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Interviewing tips for Hiring Managers

Interviewing tips for Hiring Managers


This feature has been provided by Jonathan Hart-Smith, Managing Director of CK Clinical Limited. The feature contains useful information for Hiring Managers.
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010

Imagine setting off on a journey. If you don’t know where you are going you will never get there. Before you read a CV for an applicant you need to consider how this role fits into your team, what job you want them to do and the type of person you are looking for. You can then plan the interview and decide on the type of questions you would like to ask. If you don’t have a job description and person specification then it is important to take some time to write one.

Its is important for a candidate to make a good impression on you but you also need to make a good impression on them. In the current climate candidates have a lot more choice about where they want to work. We are all competing to recruit the best talent so the first impression that a company makes on a candidate is important. Before the interview confirm to the candidate, where and when the interview will be, who they are meeting and the nature of the job they are being interviewed for

You get the most out of a conversation when the person is at ease and feels comfortable. If you build a rapport with the interviewee they are likely to open up to you and perform naturally in the interview.

When you meet with the candidate it is important that you appear open and honest with them. If you sit one side of a desk with them positioned directly on the other it can appear that you are putting a barrier in the way so try sitting across the corner of a desk or with no barrier between you at all.

At the start of the interview explain to the candidate what to expect including details such as how long the interview will be, if there are any tests they will need to do or if they need to meet anybody else as well. This will mean that they can mentally prepare themselves. Asking if you can take notes is polite but it also warns them that there will be moments where you do look down and start to scribble something down.

This is perhaps the most important thing to think about when conducting your interview as without appropriate questions you wont find out what you need to know about your interviewee. If you are using a Competency framework it is a good idea to plan your questions in advance to reflect the competencies you are interested in.

When asking questions about a subject try to use open questions that start with “What….?, Why….?, How….”. This gives your interviewee the opportunity to talk more and you can also get more clues about how they think and communicate. As you discuss topics more you can start to ask more probing questions like “Tell me more about……?”.

If you find that you are loosing control of the direction of the interview and the candidate is talking too much and going off on a tangent try asking a closed question that requires a yes / no answer to get the conversation back under control.

Whilst interviews are not an exact science, asking for examples of having demonstrated certain behaviours means that you are more likely to be able to predict how somebody is likely to act in the future so question like “Can you give me an example of a time when you…?”

You should also try and avoid certain types of questions such as leading questions, those you answer yourself in the question (e.g. “ I imagine you have excellent attention to detail don’t you?”) or closed questions when you want to get the person to open up to you.

When you are moving from one topic to another, try summarising your understanding of the persons answer was and then move on to the next subject. This gives the candidate the opportunity to correct you if you have misunderstood them but also demonstrates that you have been listening.


When you are coming to the end of the interview it is important to inform the candidate of what will now happen moving forwards. This should include things like how soon they can expect to hear back from you, if the process would involve a second interview should they be successful at this round etc. This helps to manage their expectations and if they do have any other potential offers on the table, it will help them to know whether or not to put that on hold until they have all the available facts at their disposal so they can make an informed decision, particularly if they are keen on working with you.

Whether the candidate has been unsuccessful or you have offered them the role it puts you and your organisation in a very positive light if you can provide constructive feedback. When you do give feedback try to be understanding and considerate, focus on behaviour and not personality judgements and therefore your observations not inference. This means that you will demonstrate that you are a professional and the individual can go on to benefit from the interview even if they didn’t get the job. It’s also very satisfying to know that you have helped somebody even if you can’t offer them a job with you.

Getting the most out of the interview means that you are more likely to see what the candidate is truly like and you are therefore in a better position to make an informed decision about who you want to work in your team. If you are not doing any other type of assessment of this candidate, its amazing how following these simple steps can make a big impact on your interviewing process and the positive impression that you can make on behalf of your company by interviewing well.