What to and not to do when interviewing

I’ve previously talked about how to hire for your business, but I wanted to take that a step further and talk about interviews, specifically Interview Do’s and Don’ts.

Many businesses underestimate this part of the process, whether this be due to lack of know-how, time pressures, etc, but I can’t stress how critical this can be for your business.

Here’s our tips of what you should do for each and every interview you conduct for your business.


  • Ensure the candidate has been provided with all the necessary information for the interview, ie, office address, transport/parking options, position description, etc
  • Set aside a quiet and confidential space to conduct the interview
  • Prepare!  Read the candidates resume before they arrive at the interview; develop questions you want to ask them relevant to the role
  • If you are interviewing candidates back to back, then allow a gap in between meetings so you can debrief and take a quick break in between (it also helps candidates not bumping into each other)

At Interview:

  • Greet candidate – introduce yourself and your role, plus any other colleagues that may be in attendance
  • Build some initial rapport with the candidate before starting the interview, ie, ask them how their day is going / has gone so far, the weather, etc.
  • Make the candidate feel welcome – remember, it is not just them that is being interviewed.  Interviewing is a 2-way street.  You too are being interviewed, as a prospective employer
  • Explain the purpose of the interview, ie, to learn more about their background and skills, to provide them more information about the role and your business and also to allow them the opportunity to ask any questions they may have
  • Let the candidate know you may be taking notes throughout the interview
  • An interview, can be the first contact a person may have with your business, so it’s their first encounter with your brand, so make sure it’s a positive experience, regardless of whether they are suitable or not for the role
  • Treat others like you would like to be treated – not only is it your business you represent, but your own name and reputation in the marketplace
  • If you don’t feel that you have quite understood or have a clear picture of an example that a candidate has provided you, don’t assume.  Probe for further information, ie, ‘could you tell me more’ or, ‘then what happened’.
  • Ensure you ask all candidates the same interview questions, so you can compare responses
  • Allow time in the interview for the candidate to ask questions
  • Talk each candidate through next steps (ie, references) and an approximate timeline on when you will make a decision

Post Interview:

  • Ensure you let people know the outcome of their application

Here are the things I discourage for interviews:

  • Never assume anything – always ask questions and clarify to ensure there are no misunderstandings
  • Don’t promise the candidate anything you can’t deliver on
  • Don’t oversell the role – this will ensure that a candidate’s expectations remain realistic
  • Do not ask any questions that may be deemed discriminatory such as:  race, sex, gender, age, religion, marital status, family status, political beliefs, relatives, hobbies
  • Don’t disengage from the process if the candidate doesn’t have quite the right skills and experience – you should always ensure that everyone who comes into contact with your brand has a positive experience

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