How to Conduct a Job Interview

Interviewing can be a time-consuming process. But, with a little preparation, you can simplify the task. Successful hiring begins with the way you conduct an interview. You are more likely to choose the best candidate for the job when you are well prepared to meet with potential employees, so develop your own style of interviewing based on your company's needs. Consistency will simplify the task of interviewing while making it easier to compile and compare applicant data.

Part 1 of 3: Before the Interview
1. Prepare for the interview. As any good surgeon, lawyer, or politician will tell you, it pays to be prepared. Preparing for your interview will ensure that your questions are on-point, your demeanor is professional, and your information is solid. Remember that, in a sense, you're being interviewed as much as you're interviewing the candidate. Keep this in mind.
- Review the job description. If you need to revise the duties, skills and responsibilities, do so now. Make sure they're an accurate representation of what the candidate, if accepted, is expected to do.
- Gather any reasonable information the candidate might ask for, including, but not limited to, information about the company and company goals, would-be team members, would-be supervisor, pay scale, etc.
2. Decide what kind of interview you want to give. There are lots of different types of interview methods, many of them quite different from the standard "Tell us where you see yourself in 5 years" interviews. Decide which interview method you want to employ based on the job description and the qualifications of the candidates.
3. Understand what kind of candidate you're looking for. Before you develop questions you want to ask, take some time to think about who your ideal candidate is. Is she no-nonsense, brutally-efficient, and a results-first person? Or is she a people person who is method-oriented? Is she something in between? Knowing what you're looking for and being clear with everyone involved in the job selection process will make your task much, much easier.
4. Develop questions relating to job knowledge and experience. Your main objective is to ask question that will allow you to see the personality, skill-set, motivation, history, and problem-solving ability of the candidate. The type of interview questions you ask will largely depend on the type of interview you are conduction (see above step).
5. Schedule the interview. Generally, one hour is plenty of time to complete the interview without feeling rushed. Do your best to stick to the schedule, especially if you have several candidates to interview during the day.
6. Familiarize yourself with each applicant by scanning their documents just before the interview. Do this by:
- Reading their CV/resume, cover letter, and any tests or performance evaluations they may have filled out in the initial application process.
- Reaching out to any references supplied during the initial application process and asking about past experience, personal demeanor, professional suitability, etc.
- Doing a background check (optional but recommended for certain jobs).

Part 2 of 3: During the Interview
1. Set the tone. Thank the candidate for coming to talk to you and begin to outline the format of the interview so that they know what to expect. You can keep it vague — "I'm going to ask you a few questions about your experience and we'll take it from there" — or you can go more in-depth.
2. Start off with a description of what the job entails. Include responsibilities and key duties of the position. Make sure you go over any additional requirements, like having the ability to sit or stand for prolonged periods of time, physical strength, dexterity or agility necessary in performing specific tasks. Some medical conditions may prevent the applicant from meeting these requirements.
3. Ask your prepared questions. Remember the types of questions you can ask in an interview.
4. Take notes while interviewing. You won't remember everything you talked about during the interview, and the notes will be helpful later when comparing applicants, especially when interviewing many candidates.
5. Periodically ask your gut how it feels about the candidate. Some of the interview will hinge on prior screening and careful analysis, but a lot of the interview will hinge on whether you feel like the candidate could perform successfully in the environment for which they are applying. This is mostly about intuition, so don't be afraid to use it in order to evaluate the candidate.
6. Bring the interview to a close after your questions are answered or time runs out. Throw a lid on the interview once you feel you have developed a good sense of the personality of the candidate, gotten good information, and have adequately discussed the job.

Part 3 of 3: After the Interview
1. Be honest with yourself about your interview performance when measuring the candidate's own performance. Interviewing is an art. Asking the right questions in the right way, maintaining the right demeanor, and being able to weed out fact from fiction are all important skills that you need to hone as you continue to interview. Did you have them during the interview? If not, could the candidate benefit from another opportunity to exhibit his or her skills in a different setting?
2. Develop a rating system with which to judge the candidates. This will help you do several things. For one, it will help you differentiate candidates who performed well during the interview from candidates whom you merely likes. Second, it will keep you from hiring someone who is not qualified for the job but who's still the best candidate from a particular round of hiring.
3. Evaluate your applicants based on the criteria first, and against one another second. Why? Certain candidates may be very strong compared to others but still not meet the criteria established by the needs of the job. If you are desperate to hire a good candidate, measuring them against one another is acceptable. If, however, you want to hire the right candidate, it's best to wait until your criteria are met by a candidate.
4. Negotiate salary, benefits and a start date. You have two goals in negotiating a salary for your would-be hire: you want to get good value out of the new hire (ensuring that your company remains profitable) while also making the new hire feel that s/he is happy and being compensated justly for their time and expertise.
5. Give the applicant you want to hire time to think about your offer. A week is usually the upper limit, as most hiring managers want a decision within a couple days. If the candidate is especially promising, you might want to offer him or her any perks, bonuses, or options you or your company can reasonably afford during this waiting period.









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