How to conduct a successful interview

Jamie Ellis
May 20, 2022
How to conduct a successful interview

Looking for new talent is never easy. And once you look through all the CVs and have made your shortlist then there will invariably be interviews to conduct. They might be face-to-face, or over a video call. Either way, they can be stressful both for the candidate and the interviewer. After all, you’re the one in authority. The one with all the answers. The one trying to sell the company. The one in control. That’s why you’ve got to be as prepared as the candidate will be. Let us give you a few pointers…

Be the relaxed one

Interviewing for a job can be nerve-wracking for applicants. Go out of your way to put them at ease. You’ll only see a candidate’s true potential once they’re relaxed. Make eye contact, and jump into some small talk before you get down to the serious stuff. But ensure the small talk is respectful and not controversial; you don’t want to sound like David Brent.

Do your research

Make time before the interview to prepare. Study their CV, for example. There are a lot of clues as to whether they’ll be a good addition to the team. Perhaps even jump on social media sites like LinkedIn and see how they come across in that environment.

Be clear about the role

Every candidate will have pre-conceptions about the job they’re interviewing for. Spend a few minutes clearly mapping out what the job entails. What qualities will you be looking for? What does the job demand? What gap are you looking to fill?

Prepare your questions

Have a handful questions prepared beforehand. This is for two reasons: 1) You’ll be able to keep the interview on-track and moving forward, covering any queries you need addressed. 2) There’ll be no awkward ,embarrassing silences when both of you are fumbling around for something to ask. At the same time, don’t stick stringently to your list of questions. If anything else comes up naturally, be ready to go with it.

Give enough time for the interview

There’s nothing worse than rushing through an interview because it overruns into another scheduled meeting. The candidate will feel worthless, and you won’t get everything you need out of the meeting. Allow enough time for the interview to flow - and end - naturally.

Two ears, one mouth

While it’s good to have a chat to put a candidate at ease, you should spend much of the interview just listening. Ask open ended questions to encourage longer answers, and make notes so you can refer back to the later on. In fact, many believe you should be aiming for 20% talking, 80%listening.

Have your answers ready

There will be a time in the interview when the candidate will ask you questions too. Get ready to field them and give back intelligent, clear answers. And remember, the more questions someone has, the more genuine interest they have in the role. Of course, that depends on the question. If the first one is ‘What’s the sick pay like?’, then it might be a red flag.

Be clear on the next steps

At the end of the interview the candidate will need a little reassurance. Be positive, and clearly outline the next steps. What does the process look like, and when they can expect to hear back? If there’s a second interview, let them know when this might be.

And if it’s all going wrong, you could always try some magic tricks or tapdancing to get things back on track. Either way, good luck and we hope you find the perfect person for the role!