The Self-Awareness Guy

Effective Communication: Interviewing for the Ideal Candidate

Leaders and organizations can use effective communication skills like active listening and open-ended questions to increase their chances of hiring excellent people.  Let's look at how you can use these skills to understand your job candidates better and increase the likelihood that you'll find a person who is a good fit for your organization.

Open ended questions area a valuable tool to help you get more information in less time.  When you're developing open-ended interview questions, think in terms of asking questions that allow people to answer without saying yes or no such as, "In what ways does your previous experience relate to A or B," or "Tell me more about your philosophy on A or B and how it would impact C and D," or "How would you deal with A, B, C?"

Open-ended questions allow the candidate to demonstrate proficiency in whatever area you would like to highlight.  They also help you steer the conversation away from proscribed questioning that tends to elicit yes or no or canned answers.  They make your job easier because the candidate is required to show you what they know and tell you about himself or herself without you having to guess.

Active listening is another key skill to help you obtain information that you might not get in a standard interview.  Practice asking a question and then not talking at all.  Let the candidate tell you about their perspective and only prompt when absolutely necessary and, then, only to encourage them to keep expanding on the subject.  You don't have to direct the conversation so it makes the process more enjoyable.  Remember that you can't listen actively if you're busy talking.

Practice these skills and you'll get to the core of what you want to learn about the candidate and make better hiring decisions.  It's remarkable what happens when we simply listen to people telling us about themselves.  How will you practice effective communication in your interviews?



0 thoughts on “Effective Communication: Interviewing for the Ideal Candidate

  1. Russell Aaron

    Great thoughts, Guy! I am currently in the process of interviewing candidates and have struggled to get more than “yes” or “no” out of some candidates, while others have been very open. I will certainly be working on my active listening instead of preparing a response immediately!