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Conducting Staff Interviews: The Step By Step Guide

Interviewing staff is all part of running a business. Unless you plan on carrying the burden on your own indefinitely, you will need to hire some help. In the early days, a staff interview may involve having a cup of coffee and a nice chat with the applicant, but once the company grows, staff interviews need to be more formal. In some cases, you may not need to interview because the job is only temporary. In this instance, you could decide to just get staff quick with a temp platforms where the temping employee has been pre-interviewed. But if you need permanent long-term staff, you need to brush up on your interview techniques.

In this post, we are going to give you a step by step guide to the interview process. Obviously, the job role you are interviewing for will have a bearing on the type of interview you conduct, but the main elements will always remain the same.

Prepare for the Interview

This may sound like a no-brainer, but a surprising number of managers don’t prepare for staff interviews. The interview is seen as an inconvenient part of their day, so they rush through it, don’t pay much attention to the person, and then wonder why the candidate they hire is unsuitable for the position.

Always prepare well for the interview. Read each applicant’s paperwork so you know who they are and what experience they have. It makes you look unprofessional if you don’t know the candidate’s name or get them confused with someone else. It also helps you formulate some pertinent questions to keep the interview rolling.

As well as being familiar with the candidates you are interviewing, be very clear about the role on the table. Some candidates will ask questions, so be ready to answer them. Once again, if you don’t have the answers, it doesn’t reflect well on you.

Have an Idea of Your Perfect Candidate

Be very clear about the type of person you are looking for. Think about what personal qualities you are looking for. Does this person need to have relevant experience? Do they need to be confident? Is it important that they fit in with an existing team? The skills and personality type you need should be reflected in the questions you ask.

Prepare a Set of Questions for the Interview

Have a framework for the interview that includes set questions. It is customary to begin with easy questions, such as asking the candidate to discuss any previous experience they have, their personal interests, and any other skills they have. This gets the conversation going and helps them – and you – feel more relaxed. Next, you need to dig a little deeper by asking trickier questions.

In some cases, the skills you need are something that requires training on the job, so candidates won’t have any previous experience. This is where competency questions come in. Rather than asking a candidate something specific, your aim is to assess how they handle a particular scenario.

For example, if you are interviewing someone for a customer service role, you might ask them to describe a time when they helped someone. The answer they provide should give you a good indication of how they react in such a situation.

Make Notes

Keep notes or record the interview. If you are conducting lots of interviews, candidates will soon blur into one homogenous mass, which makes it hard to select the right person. Ideally, have at least one other person sitting in on the interview, to reduce the likelihood of subconscious bias.

Learning how to interview well takes time and practice. Remember that you and the company are also being interviewed by the candidate, so act professionally at all times.


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