5 Tips for Leading Conversational Interviews

We’ve all been there. You find yourself sitting across from a job candidate – either in person or virtually. After exchanging brief pleasantries, you dive into your checklist of interview questions about skills, experience, why they want the job, etcAfter a few of these, the candidate begins getting bored and wonders if they even want to work for you. Meanwhile, you begin checking your watch.  

Today’s candidates want more from their prospective bosses. But thankfully, there’s a better way for employers to create a strong impression with job seekers – starting with tweaking outdated interviewing policies.   

The secret? Try turning your interview into a conversation.  

Transforming the Way you Approach Interviews – One Conversation at a Time 

What can you do to bring a more conversational tone to your job interviews? It starts with changing the way you ask questions. You can get stronger insights into the candidate’s experience, goals and fit for the job by slightly tweaking the way you frame questions. Need some ideas? Here are 5 tips to improve your conversational interviewing techniques: 

1. Don’t Conduct an Interview, Have a Conversation  

One of the biggest mistakes employers make in the interview setting is to conduct it like it appears in a magazine (question and answer). Don’t make that mistake. Forget about formal questions and just have a comfortable conversation as you get to know the candidate.  

2. Notes are Okay – Sort Of 

It’s alright to have some notes about certain areas you would like to discuss, but don’t hold it in your hand and look down at it. That will break the conversation and turn it into an interview. The best way to avoid getting stuck asking question after question is to do your research on the job and the candidate so you feel more comfortable walking them through the conversation without notes.  

3. Ask Open-Ended Questions  

As the conversation progresses you can include questions or commentary starting with words like “how” and “why”. Those two words can never be responded to with the words, “yes” or “no”. This technique will help encourage the candidate to think freely and feel more comfortable around you. 

4. Throw Away That Agenda 

To ensure that your conversation is freewheeling as possible, don’t have an agenda. Simply ask your questions or make your observations and let the process flow. The danger here is that many great follow-up conversations and side-tracks can be lost because the interviewer was following their agenda instead of the flow of the conversation. 

5. Have Fun  

The point of the conversational interview is to move beyond the “rote” Q&A to get a better understanding of the candidate. If you’re stressed or focused on your notebook and the questions in it, the jobseeker will “feel it” and will pick up on your nerves or apprehension. Remember that the best conversations are the fun conversations.  

A Final Word 

Conversational interviews can be some of the most memorable. They’re certainly going to be more memorable to the candidate than an interview that’s just a remix of the same 15 questions they heard at their last interview! As an employer, a great conversational interview will leave the candidate excited about the job, the company, and joining the team. 

Lanmark Staffing provides over 40 years of combined human resources, recruiting, temporary placement, sales and management, and temp-to-hire services. Visit our website and learn how our team of local, experienced professionals can help you find the best employee for the job 





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