As the interviewer, preparing for the interview is just as important as for the candidates. You are investing an hour of your precious time to make a very important decision.
There are two stages to the preparation, the general preparation and the individual preparation. Do the first one right and the second is much easier.
Obviously everyone wants the perfect candidate, but by prioritising and working out in your own mind where the flexibility is, you will give all the candidates a fair chance rather than being more lenient on the latter candidates after being disappointed by the first few.
Now craft 3-4 questions to address the areas you want to probe. For example if you want to know about staff management then something like:
“What, as a manager, are you most proud of?” or the more challenging “Please give me an example of where you have had to manage a particularly difficult team member?” Both are open questions that give the candidates the opportunity to sell themselves.
You are looking out for what they did, how they did it and why they did it? Be prepared to probe on these points, asking “how” and “why” in response to their answers.
Once you have your basic questions and are satisfied that they will give you the necessary insight into the candidate’s abilities in the key areas of the role, then review the CVs.
Here you are looking for areas of strength and weakness, or even anomalies. Mark the CV referencing whichever question it pertains to and prepare a follow on question to dig deeper.
Check LinkedIn to see if they have been endorsed for the skills you are looking for, check Facebook to see if they come across as a balanced individual.
Once you have your questions and notes on the applicants you are ready to go.
It is important to make notes even if you have a fantastic memory. You may get called away or be doing back-to-back interviews so relying on memory alone is risky. If there is a key reason to reject them, write it down as it occurs to you. If you are going to invite them back but have a concern, note that too. Anything to make giving feedback simpler and fairer.
As the old adage says, Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.