There are far too many variables to an interview that should be considered beforehand. Despite the most intricate of preparations, the quality of the interview and success in recruitment beyond it, all depend on the interviewer, interviewee, and of course each interaction in between.

This is why it’s important to consider what a meaningful interview constitutes. Without the right setup, they turn into a time-dump, a space in which resources, budget, and precious time are thrown without any conceivable results.

Recruiters should ask themselves what is necessary for a good interview and how can I, as an interviewer, provide it? What kind of questions can I ask to understand how much of a culture-fit the candidate is? What are the success elements during an interview?

In light of your own specific needs, you may need to consider particular strategies with great care for detail. The goal is to find any legitimate insight to guarantee that you’re giving all candidates an equal opportunity. This will help highlight distinguished talent.

Preparing for the interview

Preparation begins with a proper screening and vetting process. There are quite a few ways to analyze a candidate’s profile, beginning with pre-interview questionnaires, a structured interview guide, a clear understanding of the job and its requirements, and personal questions that would determine the cultural fit.

Resume volume is one of the bigger issues that recruiters and HR professionals find themselves facing. Screening hundreds -if not thousands- of resumes can be a daunting task, especially when hunting exceptional talent. This slows the process when done manually and can easily be avoided with the right tools and techniques.

If you published a well-written, clear and enticing job opening on your career page, odds are that you’re about to receive a large number of resumes. You already know that not every applicant will qualify for the position, but intricate screening and in-depth analysis of each resume is the only way to give everyone a fair chance and ensure that your company does not miss out on any hidden gems.

The general criteria that recruiters follow address the more important points of employment. These are usually focused on the candidate’s experience, educational background, degrees, certifications, and location. These are the must-haves for almost every position in your company. Roles with more responsibilities and a deeper impact may require a long list of basic requirements.

If you use an ATS, it’s much easier to set up each job’s requirements and match them to the candidates within your database. This would automatically disqualify applicants that don’t meet the specific job requirements you’ve set. This saves a lot of valuable time and sets high performers and exceptional talent aside from the others.

If you aren’t using an ATS or HR software, it’s advised to customize your application process so that you can manually add these requirements in an easily scanned manner. Though more time-consuming, having a crystal clear vetting process can help recruiters thin the number of resumes to a few key finalists.

Are they a good fit?

Depending on the role itself, your industry, and how competitive the atmosphere is, you might end up with a large number of finalists, candidates that all qualify for the position. How do we know which candidates deserve the job?

There are a few elements that remain a key indicator of the candidate’s ability, loyalty, and skill. With a combination of interview questions and pre-interview analysis, recruiters can get to know their candidates a little better.

The career: This refers to understanding the candidate’s desired career growth. It’s good to determine early on whether their plans fit the company’s own path, and whether the growth they are looking for is feasible within the organization. This is also a very good way to gauge the candidate’s motivation, drive, and their ambition. It’s likely they are aiming far too high or far too low for the position you’re hiring for.

Qualifications: This is perhaps a given, but not only do the candidates need to meet the requirements, but it’s often much more promising if they surpass them. This is extremely important for leadership and management positions, as the skills and qualifications required, may go beyond their previous experience.

Experience: There’s a lot that a candidate’s work experience can say about them. Recruiters can analyze resumes for any patterns, inconsistencies, long absences, or frequent job-hopping. These are indicators of the candidate’s ability, value, and loyalty to their organization.

Industry experience: You might be a tech company looking to hire a marketer. But then again, analyzing the resume for your specific industry or niche can go a long way in choosing the best talent for the job. Of course, someone that is familiar with your product, your industry, and its marketing channels, or even the internal flow of operations in such a setting would be much more preferable to someone whose expertise lies in a different field entirely. Knowledge is valuable, specific industry knowledge even more so.

Work samples: This may not be applicable for every role, but the majority of professionals are able to display their past work in one form or another. Writers will have writing samples, designers will have an entire portfolio, and project managers will have all the graphs and screenshots to prove their worth. However, roles that may not necessarily be able to produce such examples can be asked to undertake simple tasks that the recruiter would put together.