How to hold successful recruitment interviews

Checklist

  1. 1 Set clear selection criteria and give each a weighting based on the requirements of the job. Distinguish between essential requirements and skills, qualifications and experience that are desirable.
  2. 2 Prepare questions and, if necessary, tests which will help you determine how candidates match up to your criteria.
  3. 3 Use candidates' applications and CVs to pre-select a manageable shortlist of the best candidates who at least meet your essential criteria.
  4. 4 Use two or more interviewers, including the prospective manager and, if necessary, a relevant specialist; ensure they are properly briefed.
  5. 5 Arrange a convenient time for interviews when you will not be disturbed.
  6. 6 Put the candidate at ease with a friendly welcome, introductions and an outline of the interview structure.
  7. 7 Verify any important information; look for evidence of skills and achievements.
  8. 8 Probe for a better understanding of the candidate's experience, skills, and attitude.
  9. 9 Use open-ended questions to encourage the candidate to talk; listen and observe carefully.
  10. 10 Invite questions from the candidate; sell the job and your company and confirm that the candidate is still interested.
  11. 11 End the interview; tell the candidate when the decision will be made and explain what further steps may be necessary (eg checking references, qualifications and eligibility to work in the UK).
  12. 12 Take notes on candidates against your objective criteria during, or immediately after, the interview. Remember, interviewees can request to see all information you are holding on them, including your interview notes.
  13. 13 Make an objective evaluation of the candidates after all the interviews have been completed.
  14. 14 Make further checks, or re-interview, if you do not have enough information and evidence to make a decision.
  15. 15 Throughout, avoid discriminatory requirements, inappropriate questions or prejudiced evaluations.

Cardinal rules

Do:

  • focus on the skills, attitude and experience needed for the job
  • give each candidate the same opportunities to demonstrate suitability
  • test key skills
  • encourage candidates to talk: listen carefully
  • make periodic stock checks

Don't:

  • assume that someone you like - or someone like you - is right for the job
  • make assumptions without probing for evidence
  • make a decision before interviewing all the candidates
  • discriminate unfairly