Hiring for Biostatistician Jobs? Here’s How to Be a Great Interviewer

9 Tips to Help You Interview Effectively

Interviewing candidates for biostatistician jobs is not an easy process. Your goal is to learn more about the candidate beyond their resume, while simultaneously motivating the candidate to want to join you.

Even the most advanced interviewers can deliver a poor interview experience, which can be disastrous to your hiring ambitions. In a Global Talent Trends Survey, LinkedIn found that an incredible 83% of respondents said a negative interview experience can make them change their mind about a job or employer that they were considering.

Equally as bad, a CareerArc study found that 72% of candidates who had a bad experience would tell others about it, either in person or online.

Poor interview technique is most commonly because the hiring manager has not been trained to interview effectively. These tips will help you conduct interviews that achieve your goals.

1.    Prepare Well

Take the time to do your revision. Read the candidate’s resume and ensure that you follow a structure that is consistent across all your candidates. Prepare questions that you need to ask to assess the candidate’s skills, experience, and personality.

2.    Understand Your Must-Haves

It is very unlikely that all candidates will possess all the qualifications and experiences that you listed on the job description. Before embarking on your interviews, decide which are must-haves and which are nice-to-haves.

You should also consider what type of personality you expect the candidate to have. Will they need to be engaging and extrovert as part of their team, or introverted problem solvers? Which is preferable for the role and the area in which they will be employed?

3.    Create a Consistent Scorecard – And Stick to It

Decide how you are going to assess your candidates and what ‘scoring’ mechanism you will employ. The more objectivity you can include in your interviewing and scoring, the more likely you will be to avoid any unconscious bias that may swing your decision.

On your scorecard, make sure there is space for you to write notes that you may refer to later in the interview debrief.

4.    Have Follow-Up Questions Prepared

A good interview will flow like a conversation, but sometimes you must probe for more information. Therefore, it is wise to have follow-up questions prepared that you can ask to encourage the answers you need to solicit. These follow-up questions will help you determine a candidate’s thought process and personality.

5.    Deliver an Interview Test

Another effective questioning technique to help you understand a candidate’s ability is to provide a test that puts them in a hypothetical but realistic situation in which they must deliver an outcome that you would expect of them in the course of their work for you.

For example, you may provide a dataset and ask the candidate to prepare a simple report that can be shared to explain the statistical analysis.

4 Communication Tips to Improve Your Interview Technique

Remember, your interviewee is likely to be nervous whatever their seniority. It may be that the candidate has not interviewed for some years. For entry-level biostatistician jobs, the candidate may never have had a serious job interview.

Here are four tips to help you put the candidate at ease and experience a more satisfying interview.

1.     Break the Ice

Be welcoming, warm, and friendly. Whatever you do, don’t launch straight into the questions you have prepared to test the candidate’s skills and experience. Spend the first few minutes on introductions and asking questions that are designed to ease the candidate into the interview properly. These may include questions such as:

  • ‘How was your journey here?’
  • ‘Where do you live?’
  • ‘We’ve scheduled this interview for X minutes. Is this okay with you?’
  • ‘Before we get started, what do you enjoy doing outside of work?’

Keep these questions professional but personal. One of the best ways to get people to relax is to get them talking about themselves. From this, you can use information you gather to promote a conversation that helps to reduce interview nerves; for example, “Oh, so that’s where you live. It’s a long time since I’ve been there. Tell me, is ‘abc’ still there?”

2.     Practice Interviewee Matching

Another great technique to help put candidates at ease is to practice interviewee matching. Effectively, this is mirroring the candidate’s energy, and verbal and nonverbal language. This helps to reassure them that you are fully engaged with them.

A word of warning, though: when employing this technique, never overdo it. You don’t want it to appear as you are mimicking the candidate or, worse, being condescending toward them.

3.     Be an Active Listener

The most highly-skilled interviewers are incredible listeners. They assess content and tone of a conversation, and note the body language displayed by the candidate. They demonstrate their deep listening by asking appropriate follow-up questions – which are likely to be away from your list of prepared questions (and hence the room for plenty of notes).

Your ability to listen actively will help you form an accurate impression of the candidate, and judge when to move from one subject to another.

4.     Know When to Pause

Knowing when to pause is another great interview technique. Gaps must be filled, and a few seconds of empty space will often prompt the candidate into sharing more information. Perfect for when you think they are holding back on you.

Remember, the Candidate Is Assessing You, Too

While we often think of interviews as being for the benefit of the interviewer, the best candidates also use them to assess you – as a hiring manager and as an employing company. Therefore, treat your candidate how you expect them to treat you:

  • Turn up on time
  • Be courteous
  • Turn off your cell phone, and don’t check your emails
  • Show interest in what the candidate is saying, and answer their questions with enthusiasm
  • Interact positively, with the candidate and your colleagues

Being a great interviewer is not a natural talent. It is a learned skill. Putting these interview tips into practice will help you be the interviewer who mines the information needed to identify the perfect hire for your biostatistician jobs.

To find the talent you need for your biostatistician jobs and help to deliver an unrivalled candidate experience, contact SimulStat today.