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The Interview Guide

The Interview Guide


To avoid any misunderstanding, ensure that every candidate you are meeting to interview has the address (if meeting in person) or if using Zoom, the link. It is also important to clarify that you as an interview will initiate the call and to give a contact number should there be issues with the connection.

Also prior to the interview, ensure the candidate has the names and position of whom they will be meeting, as well as the job spec and any other brand collateral that sells your business as a great place to work.

Remember: the more information you give to the candidate prior to the interview, the more organised and confident you look as a business and importantly, the better the chance that interview will be a positive one.

It sounds obvious, but please review the Candidate’s CV properly before walking into the interview. It is very apparent to a candidate, if an interviewer has not read a CV when they start asking questions.

Pick a suitable location, one that is private and quiet without distraction for you as an interviewer. Likewise, if you are meeting outside the office, ensure it is discreet enough that the candidate feels comfortable and able to focus on the questions, without the worry that they will be compromised by a colleague spotting them.

Ensure you review the objectives of the role and what you are looking to actually get from the interview process. Consider key performance indicators such as sales performance of budget management and ensure you use the right method of questioning to obtain the information.

The Interview

Break the interview up into three sections:

1. Introduction to your business and the role – this gives the candidate further context of the role and also allows you to give more positive information about your company.

2. Move into the main body of the interview. Avoid beginning with the cliched “tell me about yourself”, which is amateurish and usually prompts a vague and meandering answer, which doesn’t tell you much. Instead, start with something more specific such as, “I’m really interested in your role at XYZ – What were the responsibilities of your role there?” I would then use a variety of the following types of question to really analyse the suitability of the candidate.

3. Allow the candidate to ask questions and be as transparent as possible so that they leave the interview with all the information they need to know whether they are interested to take the role further.

Different types of interview questions:

1. Experience verification questions

This type of question includes "What did you learn in that class?" and "What were your responsibilities in that position?" The purpose is to subjectively evaluate the experiences in candidate background.

2. Opinion questions

This type of question includes "What would you do in this situation?" and "What is your greatest weakness?" The purpose is to subjectively analyse how the candidate would respond in a series of scenarios.

3. Behavioural questions

This type of question includes "Can you give me a specific example of how you did that?" and "What were the steps you followed to deliver that result?" The purpose is to objectively measure the candidate’s past behaviours as a potential predictor of future results.

4. Competency questions

This type of question includes "Can you give me a specific example of your leadership skills?" The purpose is to align the candidate’s past behaviours with specific competencies which are required for the position.

Second / Third interviews

If a candidate has been selected to progress in the process, they will have demonstrated that they have the skills to be able to largely fulfil the role.

A second and third interview allows you to get the opinions of other in the business, including potential line managers / human resources and even colleagues.

It is also the time to probe deeper into skill sets and ensure the candidate able to tangibly demonstrate a track record of success in important areas.

It is also the opportunity to really assess the culture fit and analyse personality traits to ensure they will complement the team you have and potentially bring a new dynamic, if desired

You may also want to set a project or task that is relevant to the role and allows the candidate to demonstrate their understanding of the position and give an idea of the way they would approach the role.


One of the main ways candidates become frustrated and disillusioned with an interview process is due to a lack of communication from the company. Give clear and measured feedback, highlighting any doubts if necessary.

If you are rejected a candidate, call or write to them and explain why. It is impossible to under-estimate the importance of good feedback and ensures your business presents itself in the best possible way. Candidates will tell friends and family about a bad experience.

Above all the interview should be a way for both sides to get as honest a picture of each other as possible. By creating a highly engaging environment in which to speak, you will get the best from the person and likewise increase your chances of them wanting to join your company and in turn being a success when they do.


©2020 by Henrietta Barker