Interviewing 101

If you’re new to interviewing candidates it can seem a little daunting. Our advice is to prepare well - familiarise yourself with the candidate’s CV, write a list of questions and make sure you have everything you need. When your interviewee arrives make them welcome and introduce them to anyone relevant before you start.

Other than the basic information, if you’re not sure what to ask, our consultants have a few suggestions about what makes a great question.

What attracted you to this job?

This question will show how much research your candidate has done about your firm and the job on offer. It’s important that a candidate understands what the role involves and can articulate why they would be good at it.

What are your main strengths and weaknesses?

Encourage your interviewee to start with their strengths – candidates will find it easier to speak about what they are good at. You can ask them how their strengths would help them in their role. Discussing weaknesses can be a bit trickier as candidates are wary of being caught out or saying the wrong thing. Asking them for an example of when they have overcome a weakness can help them open up. And beware anyone who says their only weakness is perfectionism!

What motivates you?

Finding out what motivates your candidate gives great insight into their personality and career objectives – and whether they will be a good fit for your organisation.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Asking for an example of a challenge your candidate has had to work through shows both their problem-solving skills and their opinions of what is a challenge provides very useful information for a prospective employer

What has been your biggest success?

A candidate will usually have a success story they are keen to share with you – offering them the opportunity to talk about something they are proud of allows them to shine and show their potential.   

What management style do you work best under?

This question is becoming more popular with employers as it can help you work out whether your candidate will be a good cultural fit. You can use it to understand whether the interviewee likes a formal, direct structure or whether they prefer to work on their own initiative, and decide whether that works for you.

What not to ask

There are some questions you must not ask at interview because they would contravene UK employment and discrimination law. For further information on this see the government’s guide to preventing discrimination here, Reed’s article on questions candidates should not be asked here and the Independent’s similar article here.

We are not keen on “wacky” questions such as “if you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be and why?” because we don’t think they provide any real insight into the candidate. Your interviewee will just be trying to think of the “right” thing to say and you will only get back what he or she thinks you want to hear.

At RecruitAbility we do all the initial interviewing for our clients. For more on how we could help your business call us on 01279 758855.


Posted on Monday Mar 2