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Tips for a successful interview: The employer’s perspective

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Employment
This article is based on the free eBook “The Seven Deadly Sins of Employment”

Being an employer these days is a difficult task. Getting it wrong and not managing employees so that they perform to their optimum is frustrating, time consuming and expensive.……so what can employers do? Making just a few changes will reduce your risk and help the work flow more easily. Let us start by summarizing what to consider when seeing your future employee face to face for the first time: at the interview.


Looking for good ‘raw material’

An interview is a fact-finding exercise. Prepare your questions and tests, where used, to probe and examine candidates’ skills and knowledge against essential criteria. Don’t necessarily expect a fully trained candidate to emerge. This is relatively rare; what you’re looking for is good ‘raw material’, which can be trained to meet your requirements.


A successful interview needs a structure

An interview needs to be structured, as this helps both you and your interviewee. The opening and closing phases will be brief, but they are important.

As a rough guide, you should aim to talk for no more than 40 per cent of the time throughout the interview. Make full notes of your questions and the answers. Make sure your notes are objective and accurate.

Keep detailed records of what the candidate says. Take your time and write down each answer after he has finished speaking. Don’t try to do everything at once. Note that the Data Protection Act allows candidates to ask to see your interview notes, so make sure your notes are accurate and objective. Do not write notes like “black woman, nice smile”. It really doesn’t matter what colour she is.

During the interview, avoid making promises that can’t be kept – they may be legally binding.


Past behavior

You can probe past behavior to find out if the candidate has had the opportunity to acquire skills, his approach to using the skills and look for evidence that he was successful in using the skills. Follow up these questions with open questions to get a full picture. Some useful questions are:

  • Tell me about your present job?
  • Why did you decide to leave that job?
  • How would you describe your relations with outside contractors?
  • What do you like least about your present job?
  • What experience do you have about XYZ activity? Describe that to me.

Control the interview. Remember you are in charge. If the candidate is not going into enough detail, ask him to expand on what is being said. If he is talking too much, ask him just to give you the important points.

At the end of the interview, remember to do a final question check. Look through your notes and do not finish the interview until you have asked all the questions you planned. Tell the candidate what the next stage of the process is and when he will be hearing from you. Allow for any final questions. Thank the candidate and say goodbye.


You can delve further into the importance of recruitment processes by studying “The Seven Deadly Sins of Employment” written by Russell HR Consulting.