What I learnt from interviews

Interview is a two-edge sword to an interviewer:

  • if you attend too many times, it would be a burden as it will take a lot of time;

  • if you don’t take part in it, the company will lack of adequate qualified employee, thus you will work to death, but no one can help you out.

In this article, I will not talk about the technics we can use in the interview to find out a qualified co-worker, but something I learnt from the interviews which helps me to change my mindset and help me to use the time for interview wisely.

Many people are pleased when they are asked to join an interview as an interviewer for the first time, because they treat interview as a privilege of senior employee, while after some time, they think interview is just a waste of time since they just repeat themselves regardless of the background of the candidate.

Thus, the first thing we need to change in an interview is our mindset: we need to understand the benefits an interview can bring to us and to the company.

  • Find the qualified co-worker is the most obvious one.

    It seems only the company would benefit from this, but if the candidate is supposed to join YOUR team, the interview becomes more important to you. You should know there is no solid team in which no one can leave, so it’s important to help yourself evaluate whether the candidate is the one you want to work with.

  • Learn from the others can also happen in the interview.

    It’s not only learning from your peer interviewer about their interview skills, their style and even their knowledge, but also from the candidate.

    By definition, “An interview is a conversation where questions are asked and answers are given … between an interviewer and an interviewee.”

    As we can see, interview is not a one-way conversation but a two-way communication, which requires both parties can share their understanding and experience around certain topic, rather than just letting the candidate ask questions at the end of the interview.

    We all understand everyone is unique and has their own experience and knowledge, at the meanwhile, no one is perfect. Hence, we need to learn from everyone. The person who join the interview as an interviewee doesn’t mean they are inferior than the interviewer; so if you are a passionate learner, you won’t miss this opportunity. Sometimes, if you ask the candidate the real problem in your current project, they may help you to find a better solution!

  • Like ‘Learning by Teaching’, learning by interviewing.

    In the preparation, you need to consolidate your knowledge for the questions you are going to ask; you also need to prepare for the questions the candidate is going to ask.

    In the interview, you can learn from both your pair interviewer and the candidate.

    After the interview, you can learn from the retro by yourself or with your pair, or from the feedbacks from your pair and even the candidate.

  • You can also practise and excel your skills in the interview.

    There are lots of soft skills you can practise and improve: such as facilitation skills, communication skill and even summarization skill. The more you practise, the more expertise you will have.

  • Interview is also a propaganda.

    In the interview, you will demonstrate the culture of the company and the way of working. You are the window through which the candidate can know the company.

As above, interview is not a waste of time, but a medium for us to learn and improve at the mean time.

If we don’t think it’s a waste any more, how we can make it more efficient for our goals?

  • Personally speaking, I prepared my set of questions for the interview, so that I won’t take a lot effort in the questions themselves but focused on the candidates and their experience to dig out questions in depth, which can lead the answers more detailed, meaningful and knowledgeable.

  • Also, before interview, I will go through the candidate’s resume to mark all the key points, such as key roles, changes and something may lead to an in-depth question, and also write down my assumptions, so that I can validate in the interview.

  • In the interview, I will put myself into the candidate’s situation in their narratives, think about my own actions, compare them to the candidate’s and then figure the cause of difference and learn how to improve after the interview.

  • After interview, I will plan my actions to improve according to the summary I written down in the interview. I will also ask my pair to give me feedback.

Interview can be anything you want, according to how you see it. Don’t be a slave of interview, be the master of it!