Conducting an interview

The interview stage is often considered one of the most important stages of the recruitment process. It provides interviewers with the opportunity to meet face to face with candidates so they can evaluate their skills, experience and qualities to see if they are a good fit for the role. Seeing as the interview stage is so vital to the process of hiring an employee, it is important that it is efficient and is conducted in a way that ensures you hire the right employee first time, every time. Here we will share some tips and hints that will help you conduct successful interviews.

Types of interviews
First you need to decide on the type of interview you are going to conduct. What works best for you? What fits in with your company and the role advertised? Some interviewers prefer more informal interviews, as it gives them the chance to chat to the candidates and really get to know them. Others prefer formal, structured interviews where they ask a set list of questions, often these interviews are considered more effective as they facilitate a fairer review process. Either way, it is important that you assess the qualifications, skills, experience and personal traits of the interviewees throughout the interviews

Preparing for the interview
No matter what type of interview you are conducting, it is a good idea to create a set of questions. When writing your questions, think about what answers you are looking to get from candidates. It is important that you ask open-ended questions that require employees to provide example and specific details in their answers. Try avoiding asking questions where they could answer with a simple yes or no. Many employers find it useful to ask behavioural questions during the interview process, as these tend to reveal whether a candidate would fit in well with the company’s existing culture.

When writing your interview questions, it is also worth considering what you can and cannot ask. For example, you cannot ask direct questions about family, marital status, age, religion or political affiliation on the grounds of discrimination.


a curriculum Vitae photograph

Check through candidates’ CVs prior to the interview and highlight anything you want to ask them about.
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Researching candidates
Although you will have already looked through candidates’ CVs, having shortlisted them for the interview stage, it is worth looking through them again prior to the interviews taking place. You may also want to consider searching for them online and maybe even checking their social media pages. This will help you to find out as much information about them as possible. Remember you would not expect a candidate to arrive at your interview without doing research about your company and the same should be expected of yourself.

Make notes
Whilst preparing to conduct interviews, you will also need to think about the possible questions that candidates may ask you, so you can deliver good answers. It may be worth jotting down a few bullet points to assist you with your answers.


Thanks for the interview

It is polite to formally greet the candidate and introduce yourself at the beginning of an interview.
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Conducting the interview
At the beginning of the interview, make sure you introduce yourself, your job role and talk a little bit about the company and role advertised. You will then need to set the tone of the interview. Give applicants an idea of what they can expect during the course of the interview. For example you may want to provide them with a little indication of the types of questions you will be asking or whether they will be required to do any tests.

Questioning candidates
Start off by asking general questions about the candidate’s background, their education and why they are interested in the position. This will get them talking about themselves in relation to the job. You may also want to consider asking candidates about specific positions mentioned on their CVs, such as their responsibilities and what they accomplished. This will help you to see if they have relevant skills and experience that could add value to your company.

Body language
Throughout the interview it is important to maintain good eye contact with candidates and be aware of their body language. Often you will find that their body language reveals much more about them than the words they are speaking. You may want to read up on body language before conducting the interview, to gain a better understanding of the tell tale signs and signals related to specific behaviours.

Develop rapport with candidates
Job interviews can be nerve wracking, stressful experiences. As the interviewer you should make it your job to make candidates feel as comfortable and at ease as possible, even if you are conducting a formal interview. Doing this will help them to relax and may encourage them to give better answers.

Document answers
There is nothing wrong with making notes throughout the interview process - in fact it is greatly encouraged. Documenting candidates’ answers will give you something to review later. You may even need to score answers if you are conducting a structured, competency-based interview.

Allow candidates to ask questions
At the end of every interview, you should always ask the candidate if they have any questions. This is their chance to prove to you that they have researched your company and will also show if they are genuinely interested in the job. Answer questions as best you can, as remember employees will be evaluating you and the company, just as much as you are evaluating them.

Conducting interviews can be quite challenging, especially if you are new to it. The best thing to do is to make sure that you are well prepared. There are also plenty of training courses you can go on to help you strengthen your interviewing skills. Keep the tips mentioned in this article in mind and you should be on your way to conducting successful interviews that facilitate your need to recruit the right candidate for the job first time round.

Image credits: the Italian voice & reynermedia

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