11 Tips for Conducting Better Interviews
5 min

Interviews are the gateway to building a stellar team, yet they often remain overlooked in terms of systematic improvement. Many executives spend a significant portion of their time conducting interviews, but habitual methods can lead to complacency. By putting in modest effort to analyze and enhance our interviewing techniques, we can yield significant returns.

At its core, interviewing is an exchange of information—whether it’s for a job opening, a promotion, a special assignment, or a merger. The insights gained from these conversations are often more valuable than mere facts. In today’s fast-paced business environment, interviews are conducted under time constraints, making it crucial to use a guided approach that ensures meaningful and effective communication. Enter the 5 Cs of interviewing: Competence, Chemistry, Curiosity, Character, and Compatibility. These principles can transform your interview process, ensuring you select the best candidates. Let's explore some unique strategies to optimize your interviews and improve your hiring outcomes.


  1. Start with a Pre-Interview Survey
    Before the interview, send candidates a short survey to gather additional information about their skills, experiences, and expectations. This helps tailor the interview questions to be more specific and relevant.
    : Google's hiring process includes a pre-interview questionnaire that allows candidates to share more about their problem-solving skills and past projects. This helps interviewers focus on critical areas during the actual interview.
  2. Incorporate Job Simulation Tasks
    Give candidates a task or problem to solve that they would likely encounter in the job. This provides a realistic view of their capabilities and approach.
    : At Microsoft, candidates for software engineering roles often undergo coding exercises or whiteboard sessions where they solve real-world problems. This not only tests their technical skills but also their problem-solving approach and communication abilities.


  1. Assess Cultural Fit with Peer Interviews
    Include team members in the interview process to evaluate how well the candidate fits into the company culture and team dynamics.
    : Zappos, known for its strong company culture, involves potential teammates in the interview process. They assess whether the candidate aligns with the company's core values and would contribute positively to the team environment.


  1. Ask for Examples of Continuous Learning
    Inquire about how candidates keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date. This demonstrates their commitment to personal and professional growth.
    : Spotify often asks candidates about recent books they've read or courses they've taken. This helps identify those who proactively seek to improve their skills and stay current in their field.
  2. Evaluate Adaptability with Change Scenarios
    Ask candidates how they would handle rapid changes or unexpected challenges in the workplace. This helps gauge their flexibility and resilience.
    : Netflix often questions candidates about how they adapt to fast-paced changes, reflecting the dynamic nature of the entertainment industry. This helps identify individuals who thrive in ever-evolving environments.


  1. Use Behavioral Questions with a Twist
    Instead of typical behavioral questions, ask candidates how they would handle hypothetical future scenarios that relate closely to the job role.
    : Amazon often asks candidates to describe how they would tackle specific challenges they might face in the role. This approach helps assess their problem-solving skills and how well they align with the company's leadership principles.
  2. Focus on Soft Skills through Role-Playing
    Conduct role-playing exercises to evaluate candidates' soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and leadership.
    : Salesforce uses role-playing scenarios to assess how sales candidates handle customer interactions. This reveals their ability to communicate effectively and manage client relationships.


  1. Leverage Data-Driven Interviewing Techniques
    Use data and analytics to structure your interviews, ensuring you cover essential competencies and compare candidates objectively.
    : IBM employs data-driven interview frameworks that use historical data to identify the most critical skills and competencies for each role. This leads to more informed and unbiased hiring decisions.
  2. Implement Blind Hiring Techniques
    Remove identifying information from resumes to reduce unconscious bias and focus on the candidate's skills and experience.
    : Atlassian has adopted blind hiring practices, where names, genders, and other personal details are omitted from resumes during the initial screening. This has led to a more diverse and inclusive hiring process.
  3. Include a Realistic Job Preview
    Provide candidates with a realistic overview of the job, including potential challenges and expectations. This helps them make informed decisions about the role.
    : Southwest Airlines offers a "day-in-the-life" video for potential hires, showcasing the daily tasks and responsibilities. This transparency helps candidates understand the job better and sets realistic expectations.
  4. Solicit Feedback from Candidates
    After the interview, ask candidates for feedback on the process. This can provide valuable insights into improving your interview strategy.
    : LinkedIn regularly surveys candidates post-interview to gather feedback on their experience. This feedback is used to refine and enhance their interview process continually.

Conducting better interviews requires a blend of creativity, preparation, and continuous improvement. By implementing these unique tips, you can enhance the quality of your interviews, leading to better hiring decisions and a more robust team. Each strategy, supported by real-life examples, demonstrates how companies have successfully integrated these techniques into their hiring processes. Start applying these insights today to see significant improvements in your interview outcomes.