Strip 001

How to conduct an effective interview

Until you meet a candidate for the first time, it’s impossible to gauge who they are and what benefit they could bring to your business. During an interview, you have the opportunity to really explore their ability, background and personality – but only if you prepare well and structure the session for maximum benefit.

With a potentially high volume of applicants to speak to, and a full day of interviewing to get through, remaining focused can be challenging. We can work with you to support you ahead of interview days, to ensure that your questions are tailored to what you really need to know, and will elicit genuine and insightful responses. We’ve included some guidance below, which may help you if you are not experienced as an interviewer:

Before the interview

  1. Who do you want for the role? Review the job description and the skill set you need, and formulate the ideal candidate in your head. What skills, experience and character traits will they need to carry out these responsibilities and tasks?
  2. What do you want to know? Prepare a set of standard questions relating to how a candidate can fulfill expected responsibilities, and how they would react in certain relevant situations. Then make sure you ask these of every candidate so you can compare later on.
  3. How are you going to measure the candidates? Prepare a list of criteria that you can fill out during the interview, to compare applicants to one another. Mark which points are key priorities for you.
  4. How much time are you going to need? Set realistic interview slots, to allow enough time for the actual interview and for a debrief with colleagues afterwards.
  5. Who are you meeting? Review your interviewee’s CV and familiarise yourself with their background. Does this elicit any additional questions? Which areas of their CV are you particularly interested in?

During the interview

  1. Don’t interview alone. Ideally, bring a colleague or partner into the room who can act as another pair of ears and eyes during the interview. Using the same success criteria, they may notice answers or behavioural traits that escaped you.
  2. Introduce yourself. Break the ice with a short overview of the company and a review of the job role and specification. Before beginning, you may wish to ask the candidate what they know about your business – which will enable you to find out how much research they’ve really done.
  3. Ask open-ended questions. Alongside your prepared standard questions, ask candidates to elaborate and expand upon their points in order to open up a discussion.
  4. Listen. The general rule is to apply a 20/80 split – and as the interviewer, you should only be talking 20% of the time. You need to get to know the candidate. Show a genuine interest in what they are saying.
  5. Take notes. Using your prepared success criteria, mark points where you feel the candidate responded particularly positively – or the opposite. Explain to interviewees that you will be taking notes throughout the interview in order to put them at ease. Note responses to questions in addition to body language and general countenance.

After the interview

  1. Thank the interviewee for their time and explain what will happen next in terms of contacting them. Provide a realistic timeframe for them to expect a response, and manage their expectations in terms of other candidates and the competitive nature of the industry.
  2. Evaluate each candidate immediately after they leave and whilst they are still fresh in your mind. Compare your success criteria with your colleague’s and rate each applicant out of ten. With our experience of the industry, we can also support you with the decision-making process.
  3. Take a day to think about it. Return to business as usual, but whilst going about your day, consider how your favorite interviewees would fit into the company culture and work alongside other members of staff. The decision to recruit is an important one and should not be rushed.
  4. Have a back-up plan. Unexpected events can occur, and your ideal candidate may be unable to accept your job offer. Shortlist your second choices, or talk to us to find out how we can help you source some additional applicants.

Contact Details

Essex: 0203 2430077
Heathrow: 01784 450 111
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.