Top 5 Tips to Conducting a Successful Interview

Interviewing is an art and a skill. It is a skill that tends to be cascaded down from one manager to the next and there is often the risk of not just passing on good habits but the poor ones too. There are managers that really enjoy the process of interviewing someone new for their team and others find it a chore or an interruption to business as usual.

Whatever your feelings about the process it is inevitable as a manager you will need to interview at some point and it is worth developing good skills to ensure you firstly, hire the best candidate for the job, the department and the company and secondly, do it right first time in order to protect the business against financial, legal or reputational risks.

Prepare questions in advance
This is perhaps common sense to prepare the questions in advance. However, we all know managers that simply walk into an interview and ask random questions off the top of their heads.
This casual style of interviewing is not likely to gather relevant or quality information and it is not a consistent approach when interviewing a number of candidates. The questions need to be well thought through and with the main purpose of assessing the candidate’s ability and capability to do the job.

Gather information and observe
Another important approach to interviewing is to focus on gathering information and observing behaviours. However, it is easy to start making judgements during the interview and assessing the information.

Try to focus only on gathering as much quality information as you can. Listen carefully to the answers provided by the candidate and actively probe for additional information to ensure you have a clear understanding of what and how they have handled certain situations and scenarios.

Time management
Considering the average interview last about an hour (more or less) it is essential you first plan the format and take control of the time. The more confident candidates are likely to take control if you allow them and it could be difficult to gain back that lost time.

As an interviewer you will need to very carefully set the expectations and ensure the candidates know what needs to be covered during the interview and the maximum time available.

Take comprehensive notes
It is especially important to take comprehensive notes if you are interviewing a number of candidates over a period of time. The longer the time between interviews the more information you will forget and it will make it incredibly difficult to remember the details and then objectively and fairly compare one candidate with another.

Be very careful taking notes as candidates have the right to request a copy. Only write down what information is being shared. Do not write down your opinions about the candidate or any judgement about the answer.

Build rapport
There is a lot going on in a face-to-face interview. You are asking questions, listening to the answers, asking relevant follow up or probing questions, keeping eye contact at the same time as taking detailed notes and not to mention observing non-verbal body language, observing gestures, posture and tone of voice.

The interviewer is likely to be the first person the candidate (potential employee) meets and it is not only important the candidate makes a good impression, it is critical for the employer’s reputation and brand that the interviewer understands they represent the face of the company.

Careerz Limited, based in Canterbury, offer specialist recruitment services across Kent, London and the South East.

For further information, please call John Adams on 01227 656 888 or or 0208 0990 888 or visit

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