Trakstar Academy - Pro Tips for Candidate Interviews

Interviewing candidates is one of the essential elements of hiring.  It allows you and your team to see if the candidate would be a good fit for the opening, gauge their skills, and get to know them! Interviewing can make or break both the candidate's experience and the interviewer's experience. 

Let's walk through the entire interview process with great pro tips to help you:

  • Become an expert interviewer
  • Coach your colleagues and teams to get the best feedback from interviews
  • Prepare your candidates for a smooth and precise interview experience
  • Utilize tools and features in Hire to make this as easy and repeatable as possible!

Enroll in our eLearning course, or scroll down to learn more!

In This Article

Scheduling Interviews in Hire

Hire always you to easily schedule interviews for your colleagues.  We recommend creating an Interview Stage within your hiring workflow and including all relevant details.  You can set defaults for who will be taking the interview on your team, the venue/location, and even an evaluation form.  You can edit these details when you move a candidate into an interview stage or create an ad hoc interview within the system.

Learn more about setting up interviews for your colleagues here!

Self-Scheduling Tool

The first step with any interview is to schedule it!  Avoid the back and forth of trying to figure out the best times with the Self-Scheduling Tool, built right into Hire.  This allows candidates to self-select their own interview time. Learn more about setting up this feature here!

What does it look like for the candidate?

When the candidate receives your email, they'll see a blue button at the bottom that says Select Slot.  They'll click on this to take them to the self-scheduling page.

The candidate can click on any time slot to schedule!

Clicking on a time slot gives them a confirmation button.  

If another candidate selects a time slot, it will no longer appear for other candidates.  And if your team has their calendar synced, the scheduling page will also update with any booked events.

If there are no available time slots left, Hire will let the candidate know to reach out to you to request more time slots.

And that's it!  Once the candidate confirms their time slot, they will receive a calendar invite, which will appear as confirmed in your Hire system!  If your calendars are synced, the events will automatically be added to your interviewers' calendars.

Engaging Your Team in Quality Feedback

Watch the webinar below to learn best practices for getting high-quality feedback from your team members, including information on the following: 

  • What is structured feedback, and why is it essential in hiring?
  • How to create custom interview & review evaluation forms
  • Tips & tricks for leaving feedback and obtaining quality feedback from your team
  • A spotlight on Unbiased Feedback and Feedback Reminders

Note: This webinar was recorded when Hire was Recruiterbox - all of the features are the same, but you may hear us talking about the products a little differently.

All About Evaluation Forms

Structured evaluation forms are one of Trakstar Hire's best features.  They allow you to create pre-set questions for your interviewers, built right into the interview and saved directly to the candidate's profile.  

This structured evaluation allows the interviwer to leave quality feedback with ease, while rating the candidate on a thumbs up/thumbs down matrix.

Here is what an evaluation form looks like when you are filling it out?

You can use the matrix to rate every question, add additional notes & context, and attach a file to the evaluation.

All feedback - including any pending evaluation forms that need to be filled out - are saved in the Feedback tab on the candidate's profile, and can be viewed by any user who has access to the candidate:

We've got tons of resources on setting these up - click here to learn more!

Need some more ideas for building out a great evaluation form?  Check out this resource from SHRM!

Tips for Conducting a Job Interview

A good interview can make or break a candidate's experience. Trakstar's Director of Customer Experience & Adoption - and pro-interviewer! - Chelsea Baker shares her top five tips for a great interview in the video below!

Be prepared

Take time to prepare for each interview to help you and the candidate get the most out of it. Here are some ways to prepare for an interview:

  • Prepare a list of qualifications and duties for the job. If needed, consult with the manager or supervisor for the role to get a better idea of what they're looking for in a new hire.
  • Make a list of questions you want to ask. Please make sure the questions you ask get job candidates to elaborate on their qualifications and allow you to gain insight regarding their potential fit with your company's culture.
  • Review the resume. Please take note of anything you'd like them to elaborate on during the interview. You can also look up their social media accounts to get an idea of who they are.
  • Consider what they may ask you. Be ready to answer any questions the candidate might have regarding the open position, employee benefits, and the company.
  • Understand your company's goals and culture. To give your company a solid pitch, get to know its goals and culture,"     so you know what to say to each candidate.

Ask for specific details.

Since candidates have the potential to exaggerate their contributions to their previous employers, they seek the truth by asking specific questions. For example, consider asking how many people they supervised with their management position or their sales numbers from last year.

Get as many numbers or dates as possible and bring them up later in the interview to help you determine their validity. If they lied about the details they provided you, they're more likely to forget the information they gave you earlier in the interview.

Show you care

You can give your candidates a good experience by showing that you care. Doing so can help them feel more comfortable while also helping your company's reputation. Even if they don't get the job, showing you care and treating them well can make them feel good about your company and may encourage them to apply for another position. Make sure to make them feel welcome, focus on the conversation, take your time and allow them to ask you questions at the end of the interview.

Learn about their career goals

Apart from asking role-specific questions, aim to understand the interviewee's career goals better. Ask them about their professional interests, where they see themselves in 10 years, and why they're particularly interested in the position they're interviewing for.

Asking these questions helps you understand what they expect regarding professional development. In addition, they give you an idea of how they perceive your company and the position.

Allow them to ask questions.

Toward the end of the interview, give the candidate time to ask you any questions they have about the position and your company. This helps them evaluate whether or not they see the position as a good fit for them. It also helps you determine their level of interest in the position and overall understanding of the company.

Talk about the next steps.

At the end of the interview, could you explain the next steps in the interview process and what they can expect? Let them know when they can expect a response from you and what the rest of the interview process may look like. Could you let them know your timeline for filling the position?

Be a good listener

Throughout the interview, make sure to listen actively and stay engaged. Being a good listener shows your genuine interest in the candidate. It encourages them to talk more openly about their qualifications for the role they're interviewing for. In addition to listening, they learn to understand nonverbal cues that indicate their interest in the position and honesty.

Pro Tips for Remote Interviews

Remote interviewing is a little different than interviewing in person.  Your organization may not be remote - but it still conducts the first few interviews remotely.  These tips can help you level up the remote interview experience, ensuring that your team gets the most out of the interviews and fully understands the candidate!

Focus on emotional intelligence

We frequently base hiring decisions on skills and intelligence — or our perception of a candidate’s IQ. But emotional intelligence, or EQ, is often more critical to success in the workplace. At a time of enormous uncertainty, when workplaces are announcing grand reopening plans one day and abruptly reversing them the next, EQ is arguably more important than ever. EQ determines a person’s ability to relate to others, roll with the punches, navigate challenging situations with grace, and “read the room” (which is especially difficult when it’s a Zoom room).

Giving up on the EQ aspect can be tempting when conducting a virtual interview since it seems like a quality best assessed in person. But this can lead to poor decision-making. When honing your interview questions, consider what each one might tell you about a person’s EQ. Here are some suggestions:

  • If you were starting a company tomorrow, what would be its top three values?
  • Tell me about a workplace conflict you were involved in with your peers or someone else in the company. How did you manage that conflict, and were you able to resolve it?
  • If you’ve previously reported to multiple supervisors simultaneously, how did you get to know each person’s preferences and juggle conflicting priorities?
  • Tell me about a time when you received feedback on your performance, and you disagreed with the feedback. How did you handle the situation?
  • What inspires you?

Lean into the intimacy of the screen

There’s a great deal of hand-wringing over all that’s lost when screens intermediate our interactions. But there is a certain intimacy that screens can facilitate. During a remote interview, the interviewer and interviewee sit inches from one another’s faces. The screen creates a sense of psychological safety that may allow people to open up more than they might in person. Employers can lean into this phenomenon to draw candidates out more quickly. 

Notice reactions to distractions

It can happen to any of us: The doorbell rings, a dog barks, a child cries out, or an emergency phone call comes in during a remote interview. If this happens, consider it an opportunity to glimpse another side of the candidate. Did they get flustered and lose focus? Did they handle the disruption gracefully, as you’d want them to in front of a client or colleague? If no such distraction arises during the interview, consider asking: “While working remotely, can you remember a time when something unexpected or distracting came up? What was it, and how did you respond?” Or, put more bluntly: “Tell me about your worst Zoom nightmare. What happened, and how did you respond?”

Set your candidates up for success

Please be sure to let the candidate know about the expectations, technology, and who they will meet with in advance.  Do you have a few common issues that come up, like candidates needing to download Zoom or Teams in advance of the call?  Be sure to let them know.  Is it essential that they are in a distraction-free environment, or do you want them to prepare something?  Just let them know!  The candidate may expect a phone call or assume the video will be off - just letting them know the expectations in advance will help them feel confident.

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