Over the last few years, I've conducted lots of interviews as I've built up a development team at my employers. I've learned a great deal so here are my top tips for people on both sides of the fence.
First off CV's which are 8 pages long containing the encyclopaedia of candidate x are binned. Employers don't want your memoirs. Same for those which read like a 6 year old wrote them, it's an important document so proof read it!
I prefer 1-2 pages and any longer than that are usually binned.
Interviews go both ways, not everyone wants the job after hearing about it so you have to be straightforward about what it entails but sell it just as the candidate is selling themselves.
Always remember that it is a much bigger change for the candidate to change jobs than it is for the employer to hire them so behave accordingly. An interviewer should listen closely to what the candidate is telling them they want out of a job.
Candidates can be nervous, interviewers need to put them at ease otherwise it gets in the way of a good interview. A way to relax a candidate into the interview is to find out what they enjoy about their job and the things they've worked on, it's home turf for them and easy to chat about.
An interviewer wants candidates to be open and honest about the things they don't know if asked rather than try and guess. Every new job involves learning some things so it's expected.
Know the job spec
If the spec says a skill or experience is required for the role and it's on the CV, the candidate should be able to chat about it with confidence. Putting skills on a CV that a candidate has only heard about, seen once or twice or has been using for a few weeks or is not a skill they yet possess and is an instant interview fail.
Putting (Expert) on your CV
If I see the word expert against a skill in a CV, the candidate should be able to display an astounding depth of knowledge about it! Experts tend to be truly rare creatures. Vague, basic or 'I don't know' answers on expert topics typically end an interview.
Research the potential employer
If a candidate doesn't check out an employer website to learn about them and decide if they want the job, they aren't that interested. Neither is this interviewer in hiring them.
If a candidate can't communicate their thoughts clearly they are unlikely to be offered the job, regardless of talent.This is why it is so important to put candidates at ease early on as nervousness tends to ruin communication.
It is up to the interviewer to try and get a sense of how a candidate would work in a team of people and the culture within a company. What kind of environment does the candidate want to work in and does it match with the employers?
Skills matter. Does the candidate display an interest in their career or is it just a way to make money. I prefer the former as do most interviewers because...
The ultimate goal when interviewing, at least for myself, is to try and find the candidate who would enjoy working with you for years to come.
The ones who get offered the job are normally a pleasure to interview, it's like having a pleasant Q&A on both sides.
We spend a lot of time at work and life is just better when you are lucky enough to work in a place where the job is satisfying and you're happy.