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Online Interview Training: How to Avoid Being the 'Bad' Interviewer Story

April 17, 2012

We’ve all typically had at least one bad interview experience during our job searches- you know, the kind of experience that you’ll never forget and you end up sharing--and at times-laughing about with all of your friends and colleagues.

Well, don’t let yourself become “that interviewer” who leaves a negative interview experience with a candidate and worse yet, makes a negative impression of your entire company.  Whether it’s due to being unprepared for the interview, being repeatedly distracted, not asking professional/appropriate questions, or allowing personal frustrations and emotions to affect your interactions with the candidate, all of these things can make candidates uncomfortable and leave a negative impression of your company as an employer.

Here are some tips for conducting a pleasant and professional interview experience for every candidate that you interview:

Preparing for the Interview

  • Become familiar with the job and the interview materials so you come across as knowledgeable and prepared.

  • Review the candidate’s resume and other background information prior to the interview, NOT for the first time when they step into your office.

  • Take steps to avoid disruptions by conducting the interview in a private area and by putting your phone on do not disturb.

  • If multiple interviews will be conducted, ensure that all involved parties are aware of the interview plan to avoid the candidate having to wait around for the transition between interviews.

  • Consider how to best “sell” the benefits of working for the company.

Opening the Interview

  • Greet the candidate promptly - no one likes to be kept waiting.

  • Smile, be friendly and make appropriate eye contact.

  • Explain the process so that the candidate knows what to expect and can feel more at east.

  • Set a positive tone and maintain the candidate’s self esteem.  Remember how nervous you may have been at a past job interview.

  • Rephrase questions when necessary to ensure that the candidate understands what to expect.

  • Politely redirect the conversation as necessary to keep the interview on track.


Gathering Information

  • Follow the interview guide.

  • Ask questions only related to job-relevant information.

  • Leverage what you learned and ask effective probing questions.

  • Make sure that you’ve gathered complete examples of a candidate’s past work experiences.

  • Clarify any areas where you feel you need more information.

  • Do not ask unacceptable or illegal questions.

Closing the Interview

  • Thank the candidate for their time and interest in your company.

  • Revisit and emphasize the benefits of working for the company.

  • Answer any questions that the candidate may have.

  • Do not do or say anything that would give the candidate a positive or negative impression about their performance.

  • Walk with the candidate to the door and thank them one last time

Want to learn some more interviewing tips? Check out our Interviewing Essentials eBook!

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Connie Gentry Connie Gentry was a Consulting Associate at PSI. Connie’s work experience includes job analyses, validation, assessment design and customization, EEOC analyses, behavioral interview guide and anchored rating scale development, multi-rater tool (360 Feedback), large-scale competency-based selection and competency model design, and executive assessment.