Giving a consistent and high quality candidate experience is impotant in getting reliable information from candidates, and for promoting your company as an oustanding place to work. There are a few things to be aware of to successfully conduct an interview.
Put the Candidate at Ease
Oftentimes a job interview is stressful for the candidate. It is more difficult to get answers that will get to the core of job performance with a stressed candidate. Start with some talk. Tell them a little bit about the types of questions you are going to ask. Start with an easy question that allows the candidate to shine. Let the candidate know you've silenced your phone and you'll have some focused time together. A relaxed candidate will be more open and candid, which will give you a better picture of their ability to do the job.
Give the candidate your full attention
Set aside your cell phone. Turn off the notifications on your computer. If you aren't giving the candidate your full attention, you'll miss important parts of what they say and they'll notice. The candidate is taking time out of their day to get seriously considered. Respect them and their time.
This may seem to contradict giving the candidate your full attention, but I think with practice you'll find that taking notes allows you to increase your focus on what is being said. Don't write your judgements in your notes. Just write as much as you can verbatim what the candidate says.
You've put the candidate at ease. They are opening up. Let them. Don't argue. Actively listen and be empathetic. There is plenty of time to judge later. During the interview you want to learn as much as possible. This is no time to show off how smart you are.
Use a positive tone of voice and body language
When you ask follow up questions, if they are asked in the wrong tone they can be percieved as judgemental. This won't lead to an open dialogue. Follow up questions are important. For many questions you'll be asking about the candidate's prior experiences. You'll want to understand as much as you can about the situation, how the candidate reacted to the situation, the result of the candidates actions, and lessons learned. Getting all that will require lots of follow up questions. Be conscientious of your tone to promote an open dialogue.
Leave time for the candidate's questions
Recruiting great candidates is hard. They'll be picky about where they choose to work, and they will want the perspective of the interviewers. Leave time for them to learn about the role and the company. Their questions can also be telling about their fit with the role.
Conducting interviews can be challenging but it is manageable if you are prepared. It is easy to think it is okay to wing it. It is easy to underestimate the importance of having a good process. The people you choose to work with are among the most important decisions you'll make.