What You Need to Know: Running a Job Interview



March 8, 2023

 It’s no easy task to run a job interview, and even though candidates are scarce in the current market, you still need to identify that your applicant is:


·     Qualified for the role

·     Keen about the position

·     Likely to fit in with the company culture


It can be difficult to know what to ask when you’re interviewing, so we’ve constructed a guide to keep you feeling cool, calm and collected when the time comes.


And remember, despite the current candidate shortage, the best long-term strategy is to only recruit top-quality candidates for your business.


Give the Candidate a Clear Indication of What’s to Come


So, you’ve whittled down your list of applicants to a select chosen few, now it’s time to establish a strong line of communication.  This will make it easier to arrange interviews and ensure open communication between your business and your potential new hires.  


Don’t forget that your interviewees could be very nervous when you meet them. By outlining a clear interview process, you can settle some of the nerves and make them feel more at ease.  


Here’s a list of what information you might want to include when communicating with your candidates:


·     If they need to prepare anything in advance -for example, a presentation

·     If you will be asking competency-based questions during the interview

·     How long the interview is expected to last

·     Whether the interview will be one-on-one or with multiple interviewers

·     If the interview will be individual or part of a group

·     Will your company cover any costs associated with the process or provide lunch?


Conduct a Detailed Review of Your Applicants’ CVs


You’ve established contact with your candidates and arranged your interviews - now it’s time to really get the ball rolling.


While you might think you only need to glance at a candidate’s CV, remember that the hiring process is a two-way street. It’s important to make a good impression on your potential hires by making them feel you’ve taken the time to read through their CV.  


You don’t want them to feel the interview has been a waste of time because they could end up bad-mouthing your company or leaving negative reviews online. Your company’s reputation is important and bad reviews could deter other candidates from applying to your business in future.


It’s best practice to make some notes and bring a copy of the candidate’s CV to the interview. When you have a copy of the candidate’s CV in front of you during a job interview, you look more prepared and you’re more easily able to reference their relevant experience.


It’s also a handy prop to stop the common bad habit of fiddling with your hands!


Prepare a List of Questions You Want to Ask the Candidate


After you’ve digested the information on the candidate's CV, you’ll have a good idea of the candidate you’re going to meet. Hopefully, this also means you’ll have some questions you want to ask them.


If you’re really struggling to think of some, we’ve compiled a list of great interview questions asked by top CEOs and hiring experts which you can access here.


However, we highly recommend tailoring some of your questions, so they are specific to the experience of your candidate. Being able to talk about their experience should put them at ease. It will also aid you in the process of working out how their past position has prepared them for a potential future at your organisation.  


It’s best practice to base your interview questions on the current criteria for the position. For example, if you’re hiring for a position in sales, the candidate will likely need to be resilient. A question you could ask to learn more about this attribute is, ‘could you tell me about a time that you overcame an obstacle in the workplace?’


Use Your Team to Help You Hire Well


Even if you’ve done lots of research and preparation, leading multiple job interviews can take hours and there’s a risk you’ll begin to feel more fatigued than the candidates!  


One way you can overcome this is by rallying some colleagues to give you a helping hand. Ideally, you don’t want more than three people on your hiring panel: you, a senior member of HR or a manager and a recruiter. The interview could become chaotic with more than three people, and it might also be overly daunting for the interviewee.  


Having colleagues with you could also help to speed up the decision-making process and bring clarity to any uncertainty you have. While you want to bear in mind the criteria you’re looking for in a great candidate, a democratic vote can be a much healthier way forward when deciding the outcome of a job interview.  





Trying to Sell the Business


We don’t literally mean sell your company!


By this stage, you’ve asked all the right questions and formed an impression of which interviewees would make a suitable fit. At the end of the interview, its worth allocating some time to talk about the perks and benefits of working for your company.


Ask the candidate if there’s any other information they’d like on the business, and if you feel you have a rapport, why not make the process more informal and fun for them? Offer them a walking tour, introduce them to your team members and managers, go for a coffee and do whatever it takes so that you’ll leave a great lasting impression!  


Thing Not to Forget When Interviewing


It’s really important that you follow up with every candidate you interview.


It’s terrible etiquette to leave a candidate waiting to hear back from an interview – worst case scenario: it results in a job offer not being accepted - which is a waste of your time and resources.


As mentioned above, you should communicate often with your candidates and keep them updated with the decision-making process.  


It’s imperative that somebody from the hiring process responds to every candidate interviewed, even if they weren’t successful. If you are giving the bad news personally, ensure you’re prepared before you get in contact as they’ll likely be disappointed and might want an explanation - especially if they believe the interview was a success. Constructive criticism is hard to give sometimes but is often invaluable in the long run.  


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