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Being the Interviewer

This lesson is a part of an audio course Interview Skills by Ross Maynard

At some point in your career, you might be asked to be on an interview panel – to be one of the interviewers.

This is a good experience, and you should take the opportunity. But there are some important things you should do in preparation:

  • Ask for some training to be an interviewer – and this will also help with your interview skills.

  • Read the job description that you are going to be interviewing for, and discuss it with the lead interviewer. How are you going to approach the interviews as a team? How are you going to balance the questions between you? Which areas should you probe? And so on.

  • Review the CVs of the candidates for the interviews and plan some personalised questions. Highlight what you feel are each candidates' strengths and weaknesses.

  • Plan the questions you are going to ask with the lead interviewer – you don't want to be stepping on each other's toes during the interview.

  • Watch and listen carefully during the interview. You'll be able to tell where a candidate is strong and where they are winging it.

  • But remember, be empathetic. You know how stressful it is facing an interview, so be open and welcoming to each candidate. Try to put them at their ease, and if you spot a weak area, you can highlight it, but you don't have to totally humiliate the candidate. Be as gentle and considerate as you can. It could be you. It will be you – in another situation; in another organisation.

And so finally, let's look at what you can do now to be ready for interview.

Get Ready for Interview

  1. First, make an inventory of the processes, systems, and methods you have experience of. Think through your past jobs and roles and make sure you have covered everything thoroughly.

  2. Second, write a short case study for each project you have worked on. Who was involved? Who did you interact with? What was your approach? How did it progress? What corrective action was needed? How did you deal with resistance or set-backs? What were the results?

  3. Next, with these two elements in place, work on your Interview Skills Balance Sheet and your CV. What are your interview fixed assets – your well-engrained skills and experiences; what are your emerging skills – your current assets. What gaps do you have – your current liabilities; and what non-negotiable constraints are there – your long term liabilities. Finally, work on your personal interests and capabilities – your shareholders' funds.

  4. Fourth, consider what type of role really interests you? What do you need to do to be ready for it?

  5. What employers offer that type of role? How can you find out about them? How can you find out what they have available; and how can you get yourself in front of them?

Don't just apply for jobs. Plan your approach.

Practice Your Skills

It is very helpful to practice before you get into the interview room.

  • Get on some interview skills training, possibly through your employer if they have courses available. Presentation skills training will also help. Get them in your CPD plan.

  • Watch YouTube videos on interview skills – there are many.

  • Check out the job vacancy boards online but bear in mind what I said about recruitment consultants earlier. If you are a member of a professional body, they are likely to have a careers hub you can use.

  • Practice with friends. Some of your friends may also be looking for new opportunities, so you will help each other by staging mock interviews.

  • If you feel brave enough, think of applying for a couple of jobs you don't care about to get practice!

There are many resources out there that can help.

There are plenty of books available too. One I like is How to Get Hired: An Insider's Guide to Applications, Interviews and Getting the Job of Your Dreams, by Michael A. Harrison, published in 2018.

Thank you for listening to this lesson. In the next lesson, we cover the key learning points from the course.

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Written by

Ross Maynard