How to Interview Candidates Effectively

You, as a manager or recruiter, are making a long term decision on behalf of the organization.  You will only get out of the interview what you put into it.  When conducting an interview, be prepared with a list of questions and areas you want to cover.  You cannot “wing” an interview; the candidate will know you are ill prepared.  While preparing for the interview it is important to determine what exactly it is you want to get out of the interview. What information have you already collected through the recruitment process and what information do you still need? By assessing the gaps of what you know about the candidate and what you need to know will lead to more focused and effective interview preparation.

A behavioural interview is recommended, as this type of interview forces candidates to provide specific examples of behaviours that exemplify desired skills.  The major premise of behavioural interviewing is the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.  Ask probing questions that will have the candidate share past situations that are reflective of situations they might face in the new role.

When conducting an interview be mindful of inappropriate or illegal questions.  Do not ask questions related to:

  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Race
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Family Status
  • Criminal Record
  • Nationality
  • Country of Origin
  • Sexual Orientation

[/listdot]It is important to remember that as much as the interview is meant to assess the fit a candidate has for the role, the candidate is in a way interviewing the company to assess the fit that the company has for them. Make sure at the end of the interview that you allow time for the interviewee to ask any questions that they might have. Also, it is a good idea at the beginning of the interview to expand on the Position beyond what is on the job description – you can address how the position fits within the organization, what a typical day is, reporting structure etc – this can quickly address many of the questions the candidate may have had walking into the interview.

Ensure proper scheduling for your interviews – Though it might be hard to do so in a demanding work environment, try to allot enough time for each interview. You do not want to feel rushed– there should be enough time for the interviewee to fully answer each question, to explore any questions or concerns that arise throughout the interview, and address any questions the interviewee may have.


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