Conducting an effective interview

According to a study from Affinity Workforce, the ongoing skills shortages in the education sector continues to damage school performance and is only set to worsen over the next three years. Therefore, it’s more important than ever that employers in the industry know how to find talented recruits.

Interviews are an important part of the recruitment process, giving you an opportunity to get to know your candidates and decide if they’re suited to the role. So, if you’ve got an interview coming up, or you just want to fine-tune your skills, read on for helpful advice from Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library.

Preparation is essential

It goes without saying that candidates are expected to come prepared for an interview. But the same goes for the interviewer. Lack of preparation can lead to an unproductive interview – which won’t be helpful to you or your candidate. What’s more, this will make it harder for you to pick out the best person for the job.

Begin by re-reading the job description and making sure that you’re familiar with everything the role involves. After this, you need to review the candidate’s work history and qualifications. Write down any questions you have about these areas, which you may want to clarify during the interview.

Don’t forget the basics – for example, giving the candidate clear directions to your school and instructions for when they arrive. Interviews are nerve-wracking as it is, without candidates facing additional worry because they can’t find the location.

Choose the right interview questions

To give all candidates a fair opportunity you must aim to use the same questions for everyone. There may be exceptions if you have specific questions about work history, but the majority of the interview needs to fit a similar format. Altering questions too much could lead to bias and unfairness in your interview techniques. To avoid this, write your questions beforehand, considering the needs of your organisation and the level of the role.

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When writing your questions, make sure that you use open-ended ones – nothing that can be answered by simply, ‘Yes’ or, ‘No’. Examples of these types of questions may include:

  • What are your key strengths?
  • How would you deal with a disruptive or challenging student?
  • Why do you want to work at this school?

Interviews questions can usually be broken down into technical, personality, scenario and school culture or industry questions. By asking questions that fit in all these areas, it can help you find the best match for the role.

Create a clear assessment criterion

Creating clear assessment criteria is a helpful way of ranking candidates on their skills and suitability. It also means you don’t have to frantically make notes while trying to listen to what your interviewee is saying.

You can write the criteria using the job description you already have for the position. You should have listed essential requirements, important skills and qualities for the role in the person specification. Begin by writing these out as a list of desirables, aiming to be as specific as possible.

If communication, teamwork and time management were important, you could list these on a document and rank your candidate out of 10 for each one. By the end of your interviews, you will be able to see which candidate ranks higher. This gives you a way to measure candidates and can help to avoid bias.

In summary

Conducting an effective interview is important for you to find the most suitable recruits for your organisation. Considering the skills shortages in this industry, it’s essential that you can perfect your skills.

While interviews can sometimes be challenging, being prepared is key to success. So, follow the advice above and you will be hiring the top talent in no time!

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