How to conduct an effective interview

Recruiting the right people is critical to the success of any company. Conducting an effective interview will allow you to determine if an applicant has the right skills, knowledge and abilities to perform the job successfully, as well as uncover if their attitude, motivations and values will see them thrive within the company. Follow these tips to ensure your next job interview is conducted successfully:

Preparing for the interview

To conduct a meaningful job interview, preparation is crucial. Read through the applicant’s CV thoroughly, noting down any questions that will help you draw out more information about their personal qualities and professional skills. Often employers also “google” their candidates or browse through their social media profiles to get a first impression. Think about how you will highlight the benefits of your company and the position on offer. Reserve an appropriate space to hold the interview, ensuring it is comfortable and free of distractions. Provide the applicant’s CV to any colleagues that will be attending the interview, as well as the list of questions you intend to ask. Do you have an online interview? Make sure you are in a quiet room, preferably with a neutral background. Check in advance that the connection is working properly.

Also read: running your recruitment process remotely

Composing interview questions

When conducting job interviews, behavioural-based questions are an effective way to identify if your applicant has the specific skills and traits required to successfully perform the job. The technique is based on past behaviour being the best indicator of future performance. Referring to the job description, write down the key characteristics, knowledge, behaviours and abilities needed for the role. Next, compose a list of questions that ask the applicant to explain how they demonstrated these attributes in the past, citing specific examples.

  • What was your specific task during this collaboration? (Task)
  • How did you approach this task? (Action)
  • What was the result of this approach? (Result)
  • Were you satisfied with the result? (Reflection)

Also read : spot the best talent with behavioural-based interviewing

Conducting the interview

Begin the interview by introducing yourself and any other attendees. Explain the format of the interview, and offer a brief overview of your company, including its core business, size, financial position, growth plans and culture. Provide an engaging description of the role on offer, including upcoming project work and career progression opportunities.

When conducting the interview, listen carefully to the responses and take notes for future reference. Be aware of attempts to evade questions, and probe deeper if required. Paying careful attention to the applicant’s personal style, attitude and values will also help you to form a balanced opinion of their suitability.

Concluding the interview

Conclude the interview by asking the applicant if they have any questions about the role or company. This is a good way to test if they have thought through the position, researched the company and listened during the interview process. Thank the applicant for his/her time and interest, and inform them when they are likely to find out the decision. Try to summarise your notes as soon as the applicant leaves. This will ensure your impression of their personality, skills and abilities is fresh in your mind and can be used to make a decision after you have met with other applicants.

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