Useful Tips for Employers When Interviewing Candidates

Interviewing candidates does not need to be complicated. You are meeting to evaluate experience, assess behaviour desired by the organisation, and add a member that can contribute.

  1. Prepare for the interview. This means reading the CV, and preparing questions in advance to evaluate experience and desired behaviour. Review the job description and develop questions based on the competencies you identify. Although questions for clarification can be asked, standardisation of the questions is important so that you can evaluate all candidates fairly.

  2. Build rapport. Why is it important to make the candidate comfortable in the interview? Because you want them to open up and tell you what they know. If they are nervous, uncomfortable, and do not trust you, then you are not going to get the true essence of the candidate you are trying to evaluate. Everyone needs to reach a certain comfort level and your job is to ensure that it is reached before you start the interview.

  3. Tell them about your company and job first. Ask them what they know about the company and the role, then add any missing information to ensure clarity and full understanding. Then, start your questions.

  4. Start easy and build up. Ask them to take a minute and introduce themselves. Body language is important, ensure that you are listening and acknowledge what is being said. Be sure to cover all your questions in the allotted time, and respect the time and set agenda.

  5. Questions asked can be open or close-ended.Focus on past experience, get examples of work done and probe. Ask questions that start with, how, when, where, why? Would you do anything differently? Ideally, try to listen and clarify 80% of the time, speak by providing information only 20% of the time.

  6. Remain in control of the interview. While you are doing most of the listening, that does not mean that the candidate can talk about whatever they want. You must remain in control and ensure that what you need to evaluate is being discussed. You can say things like, I am going to interrupt you, because I would like to hear more about X. Can you tell me about your experience in that area?

  7. Try to keep your emotions, biases and prejudgements in check. You are there to evaluate and assesses. If you can do that you will have a more objective evaluation. Quantify the evaluation so that you can give a score to each applicant, you may need to weigh certain competencies more than others if they are more important.


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