Job interviews can be stressful for the potential hire and also for the interviewer, even if they may have conducted hundreds of job interviews in their career. The best job interviews are typically natural, low-key, and non-judgmental and can ultimately lead to the right fit for the job.

The key is for the interviewer to create a comfortable setting that puts potential employees at ease so they can answer the difficult questions that should be a part of any thorough interview.

So, here are eight tips to help you reach the goal of your company’s job interviews – good people who add value to your business.

1. Make sure you won’t be interrupted. Turn off the cell phone and the email announcement ding – focus on the interviewee and what he’s saying. Ask co-workers to hold telephone calls and avoid other interruptions. Filling that job opening with the best talent available should command your complete attention.

2. Come out from behind the desk. A desk sends a message, depending on what side you’re sitting on. If you’re behind the desk, you’re an imposing figure with an imposing desk. You’re established in the company and you hold the fate of each interviewee in your hands. Sit on the other side of the desk, and you’re nervously facing an “authority figure” who just may change your life. And you don’t know what to expect from behind the desk. So, eliminate the desk altogether. Ideally, get comfortable on office furniture, or find an empty conference room where you and interviewees are eye-to-eye without a large desk separating you.

3. Know the job description by heart. A good company is built on good job descriptions that define the work tasks of everyone from senior executives to the crew on the loading dock. Before you interview any candidates, read the job description. Then, read it again so you know the skills needed to meet the job requirements. If you don’t know who you’re looking for, anyone can fill the job. Know the job, know the skill set, know the corporate culture, the workplace hierarchy – know who you’re looking for before you start looking.

4. Know the candidate’s résumé. The résumé is a snapshot of the professional life of each candidate. Review it carefully. It’s often a good starting point for interview questions. For example, if you’re interviewing a candidate who’s worked for three different companies in the past five years, ask why there’s been so much job hopping. Ask candidates to expand on the bare-bones information contained in their résumés.

5. Facilitate the conversation. As the interviewer, you lead the discussion. When the candidate shows enthusiasm for a particular aspect of work, build on that. What does the candidate like best about her work? Does he have examples of how he cut costs in his previous job? Manage the interview, directing questions to interviewees based on what they say and how they say it. Note body language, hand gestures, facial expressions and other cues that help shape the direction taken by a good interviewer.

6. Recognize the feelings of the job candidate. She’s nervous. He’s anxious. They’re all tense in a stressful situation. It’s easy to make mistakes or say the wrong thing under this kind of duress, so excuse a mistake. Let the interviewee re-phrase their answer.

7. A job interview is a good give-and-take. It’s not an interrogation. It’s not a one-way street. A good interview is one in which both parties ask and answer questions. A good candidate is innately curious about your company, the job and how things work around the office. Good job candidates ask questions that indicate it’s not just about a paycheck. Good job candidates want to help and become part of your team, so encourage them to ask questions during the interview and give straightforward, transparent answers.

8. Ask the right questions. Asking the right questions delivers the most productive outcomes from a well-conducted job interview. Again, start with the candidate’s résumé and build out from there, asking each candidate to expand on their achievements. Also, ask questions that indicate how well each candidate thinks on his or her feet. Candidates expect to be asked, “What was your greatest accomplishment at your last job?” It’s a job interview standard. Here are some other questions that might reveal the best fit for the job:

o   What did you like about your best manager? What didn’t you like about your worst manager?

o   Why do you want to work here at XYZ Enterprises?

o   Do you work better independently or as a member of a team?

o   What’s the worst work experience you’ve had, and how did you deal with it?

o   How do you define “quality customer service?”

o   Other than work-related activities, how will you add value to XYZ Enterprises?

As the interviewer, you control the direction of the interview. Be prepared to follow a line of questioning based on the responses of each candidate. That’s how you conduct a great interview for the candidate and the company. And that’s how you find the right fit for any job.

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.