Interviewing Candidates


The interview process should enable you to fully assess the competencies of a candidate for a particular role. The best way to do this is by conducting a prepared and well-structured interview. Remember it is essential to conduct interviews that demonstrate the professionalism of your business and put your candidate at ease so that they can give the best account of themselves.


  • Tiered interviews are key to filling a role, as each stage will give you more information about any prospective candidate and whether they fit your role. You should conduct at least two interviews to ensure you get all the required information you need. These can be conducted through different ways, e.g. face to face, over the phone or through Skype. Remember screening candidates is essential when hiring for a role. Therefore evaluate which interview type works best for each of stage of the process, to ensure that you can make a fully informed decision on who is the best person for your job.
  • Thoroughly read through the candidate’s CV prior to the interview, making notes on what stands out, and what you would like to know more about. Failure to do this could lead to an ineffective interview and consequently an unsuitable person being selected for your vacancy. Candidates also tend to be unimpressed if it seems like the employer has not prepared.
  • Build rapport between you and the interviewee via shared interests or experiences. This can help “break the ice” with a candidate and boost their confidence levels so that they give the very best of themselves. It also shows a warmer, more personal side of the company.
  • When conducting a second interview, refer to your notes from the previous meeting. This will ensure you don’t cover old ground and will allow you to ask further pertinent questions you were not able to in the initial interview.


  • Set an agenda and let the candidate know exactly what the interview will involve.
  • Use an interview strategy to increase the effectiveness of your questioning. For example Media Contacts’ staff use competency based interviewing to best assess candidates, and this also helps to encourage diversity.
  • Paying close attention to your candidates’ characteristics and personality types, and adjusting your own behaviour to reflect this. This helps to put the candidates at ease.
  • Remember to sum up the interview and advise the interviewee of when they can expect to hear from you for a follow-up discussion
  • After all stages, if you feel unsure, invite the candidate to a social evening with the team, to see how the dynamics work between current employees. Observing their behaviour can determine whether they will fit in well with the culture of your company.