No offense—we’re all bad at lots of things, especially if we've never had any training. But you can make yourself a better interviewer by keeping one idea paramount in your mind:
The whole point of interviewing is to hire the right person for the job.
Obvious, right? But some interviewers seem to think their job is to disqualify candidates. And then guess what happens—they disqualify them!
But you've already weeded out the candidates who lack the necessary skills or experience. Everyone you interview should be qualified for the job. Your responsibility in interviews is to decide which of these qualified candidates is the best fit—and convince them that your job is perfect for them, too.
Make it a conversation, not an interrogation.
If the candidate you’re meeting is ideal for the job, her personality and chemistry will matter as much as her skills and experience. And the only way to gauge those intangibles is by holding a conversation—not by grilling her to see if she messes up.
Keeping it conversational means:
She’s interviewing you, too.
The interview is a two-way street—a smart candidate will evaluate you as much as you’re evaluating her. A little professional courtesy goes a long way toward making your company seem like someplace she’d like to work:
If you’re interviewing someone for a position outside your specialty, it only makes sense to have a coworker from that department join you. They’ll be able to ask questions more specific to the job, and assess more accurately whether the candidate's skills and experience fit what the job requires.
Plus, they might actually work side-by-side with this person. It sure helps if they like each other from day one!
When you treat every interview as an opportunity to hire the best candidate possible, that’s exactly what will—eventually—happen.