July 23, 2018
Hiring 01 June 2017
Top 4 Characteristics of a Great Job Interviewer
Gisel Malek
interview questions, recruiters, interviewing candidates, gaining control of the interview

When you ask the right questions, you get what you need. Plain and simple! The challenging part is when you have to figure out what questions you need to ask, what order to ask them in and how to conduct a successful job interview with a prospective candidate.

It could be considered an art form really. Learning to ask the right questions is a challenging task for most, and when the right questions are not asked, you are not providing solutions to your problems. 

One of the most famous and effective broadcasting legends of our time is Barbara Walters. What makes what she does so effective? How does she so famously get what seems to be well-composed multi-millionaires to break down and cry? While her interviews are different in nature compared to what your job interview will be - if you strip away the layers of what makes a job interview most successful, you will find that there isn't a lot that is different. At the base lies the behaviors required to build an effective conversation that gives you the answers you are looking for. 

Characteristics of Good interviewers:

1. Inquisitive  

Being inquisitive is very important to the interview process. When job candidates are answering your questions with yes or no answers, or, even when they give you long examples, having the ability to inquire further is one of the most important things an interviewer can do. Having the curiosity to learn and understand more can only help make the interview more successful because you are opening the doors to explanations of the answers and interacting on a deeper level

How do you become more inquisitive? Be curious - and part of being curious is showing interest in what is being talked about. If you are finding that the conversation is not really holding your interest, make sure you do your part to pick up on those signals by tweaking the phrasing of your questions or even the timing.  

2. Attentive

This may seem like an obvious trait of a great job interviewer, but often times, it is the most difficult one for people to grasp. If you are an inexperienced job interviewer, you may be a little bit nervous about how well the interview may be going. So, often times, the focus is really more on making sure all the questions get asked and that all the answers are documented. Listening to what you are actually hearing can get a little bit lost in that process. Even for more experienced interviewers, many times, recruiters are listening to respond not to understand. 

3. Prepared

Preparing for a job interview is more than just reading a resume and having your list of questions ready to go. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely want to have your questions listed out, but there is a lot more that goes into preparation than merely that. The most effective interviewers are the ones that really know all their questions well. 

What does this mean exactly? At any time you may need to scrap one question because it was already answered in another question and you are left flustered. To avoid being in this situation, listen to what is being said and ask more questions about what was just answered. Having the ability to improvise by reordering questions and coming up with new ones are very important things to be able to do well. 

4. Confrontational

Being fearless enough to ask about things that provoke emotional responses can be very helpful for job interviewers. No, I am not saying to pull a Barbara Walters and make them cry! But seeing what makes them tick can tell you many things such as what they are feeling about the opportunity, if they can be a good cultural fit, or whether or not they are able to do the things they say they can do. Barbara Walters saves very difficult questions for the very end, and there is a reason for that. 

In a 2001 interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, she actually asked him whether had ever ordered anyone killed. Saving a question like that for the very end makes sense because the interviewee has already opened up throughout the conversation and would be more likely to answer it. While no job interviewer would get that provocative or personal, the idea has merit. When interviewing job candidates, asking them questions that are the most important can be saved for the very end because you will get a more honest answer. 

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