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How To Interview: Lessons From Journalism

Kirstie Kelly

Christina Katz recently published an article that talked about the proper way to conduct an interview and discussed the differing roles of interviewer and expert. Whilst the guidance was aimed at journalists and aspiring writers, the tips are equally applicable to recruiters and HR professionals. Below I explain why these journalistic rules apply to you, and how they can help you choose the right candidate from final interviews.

Writer, Katz, says to "think of yourself as a professional thief." She argues that, during an interview, you are stealing an expert’s time and ideas. When you are interviewing a candidate at the final round of selection you are doing the same thing. You are asking them to demonstrate the skills and experience that you want, with no promise of a return. As such you need to acknowledge the value of what the candidate is bringing to the interview. That way they will be more willing to expand upon their answers and provide you with a clearer picture of their suitability for the role.

Katz's guidelines also suggest that you should approach people formally, disclose that nature of the interview and provide the time and resources the interviewee needs to prepare. Again this applies to recruitment. Talented candidates should feel wanted, and should be given a reason to choose you as their employer. You therefore need to approach them with professionalism: provide them with the information they need so that they can give you what you need to make the right hiring decision.

Finally, Katz also suggests practicing interview techniques with friends and family in order to become familiar with the interview dynamic. This advice may seem more applicable to a candidate than a recruiter, but as the person asking the questions and guiding the interview, it is up to you to set the standard. Your preparation and practice will determine the quality of any face-to-face final interview.

Step outside of what you see as a conventional recruitment dynamic when planning and conducting final interviews with the most talented. Take a moment to think of yourself as a journalist and make even better hiring decisions.

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Kirstie Kelly

Kirstie is our resident expert in the field of recruitment and technology, having 23 years total experience in commercial business across a range of business sectors. As a result, she has been instrumental in ensuring the innovative technology provided at LaunchPad is relevant for our customers. Kirstie's passion is all about finding creative solutions to recruitment challenges. And no better way than with technology!