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The interview process can be just as stressful for recruiters as it is for job candidates. A great deal of preparation is required prior to meeting with applicants for face-to-face interviews. Whether you are looking to hire one employee or several, one of the most crucial parts of the interview process is determining if the candidates you meet have the right skill set and are a good fit for your business culture. Here are some strategies hiring managers should employ to make the interview process as efficient as possible.

1. Be specific.
Determine your needs up front by being as specific as possible when detailing the qualifications of candidates. The more precise your job description, the higher chance of pinpointing individuals with the right skills and cultural fit for the business. Before you participate in any interviews, discuss qualifications with hiring managers and direct reports. This way, you will spend less time focusing on unqualified candidates, and more on those that meet exact job requirements.

2. Pre-screen. Make sure that you have closely read the candidate’s resume, and draft both standardized and customized questions to ask during the interview. Just like candidates need to prepare for meetings with you, you should be just as prepared. This will help narrow down to the right, final candidates even further.

3. You are in control. That means you control the tone, tempo, and mindset of the interview. Put the interviewee at ease as much as possible so that you can better gauge work details and personalities. The more comfortable the candidate, the more they will reveal about themselves. Give them some time to tell you firsthand about their accomplishments. Take note of how they present themselves, their tone, body language, and word choice. Do they seem confident and relaxed, or timid and nervous? Control the pace of the interview by asking questions and allotting time for their responses.

4. Take notes Since you will most likely interview more than one candidate for a single position, it’s recommended that you write a brief evaluation for each. This will enable you to recall details later. Note strengths and weaknesses you observed. After you have interviewed all candidates, you can then compare your evaluations with your peers to assess the best fit the position.

5. Be patient. The recruiting process may take some time and energy; however, a little preparation can mean the difference between wasting time or finding and hiring the right people now.

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