All too often, employers leave the interview room wondering why they aren’t keen on any of their candidates they so carefully picked from a towering stack of CVs.

And the reason? It is easy forget that interviews are a two-way process in their mission to hear all about their candidates’ skills and experiences. There is no way you will see your candidates’ true colours if they feel like they are talking to a brick wall. Whether or not an interview is conducted face-to-face, over the telephone or through a video call, there are some key rules you should follow for getting the most out of your potential candidate.

1. Know What You Can Legally Ask

First and foremost, to prevent discrimination in the workplace, there are many requirements that the UK government requires employers to fulfil in the recruitment process and you must of course adhere to these. For instance, interviewers are liable to legal action if they phrase questions about disabilities and personal details incorrectly. Coherent guidance is provided on the website to help you protect their businesses.

2. Learn Interview Question Styles

Many career advice services provide detailed information on the type of questions an employer might ask to help candidates prepare. This means interviewers should also know these question formats. This will not only allow you to see the very best of their prepared candidates, it will also allow you test see how candidates react when the questions are not what they are expecting! As an interviewer, you can flex the structure of the to fit the needs of your particular business. From behavioural or competency-based questions, to technical questions specific to industry knowledge, there is a whole host of possibilities here and so preparation is key.

Be sure to have your uniquely prepared list of questions written down or typed up and have it in front of you during the interview to keep yourself on track.

3. Be Prepared to Re-Phrase

Now that you have prepared for success by knowing the interview styles and planning accordingly, you might want to write down some ways to phrase your questions differently in case your candidate becomes confused. After all, not everybody thinks in the same way. If a candidate asks and employer to repeat themselves during an interview, this should not be seen as a negative. This shows their initiative to ask for clarification. Be helpful just as you would expect them to be for you.

However, of course, if they keep asking and they really cannot understand you, that might not be conducive to an effective working relationship.

4. Review the CV and Cover Letter Beforehand

It isn’t just the interviewee that needs to research before interviews. While they research your company, you should be researching them. Make notes on any key points from their CV that you want to explore further with your candidate. Top employers follow this strategy because it is also an excellent practice for verifying that the candidate has been honest in their application.

Recruiters often summarise CVs into strengths and weakness to drive the types of questions that will be raised in the interview. You might also want to take a look at their social media profile too!

5. Open with a Smile and a Handshake

This can go a long way towards candidates feel settled enough to talk freely about themselves and their experience. Seasoned interviewers will know how nerves can ruin interviewed for candidates who may have been great for the role. If you truly want to see what makes your candidate tick, practice openness – in both the sense of asking open-questions as well as being open to what the interviewee has to say and how they feel.

6. Explain the Interview Structure

Without giving absolutely everything away, telling the candidate a little about how the interview proceedings will take place will help keep them focused. The candidate should not feel employers are intentionally trying to trip them up. This won’t be beneficial to anybody.

7. The Power of Three

This a simple technique but very effective and helpful one, too. Try to listen for 3 things that validate the skills the candidate says they have. If you can’t think of 3, encourage them to offer you more reasons. If they can’t, you know what to do. If they can, bingo!

This should help you make mental notes throughout each interview and help you to compare candidates at the end.

This most important take-away point for an interviewer is to stick to be prepared. This includes knowing government regulations, knowing the widely-recognised interview practices and knowing at least a couple of facts about each candidate you interview. As the saying goes: fail to prepare, prepare to fail.