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Interviewing Tips & Techniques

We are now working in a very candidate driven market – so it is essential to hold great interviews to allow you the choice of the best candidates.

Preparation: To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail!

It is essential that you are prepared before meeting the interviewees – to give them the very best impression of you, your company and to ensure they leave without reservation that you are the best employer for them.

Organise your interview room and ensure it’s clean, tidy and booked. Advise reception of who you are interviewing and when to expect them – first impressions count. You should allow time between interviews to write up notes and take a refresher before the next, this helps with clear thinking. Consider your own personal presentation and ask yourself 'would I want to work for me?'.

Always review the applicants CV/Application before the candidate arrives and highlight any question areas. Prepare relevant questions.

Body Language

Helps give the right impression, ensure you have good posture, sit straight and comfortable. Give a strong hand shake, and be positive, give good, clear eye contact. Facial expressions should be warm and friendly (even if you are having a bad day!), ensure that body movements are controlled, no fidgeting or looking bored!


When preparing for an interview use a mixture of the following:

  • Open Questions - start with What, When, Where, Who, How, Why?
  • Closed Questions - start with Do, Did, Would – used to prompt Yes/No answers.
  • Probing Questions - tell me more about that
  • Summary Questions
  • Competency Questions - see info below.

The Question Funnel

Following a run of questions on one area of experience.

  • What are your duties and responsibilities?
  • What does that involve?
  • What exactly do you mean by…?
  • Did you take full ownership for that result?
  • So, as I understand it then, you…


Unhelpful questions ahead...

  • Leading Questions.
  • Multiple Questions - asking more than one at a time confuses the candidate.
  • Hypothetical Questions.


Competencies are NOT tasks of the job, they can be deep seated qualities (motivations, traits) and can be measured. Once you’ve identified the competencies required for the role then develop questions in the STAR format.


  • Tell me about the situation
  • What was your role?
  • Who else was involved?

Thoughts and Feelings

  • What were you thinking?
  • What was going through your mind at that point?


  • What did you do?
  • What did you say?


  • What was the outcome?

Other Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths / weaknesses?
  • Why did you choose the A Levels / Degree you did?
  • What were your reasons for leaving your last employer?
  • What is your biggest achievement?
  • What was your biggest mistake?
  • Where do you see yourself in 2 years time?

Actively Listen

You'll be making the decision on whom to offer your role to – you need to concentrate. Demonstrate that you are listening, so lean forward, nod, good eye contact. Seek clarification if you are not sure of what the candidate is saying. Concentrate on what the candidate is saying rather than thinking about your next question, don't jump in and talk over.

Candidate Questions

At the end of the interview, ask whether they have any questions, this shows they have prepared and you can assess their level of interest. Be prepared to answer standard questions and ensure that you can confidently talk about your Company.

The Close

Thank the candidate for their time and for attending the interview, and then explain the timescales for decisions / second interviews (if relevant).

Ideally you want every candidate to walk out of the interview wanting to work for the company and you! Take notes on the interview and the candidate for feedback and to help with the decision making process. Don't underestimate the time and effort that needs to go into the interview process to get it right.

Practice Makes Perfect!!

We are consultative in our approach to the whole recruitment process and would be happy to discuss and advise in more detail, as this only gives a brief overview. We hold events where we cover more in-depth information on Interviewing – please call Juliette or Jackie now to find out more about how we can help you find the right candidates without all the hassle.