Conducting a job interview is as challenging for the interviewer as for the applicant. Because the interviewer needs to determine within that short 2 hours if the candidate is suitable for the job. But conducting a job interview is not as simple as asking “can you do the job?”. The interviewer needs to design specific questions to understand the candidate and determine if he or she is the right fit for this job.

Besides, always assume the candidate is well prepared for the job. Every response to the standard questions is carefully crafted to impress the interviewer. After all, the objective of most candidates is to receive as many job offers as possible. This is especially true for the entry level to junior management roles. So the interviewer also has to be critical of everything the candidate says. So here are 6 simple steps on how to conduct a job interview effectively.

1. Understanding the Role

Before conducting the interview, it is imperative that the interviewer understands what is required to succeed in the position. Simply knowing that you need an IT guy or marketing guy is not enough. Find out the key traits and qualities to become the top performers of that field and tailor your selection process to find the candidate that possess those success factors. Talk to the high performer or subject matter expert (SME) to find out what you need to look for.

2. Identify Areas of Interest

Besides understanding the job, you also need to understand the candidate. You had invited the candidate for an interview which means the candidate probably possess the knowledge, skills, and competencies that you were looking for. Or at least says the resume. But there must be some areas in the resume that you would like to find out more. For instance, what has the candidate accomplished? How did the candidate manage those accomplishments?

3. Removing Defensive Mechanisms

So now you know what you are looking for, don’t rush into it. Always start off with non-job related questions like “how’s your day” to ease the candidate’s nervousness. Getting the candidate comfortable helps to remove the defensive mechanisms so that the candidate will open up and talk freely. And carry that friendly smile throughout the interview to give the candidate the confidence that he or she needs.

4. Interview Structure and Questions

And before you start asking questions, it is always a good practice to inform the candidate about the interview process. This helps the candidate to know what to expect. And don’t blindly follow the questions that you had prepared. The candidates are probably more prepared on their answers than you on your questions. So dig into the details. Because specificity is what separates the ones who said they done it from the ones who actually did it. And besides, not everyone is a great communicator. Some candidates are just bad at interviewing, but they may be fantastic at their job. But remember, don’t turn the conversation into an interrogation.

5. Managing Expectation

Bear in mind that the interview is to provide an opportunity for you to know the candidate as much as for the candidate to know about the job and the company. The candidate also has his or her expectations. And it is also your job to find that out. Because you need to “sell” the job to a potential candidate while managing his or her expectation about the job. You are not doing anyone a favor if you hire someone whose expectations the company cannot meet.

6. Ending the Interview

Lastly, you can end the interview by allowing the candidate to add in details that he or she might miss out and to clarify any doubts that the candidate has. Then let the candidate know the next step of the interview process. If he or she is a potential candidate, make sure you update the candidate before the said follow-up date.

After the interview, you may continue the rest of the interview process such as conducting a reference check, background check and scheduling for the next interview. But don’t take your time. Great candidates don’t have the time to wait for you.