Business Recruitment: Top tips for interviewing

Top Interviewing Tips

Employing the right staff is a key element of running a successful business. An interview is your chance to recruit the most suitable person for the job, so it’s vital that you obtain all the information you need to make the right choice.

Our top tips will help you conduct a successful interview:

Before the interview you need to be clear about the kind of person you want to recruit. By writing a detailed person specification you can identify the key skills that the role requires and construct questions that will help you obtain all the relevant information you need about the candidate.

Create a relaxed environment
Greet candidates with a smile and a handshake in order to make them feel relaxed and reduce tension. Be enthusiastic and thank them for taking the time to apply for the job.

Outline the role
Make sure you give specific details of the job – be honest about the challenges and clear about your expectations. You may also want to provide details about your company, such as its structure and culture.

Ask open questions
Avoid asking questions that have a “yes” or “no” answer. When asking questions, begin with “how”, “in what way” and “where”, which will encourage candidates to give more in-depth answers.

Get them to give examples
Avoid asking generic questions, such as “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “how would you work within a team?” as these result in very general answers. Instead ask specific questions about how the candidate has dealt with a certain situation in previous roles, for example “what strategies did you use to increase sales online in your last job?”.


Avoid discrimination
Make sure you avoid questions that may be deemed discriminatory including anything around the subjects of age, race, disability, sex or religious belief. Asking about children, marital status and credit records are all off limits too.

Take brief notes
By taking brief notes throughout the interview you will be able to refer to them at a later date and not rely on memory. However, try to limit these, as excessive note taking will distract the interviewee (and you) and make them feel uncomfortable.

Allow for silences – and listen
Be patient and allow for silences so that the candidate can respond to questions. Listen carefully to each answer and be interested in their responses, giving feedback to encourage them to elaborate in more detail.

Spot the warning signs
Look out for signs that tell you the candidate isn’t appropriate for the role. This can include ill-preparation – knowing very little about your company or the role – which suggests they are not really interested in the job. Other signs to spot include inappropriate dress, vague and inadequate responses to questions or inability to provide any references.

Allow for questions
Allow for questions at the end of the interview. This should tell you whether they have a good understanding of the job and are interested in your company. For example, are the questions genuine and analytical – or is the interviewee asking questions because they feel they have to?

Be clear about the next stage
At the end of the interview, let them know what will happen next. Inform them when they can expect a response If there’s going to be a second interview, tell them when it is likely to take place.