Top Tips for Interviewing Candidates for Roles

Conducting a job interview is a crucial step for assessing the background and skills of candidates applying to a company. It’s the initial step in the hiring process followed by multiple interviews from the HR department, floor supervisors, and managers if candidates make the first cut.

The initial interview, also known as the screening or preliminary interview,  may happen on the phone, on video, or in person. It typically takes around 15 to 30 minutes wherein the screener– usually, a company employee or recruiter from a third party, asks for basic information about the background, qualification, skills, and interests of the applicant for the position. Further, the interviewer will also evaluate the applicant’s personality and whether they are qualified to move forward to the next set of interviews. 

Even interviewers need to prepare themselves and organise the list of questions they need to ask the candidate. It has become increasingly challenging to hire the right talents as more are competing for top talents. An effective and successful interview reveals a candidate’s strengths and potential red flags.

Here are 7 tips on how to conduct an effective interview:


Prepare the interview questions in advance

Hiring managers should be determined to know what exactly they’re looking for in an applicant. Make a list of the attributes and skills required to handle the position. Then, craft questions that are directly related to the job’s responsibilities. It must be designed to show the candidate’s actual skills and experiences in the job. Use behavioural questions to assess if they’re a good fit in the company. 


Make the interview conversational

Most applicants tend to be nervous when they’re at a job interview. Set a friendly atmosphere in the room by making the interview conversational instead of sticking to the questions and answer format. This lowers their stress level. Encourage the candidate to talk more by asking open-ended questions to facilitate a discussion. Maintain control of the interview to steer clear of personal and non-work-related questions. 


Set the candidate’s expectations about the interview

Begin the interview by providing an outline of the process to the candidate. Introduce and provide a brief description of the company and the job responsibilities. Let them know that you’re going to ask job-related questions. Make notes when the candidate is talking and prepare to do a follow-up question. Moreover, explain the next steps when the interview is over. Provide a rough time frame on when they can receive feedback or callback if they are being considered for the position.


Watch for nonverbal cues

Be aware of the tone of your voice and nonverbal cues or gestures. Speak, act and dress professionally. Don’t read too much into the body language as it may mean different things across different cultures, but be aware if the applicant is at ease. Your actions should reflect the values that the company and department uphold. This will leave a good impression on the candidate about the company’s culture. 


Be a good listener

Aside from having a good set of interview questions, being a good listener helps the applicant to confidently express themselves. Stay focused on the direction of the conversation and pay attention to what they’re saying. Also, don’t interrupt or lead them to find answers. 


Ask probing questions

Probing questions or follow-up questions is a way for the interviewer to clarify details or require more specific answers from the candidates. Here are a few techniques when probing:


  • I’m not quite sure I understood. Could you tell me more about that?
  • Could you please give me some background on this?
  • Can you think of another example of this?
  • I’d like to hear more.
  • You just told me about . . . I’d also like to know about . . . 

Follow up with next steps as soon as possible

It’s a stressful period for candidates to wait for the result of their interview. Be courteous by informing them if they are proceeding to the next steps or will no longer continue. Thank them for their time and interest in applying to the company.




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