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How to get the most from your interviews

Posted in Employers on Aug 23, 2016 by Rejuvenate Productions


Getting a recruitment decision wrong can have serious financial and productivity costs for any business.  A well thought out recruitment process will therefore be imperative for making the right decisions.

Once you have a pool of talent to consider, a structured interview process will help you get the best out of the applicant and allow you to compare skills and attitudes to make the right decision.

Remember: Recruitment is always a two-way street. The candidate needs to impress you, but in return, you need to sell an attractive offer to recruit the best talent.


Preparation is the key to conducting structured interviews.  Structured interviews enable you to make the best decisions. Plan to include any testing, assessments or presentations and work out how many stages this will be done over.

Opening Statements:  Develop an introduction to the company to give to candidates at the beginning of the interview.  A good description of where the business is now, what you want to achieve and how the role you are recruiting for fits into the company will provide great insight for the candidate and will increase the company’s credibility.

Compile a Set of Questions:  Ask the same questions of every candidate and make sure that you are not unlawful in the questions you ask.  If 2 or more people are interviewing, decide who will deal with what topics.

Values:  Even if someone ticks every box with experience and competencies but they don’t share in the values of the company, will result in a flawed hiring decision. What are your Values and how can you find out if the interviewee shares these? Think about competency based questions and psychometric assessments to help you identify them.

Prepare the Room:  Make sure that the interview room is prepared with drinks and stationery.  It’s best not to hold the interview sitting behind a desk, or to use a higher chair than the person being interviewed - sit at a round table if possible.


Your aim is to get quality information from the candidate so you can assess them fairly and fully against your needs. Come to each interview with an open mind and make sure there will be no interruptions.

Avoid disruptions: Make sure mobile phones are switched off.  Brief other members of staff, such as receptionists, to expect the candidate. Allow enough time for the interview so you don't have to rush.

Welcome the candidate: Try to put them at ease. Introduce yourself and any other people present and explain the structure of the interview. Deliver your company introduction and outline the role and where the job fits into the company.

Ask open-ended questions: Encourage the candidate to talk about how their skills and experience apply to the vacancy.  Ask open-ended questions - ones that cannot be answered with a yes or no and allow the candidate time to think and speak. Keep control of the interview and if you feel the candidate is going off-track, turn the conversation back to the information you need.

Be Courteous: Don’t cut the interview off early, even if you feel the candidate is not the right person.  Give them the opportunity to answer all the questions that you prepared.  Sometimes people are nervous and it may take them time to relax into the interview.  Be courteous throughout the interview.

Next Steps: At the end of the interview, ask the candidate if they have any questions.  Inform them of the next stage in the recruitment process, e.g. appointment, second interviews, tests and the estimated timescales. Thank the candidate for their time.


What you do after the interview is just as important as the interview itself.  Informing candidates of your decision must be handled positively to uphold the company’s brand. Get back to candidates with a decision in the time you specified at the interview.

Interview Reports: Back up interviews with written notes made as soon as possible after the interview.  A written record will allow you to compare candidates if there are a few days between interviews.

Discrimination: Only record what has been said in the interview and how the selection decision was made, not your beliefs or personal thoughts.  Be aware that candidates who later make a complaint to an employment tribunal have the right to ask for copies of any notes made during the interview.

Making an Offer of Employment: When making an offer of employment, don’t undo all the good work you have done so far and offer a wage much lower than the candidate requested or you had advertised. This will only plant a seed of doubt about your integrity as an employer.  Provide candidates with a formal offer in writing highlighting any other benefits.

Protect your Brand: Handle any decline of employment positively; always send a letter thanking the applicant for their time. If you can help them in some way i.e. put them in touch with another company or a recruiter or simply provide some constructive feedback, they will thank you for it.


Should you require any advice or support with the recruitment process and interview procedures, please call us on 0844 504 4666.

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