How to Keep a Job Interview on Track

A common misconception about job interviews is that only the applicant needs to do his or her preparation ahead of time. This, however, if far from the truth. As the interviewer, it is important for you to take the time to learn how to keep a job interview on track in order to conduct productive and efficient interviews.


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    Plan your questions ahead of time.
    • Go into the interview with a complete and revised list of questions for the applicant. Be sure to review this list right before the interview to make sure you are prepared for the interview. This will make referring to questions a much quicker process. Consider adding notes of follow-up questions you want to ask if the interviewee answers a particular way. Only stray away from these questions if it truly advances the interview.
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    Be familiar with the applicant's qualifications.
    • Don't spend your time asking questions you can find the answers to prior to the interview. You risk getting off track if you have to ask basic questions. If the applicant lists a specific qualification on their resume that is especially pertinent to the job, be sure to incorporate that into your written list of questions. This will also keep the applicant's answers on track.
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    Stay in charge of the conversation.
    • It's easy to get caught in the trap of just talking rather than remembering that you are in the middle of screening a job applicant. Staying in charge of the conversation will, not only keep the interview on track, but will help keep the interview professional.
    • There is a chance that, if the candidate doesn't have a good answer to one of your questions, he or she may try to divert the conversation to another topic. It is your responsibility to bring the interviewee back to the original question.
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    Know the job description.
    • Remember that the candidate will likely have questions for you about the position you are trying to fill. You can save yourself time, and any embarrassment, by knowing what the expectations are for the job. This will also allow the conversation to remain focused on how the applicant will best fit the job.
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    Field questions appropriately.
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    Make sure your answers to the candidate's questions stay on topic. Don't just focus on keeping your questions and the candidate's answers on track. Make sure that, when you are answering one of the interviewee's questions, you are concise and to the point. Hopefully, the candidate will follow your lead when it is his or her turn to answer.

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Categories: Interview Skills