Studying Typical Interviews Can Shine a Light on Better Hiring Practices

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Job interviews can be stressful for both sides involved. For applicants, doing well can mean getting their dream job, and for interviewers, hiring the right person can save significant amounts of time and money for the company. When it comes to improving the interview process, looking at research and advice can help managers and hiring experts find the perfect fit.

Harvard University professor Greg Willard researched 100 years of job interviewing techniques, determining the best and worst in the process, according to Fox News. Many articles, he found, provide advice, but rely on the determinations of one person. His research takes hundreds of years of information into account.

Willard recommended beginning the process with a "job analysis" of the applicant, which consists of consulting with an expert in the field to determine what is and isn't an important quality for a worker to have, and which skills are most important. This provides three benefits, he said. The interview will automatically become more relevant to the job in question. At the same time, both the candidate and the interviewer will come away from the process with a positive idea of the way it went.

Keep a time limit
Not only is keeping the long-term needs of the position important, but it's also important for all candidates to get the same opportunities during an interview, although some candidates may be more talkative than others. Willard advises keeping set numbers of questions to be asked during an interview - no more than four and six per 30 minute period. However, if a candidate doesn't have an adequate answer for a specific question, it's not the right idea to simply press on with the interview, as that can prevent a given interviewee from being considered due to lack of information. Instead, allow for follow-up questions and alternative questions to better know their skills and abilities.

The interview needs to remain on-track at all times, according to Willard. Interviewers should save all applicant questions for after the end of the interview itself - though a personal connection can still be made. Further, more than one interviewer's opinion should be taken into account in the process, as the more people deciding between candidates, the more likely they'll be to agree on the right one.

Research and originality
Another way to improve your interviewing ability comes from doing research into the candidates themselves, staffing firm experts told CareerBuilder. If any notable achievements are listed on a resume, for example, that provides a good jumping-off point for an interviewer to ask questions. In any case, having a better idea of a candidate's job history will help guide the interview's direction, preventing it from becoming repetitive, sterile or awkward.

Questions that directly concern the job at hand, and that test the candidate's readiness and ability to perform will in the role if given to them, can give an interviewer a much better example of their strengths and weaknesses. Asking for examples of situations from past work can provide even more knowledge into their readiness for the job, while their experience and ability to work with others, for example, can be easily derived from problem-solving situations. Even if a candidate doesn't answer as fully as you may expect them to, approaching questions from different perspectives can solve that issue - as long as the tone of the interview is positive, there should be no problems.