The purpose of a job interview is to learn as much as you can about the candidate’s cultural and job fit for the open position. This involves uncovering much more than their skill level. It involves assessing their attitude, predicting their behavior on the job and evaluating how likely they are to work well with their new boss, team and the organizational culture as a whole…a lot to learn in a short time.
Interviewing skills training authorities advise that you focus more on the candidate’s “soft” side as the experts feel that the job’s technical skills can be more easily taught and managed than the attitudes and behaviors that go against the cultural norms required to succeed.
Try asking truly open-ended questions that push the interviewee to come up with unrehearsed responses. How do you like to spend your free time? What is really important to you? Such questions will give you clues as to what motivates the candidate, whether they prefer to work alone or with others, how they view the world, etc. Treat the interview more like a conversation where you are sitting on the same side of the table.
The more relaxed the interviewee, the more they will open up about the things that matter most.