Client Interview Tips

The interview is a two way process; remember, the applicant is also assessing your suitability for them! First impressions count; you should ensure that you appear well-presented, organised and offer the right image for your company. Be prepared for questions about the company and the job specification.

Make the applicant feel at ease – you will get more out of the interview if the applicant is comfortable. Explain the format for the interview so they know what to expect and how long you expect the interview to last.

Think about the job specification, the specific skills and experience you are looking for; this will assist you in compiling interview questions.

Ensure you read the CVs before the interviews!

Set an agenda for the interview and have a list of questions you want to ask.

Questioning Styles

  • Open – Who, what, where, when, how and why. This style of questioning gives you the opportunity to explore the candidates experience and gather a wide range of information.
  • Probing – This style of specific questioning provides detail. Use this to verify answers given to open questions.
  • Closed – This style of questioning will enable you to get answers to single facts.
  • Hypothetical – This style of questioning allows the candidate the opportunity to show how they would act in a given situation.

Competency Based Interviewing

Many formal interviews nowadays are conducted using competency based interview questions. The theory is that past performance is the best predictor of future performance. This style of interview gives you the opportunity to get specific examples of past behaviour that provide you with concrete evidence that the candidate has the necessary competencies to succeed in the job. It is usual to ask every candidate the same set of questions, using a scoring system to gauge how well the candidate applied their own skills and experience to the question. Because the same questions are asked of each candidate, competency based interviews are deemed to be fairer as all candidates are treated the same, and given the same opportunities.

To illustrate an example of this type of questioning; if one of the core competencies for the role is the ability to work as part of a team, the question could be asked as:

 “Give me an example of a time when you worked effectively as part of a team” or

“Tell me about a situation when you have successfully worked as part of a team.”

At the end of the interview, invite the candidate to ask any questions they may have. Give them an indication of the next stage, e.g. a second interview after shortlisting, and let them know when they can expect a decision from you.

When the interviewee has left the room, ensure you make a note of your thoughts on the candidate and their suitability for the role. This will help you if you are interviewing a number of candidates when you come to make your final shortlist for second interview or offer stage.

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