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5 top interview tips for employers

Interviewing is an important part of the recruitment process so in this week’s blog, we’re looking at some points that employers do well to remember when planning interviews.

Plan your questions in advance

It’s a good idea to use a variety of question types to keep the conversation going and to find out more about the candidate.  A good interview will have a range of questions and you could plan your interview questions to include the following types:

  • Closed – These are simple, uncomplicated questions that can often be answered with a yes or no, or with a fact. An example of a closed question is: “What’s the largest number of direct reports you’ve managed?”
  • Open – Open questions often follow closed questions and will require the candidate to give more information in their answer.  Open questions can also be useful to understand more about a candidate’s personality and motivations.  Example: “Why do you want to work for this company?” or “How do you motivate your team members?”
  • Scenario/Competency – In this type of interview question, the candidate will need to respond to a situation that they could encounter when employed. Example: “Tell me about a time when you’ve supporting a team member who was struggling” or “Talk me through what you would do if you encountered XX situation at work”
  • Personality questions – These will allow you to find out more about the candidate.  Examples include “What challenges are you looking for in your next position?”, “How will your strengths add to the role?” Or “How would you describe your management style?”
Be consistent

Once you’ve decided on your questions, it’s important to make sure that you stick to them.  You need to ask all candidates the same questions in interviews to ensure that the recruitment process is managed fairly.  Of course, there may be additional questions that come up during the course of the interview but having the same format and initial questions will help make sure you judge all candidates on the same basis.

Take notes

You should keep notes of your interview questions and responses and keep these notes, even after the interview process has ended.  Candidates have a right to ask to see interview notes and they could help in the event of a discrimination claim.  All notes should be based on responses to interview questions, you shouldn’t write down any irrelevant details on the individual’s appearance, dress, etc.

Know what not to ask!

Don’t ask questions about protected characteristics i.e. what year did you finish school/university, do you have childcare in place if you get this job, what religion do you follow?  In fact, you should avoid asking questions about any of the following: age, sex, sexual orientation, race, nationality or ethnic origin, disability, religious or philosophical beliefs (which can include political beliefs), marital or civil partnership status, trade union membership (or lack of).

You should also avoid asking questions about criminal convictions and basically, anything which isn’t related to the role that you’re hiring. 

How to start/finish the interview

It’s good to start by introducing the people at the interview, explaining what the interview process will be and how long it’s likely to take.  At the end of the interview, make sure you ask the candidate if they have any questions they’d like to ask.  You can also check their notice period and any holiday commitments that they have.  After that, thank them for their time and confirm what the next steps of the interview are.

Putting effort into interviews is worthwhile as it can help you to employ the best person for the job, avoid potentially costly discrimination cases, and reduce the risk of having to re-hire the same role due to an individual not passing their probation.  If you would benefit from help in preparing interview questions or running a recruitment process, please get in touch with View HR and we will talk you through how we can assist.

If you are a candidate and looking for some advice, our friends over at Elliott Scott have some top tips on how to ace your virtual interview through to questions to ask your interviewer. Take a look here.