Conducting interviews successfully

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The key to a good interview is a clear structure. Having a clear framework for interviewing will ensure that no questions are left unanswered and that you have a fluid, but structured conversation.

It will also ensure you come across to the candidate as credible and professional. It's advisable to split your interview into three distinct areas: an introduction, core questions and then a conclusion.


1. Setting the scene

A good interview starts with a good introduction. In this part of the interview you're aiming to relax the candidate (so you get better answers later), may be relax yourself if you're unaccustomed to interviewing, as well as setting the scene for what will follow and what you intend to cover.

You might want to start by looking for areas of common ground between you and the candidate. A good place to start would be their interests. Hopefully not only will the candidate relax, but you will also get a chance to see their personality.

It's also useful at this stage to give the candidate an insight into the company, its history and the future, as well as your background and how you fit into the company.

2. Core questions

This is where you ask the candidate to run through their CV in detail asking open ended questions on their relevant work experience. For example:

  • Describe a typical working day
  • Tell me about your greatest achievement at work
  • How would your coworkers at your current job describe your interaction with them
  • Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a major obstacle. How did you approach the situation?
  • What prompted you to apply to this job?
  • Why are you leaving your current employer?
  • Describe the work environment in which you will most effectively be able to contribute

3. Wrapping up the interview

This is the time to encourage the candidate to ask questions, giving you a last opportunity to sell your role and organisation. At this stage it's worth letting the candidate know the steps in the recruitment process and timelines you're working to. If you feel the interview has gone well and you like the candidate it may be worth reconfirming their pay and notice period and ask the candidate if they have any questions or reservations about the role. Finally ask them to call their recruitment consultant with their feedback once they have collected their thoughts.

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