How to Conduct a Good Interview

There is a lot of advice out there for people going to that all-important job interview, but what about the people sitting on the other side of the table? For those of you in the know, the recruitment process can be complex and sometimes even stressful. This post seeks to advise the interviewers themselves and help them create a smooth and stress-free interview process.

The interview process can differ according to the requirements of the advertised job. However, here are some generic key points that should help you set up the initial stages of an interview.

  • Confirm who the candidate will be meeting at the interview stage and what their job title is.
  • Confirm and book the area/room where interview will be held.
  • Notify the recruitment consultant if anything additional is required, i.e. a portfolio or samples of work.

When I was recently working with one client, I asked him about his interview planning. He said he prepares his interview structure around a three part process; YOU, ME & US.

This is quite a simple breakdown but it meets the essential requirements:

 1. Getting to know the candidate as a possible employee – what they can bring to the table with relevant experience and skill sets.

 2. Talking about your organisation (if you will be working directly with the candidate) and how the candidate will fit into the structure of the company.

 3. Considering the collaboration between the candidate and the company – How will you work together? Do your personalities complement each other? What are your expectations for the candidate? What is the job specification and company profile? How will you make the project succeed?

A good interviewer engages the candidate. This can be done in several ways:

  • Prepare your questions around the interview.
  • Ensure your questions are open, i.e. starting with How, Why, When, Where and What?
  • Ask interesting questions and ask what they are passionate about – this helps the person to open up and express their personality.
  • Ask them about difficult situations and how they overcome the challenges they faced. This highlights their competency in dealing with confrontation and fire-fighting and whether they will walk away from specific situations or not.

Clients should avoid asking questions relating to:

Age, gender, sexual orientation, relationship status, disability, colour, ethnic origins, nationality, religion, political briefs, family responsibilities, gender re-assignment and/or spent convictions.

Under the Equal Opportunities and Discriminations Act, requesting this information is not allowed in an interview.

What if the candidate is clearly wrong for the job?

This issue can be dealt with in various ways according to your personality and/or ability to confront a difficult or awkward situation. If you can see that they are not right for the job, inform the candidate that they do not meet the job requirements and clearly explain why, e.g. they do not have enough experience. Be polite but firm on your decision. Always see the interview through to completion, even if you think early on that the candidate is unsuitable, as your impression of the candidate may improve after further questioning.

This will not only help the candidate understand how to improve their skills/experience for the future, but will also help you to identify and define the experience, skill set and personality you are looking for and even if the initial brief perhaps needs to be reviewed and pushed in a new direction.

Interviewing can be tough, but with the right questioning techniques, good preparation and by outlining your expectations to the recruitment consultant – it can only succeed. Good luck!