more familiar and have new questions. The third interview is usually the hiring interview