Getting the Most from an Interview

Interview of two business professionals

Going for an interview is huge for most people but it should also be huge for employers. Getting the best out of an interview is crucial to get the right candidate. It should be about giving information about the job, the duties and the company as much as getting information from the candidate. So how can you get the most from an interview?


Preparing for an interview should be a serious undertaking. Sure, you will likely know enough about the job in question to be able to converse about it with the candidate but it never hurts to brush up. You also need to look at what questions you want to ask or what information you need to gather. Write yourself a checklist of points to cover as well as a list of questions to ask.

It is important to ask every candidate the same basic questions to allow yourself to compare them and ask plenty of open ended questions to allow people to expand on their answers. It also pays to learn a little about the candidate before the interview, reviewing their cover letter and resume as well as any checks that have been carried out with their permission. You could even have a look at their professional social media accounts.

What To Do

There are no rules about interviews but there are some good tips about what to do to get the best from the candidate and make the right decision. For starters, make the candidate feel comfortable, show them around the office before you start and introduce them to a few members of staff. Give them a cup of coffee or a glass of water.

Try to make the interview as conversational as possible as this brings the best out of people. Start by asking them about themselves, their hobbies and interests as this often gets people to open up and relax. If the conversation turns off-topic during the interview, go with it – you may learn something about the candidate from this.

What Not To Do

One of the worst things you can do at an interview is make it all about you and not about the candidate. If you do most of the talking, you aren’t going to find out much about them. An ideal ratio is that you should be talking 20% of the time and the candidate should be talking the other 80%.

While certain checks need to be done to establish that a person can accept the job, such as their right to work and their criminal records check (now a DRB check), you can’t ask them about certain things at an interview. These include if English if their first language as there is no legal requirement for this to work in the UK, only that they speak English fluently to operate effectively. Asking questions about disabilities or previous sickness records also cannot be asked. Even asking their age or if they are married should be avoided as it can be seen as being personal and potentially discriminatory.