Posted on 13th July 2016

Interviewing Doesn't Need to be Testing: Some Guidelines for an Effective Interview

Interviewing Doesn't Need to be Testing: Some Guidelines for an Effective Interview

Conducting an interview may seem daunting to begin with, but, it may not be as intimidating as you first think. Yes, there are many areas and attributes to consider when interviewing a potential employee but with this advice, things could become a lot more clear.

Before the Interview

Before the interview has begun, it is important that you have at least a vague knowledge of the candidate. This can be as easy as reading their CV and application, or going a bit further and emailing and/or calling them prior to the interview to see how they conduct themselves on the phone or if they reply in a professional manner. Recapping this information prior to the interview will give you a better insight into the candidate’s achievements, grades, skills and past experiences before you meet them face-to-face, this information should also give you an idea of some starter questions for the interview.

Prepare the interview prior to the day. Make ready a list of questions to suit the candidate, job role and company. Decide whether you will need to include another interviewer. Prepare to be flexible, if you have decided on a question that the candidate is unable to provide an effective answer for, ensure you have an alternative question that may help you to obtain similar information.


Once the candidate has arrived ensure you check the time and ask yourself: have they arrived too early? Are they right on time? Or have they showed up late? Keeping track of this can give you an insight into their time keeping and organisational skills.

It may also be a good idea to introduce the candidate to the other staff members and leave them for five minutes to see how they react. Do they socialise with the team? Their behaviour could give you an insight into their personality and whether their reaction is suitable for their potential role.

Identifying Qualities and skills

Identifying someone’s achievements and skills is easy, it is likely that all the information you need is in documents (CVs, covering letters or applications), that they have provided. However, when interviewing a potential employee it is important to think beyond what is written down on paper. Yes, that is still very important information and relevant to the role but we need to identify the candidate’s interpersonal skills and what they can bring to the role.

Do they show eagerness and willingness to learn? Look out for phrases such as ‘this would be a great opportunity’, are they sat upright listening to what you are asking? Do they allow ‘take up time’ where they reflect on their answer before the say it? Have they brought a CV along or a portfolio? This will show if they are well prepared, if they are showing initiative and if they are ready to show what they have to offer.

When the Candidate has Left

Once the interview is over, keep an eye on how the candidate leaves. Speak to reception or security staff (or whoever it was that greeted the candidate into the building) and ask how the candidate approached them. Were they polite and professional?

Perform a background check, search the candidate on social media, see what they get up to in their personal life and if there are any holes in the information they have provided. Also ask yourself, are they presentable on social media platforms? If clients search for them what would they find?

Making a judgment call

Once the interview is over ensure you recap your thoughts and impressions of the candidate write down all their qualities or any criticisms and place them against the job description. Ask yourself if they would suit the company well, is there room for growth? Collaborate with the team and compare them against other candidates.

Ultimately, ensure you make the best decision for both the company and candidate.

Wright Solutions offer executive recruitment services and have a team of expert executive recruiters that specialise in placing candidates for executive roles within Human Resources (HR) and Learning and Development.

For more information or to discuss our services please feel free to get in touch either by telephone on 0121 222 5599 or by email to Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn or sign up to our newsletter for regular updates.

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