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How to conduct a job interview
Preparing for the interview
To conduct a meaningful job interview, preparation is crucial. Read through the applicant’s CV thoroughly, noting down any questions that will help you draw out more information about their personal qualities and professional skills. Think about how you will highlight the benefits of your company and the position on offer. Reserve an appropriate space to hold the interview, ensuring it is comfortable and free of distractions. Provide the applicant’s CV to any colleagues that will be attending the interview, as well as the list of questions you intend to ask.
Composing interview questions
When conducting job interviews, behavioural-based questions are an effective way to identify if your applicant has the specific skills and traits required to successfully perform the job. The technique is based on past behaviour being the best indicator of future performance. Referring to the job description, write down the key characteristics, knowledge, behaviours and abilities needed for the role. Next, compose a list of questions that ask the applicant to explain how they demonstrated these attributes in the past, citing specific examples.
Conducting the interview
Begin the interview by introducing yourself and any other attendees. Explain the format of the interview, and offer a brief overview of your company, including what it does, its size, financial position, growth plans and culture. Provide an engaging description of the role on offer, including upcoming project work and career progression opportunities.
When conducting the interview, listen carefully to the responses and take notes for future reference. Be aware of attempts to evade questions, and probe deeper if required. Paying careful attention to the applicant’s personal style, attitude and values will also help you to form a balanced opinion of their suitability.
Concluding the interview
Conclude the interview by asking the applicant if they have any questions about the role or company. This is a good way to test if they have thought through the position and listened during the interview process. Thank the applicant for their time and interest, and inform them when they are likely to find out the decision. Try to summarise your notes as soon as the applicant leaves. This will ensure your impression of their personality, skills and abilities is fresh in your mind and can be used to make a decision after you have met with other applicants.
A successful interview doesn't happen by accident. As the interviewer, you must:
- Prepare for the interview by carefully reviewing the candidate's CV and noting any questions beforehand
- During the interview, offer an overview of the company and the vacancy and follow up with questions that will best determine the candidate’s suitability
- To conclude, inform the candidate of the next steps and timeframe, then summarise your notes as soon as possible while fresh in your mind