Wanted: Interviewer Tips

Here’s a question to which I’d really like responses:

In your experience, what are the qualities of a good interviewer?

The Arts Co-op office offers students mock interview sessions prior to students’ real ones and I had the opportunity to conduct my first full-length one yesterday. This was a little different to the mandatory mock interviews I did with new co-op students back in January and February, and even quite different to the real ones I held for Speakeasy last summer.

The mandatory mock interviews for new co-op students this year were short: 30 minutes max, including time for feedback. This gave time for about three questions — a taster interview, if you will. From my perspective, it’s really about equipping students to handle standard interview questions that come up.

However, the full-length mock interview is longer (60 minutes max with feedback) and targeted specifically towards whatever job a student is interviewing for. This means compiling a list of targeted questions that I think might come up in an interview and trying to mimic the real thing as much as possible.

Although full-length interviews weren’t part of my original job description, I’m surprised at how comfortable I felt and would like to do more in my remaining two months. I want to refine my interviewing skills and go from capable to excellent.

Based on your experience:

  • What qualities do you appreciate in your interviewer(s)?
  • What do you think an interviewer can do to make for a good interview experience?
  • Is it important to keep applicants on their toes, to keep questions fairly straightforward with only a couple of curveballs, or to mix it up a bit?
  • How does an interviewer get someone to give well thought out answers without asking leading questions that hand the answers on a golden platter, or should all questions be transparent anyway?
  • How often should the interviewer smile?

This last point is especially consuming! When interviewing for Speakeasy last summer, I started out being my cheerful self attempting to set people at ease, then heard from a government employee that it’s best to keep your face fairly neutral and tried that. ‘Tried’ is the operative word here, as not smiling felt downright unfriendly to me.

So now, of course, I do what all people end up doing at one point or another by compromising. Half the time I smile and the other half I grimace. It’s very attractive, I assure you.

5 responses to “Wanted: Interviewer Tips