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How to conduct a successful job interview

For many organizations, conducting a successful job interview may seem like a simple and easy process, but many businesses and HR teams forget the importance of having a structured, well-planned, methodical approach and the importance of giving great candidate experience.

A successful job interview 

Have you ever wondered what your candidates thought about their job interview experience with you? You might be surprised at some of the answers. A successful job interview needs to be a positive experience for both parties. What does that look like?

  • Great communication prior to interview
  • Realistic time frames from application to interview
  • Structured professional interview with business/job information 
  • Information on next steps
  • Outcome communication and feedback

The interview is just one of the steps in the hiring process, but how do you prepare, and how do you decide what structure is right for your business? Let’s take a look a look at two very popular interview styles.


The most common type of interview usually conducted by a member of your HR team or the line manager for the available position. This can be a simple structured question and answer session, which can allow you to really get to know a candidate. Icebreaker questions followed by series of role-related questions. Information about the next stage should also be given.

 Panel Interview

The panel interview is similar to a typical one-on-one interview but there are two or more interviewers in the room.   When you have chosen your members, make sure that you chose a leader, someone to act as the host and act as the facilitator for the whole process. During the interview, the lead interviewer will ask the basic questions and follow up with some fact-finding. Only the primary interviewer can change the topic or the focus of the question.

Whatever happens, everyone needs to be clear on his or her role throughout the process, so as not to cause confusion and break the focus of the interview.

Are your staff interview trained?

Knowing how to conduct an interview starts with having an understanding of the job being filled. We often take for granted that because we have an awesome manager they will also be an awesome interviewer, but it is not always the case. It is important that we equip our hiring managers with the right training and tools in order to find the best people to fill open positions. Correct interview training can also help eliminate biases during interviews.

How to implement a consistent approach

Making it fair is key, but that means your interviewers need to be consistent in their style, here’s a few tips to help you implement a consistent approach.

  1. Standard company information

Your interviewers should all be saying the same thing about your business, provide an information or introduction sheet that they can relay, along with a brief on the job description and information on the role itself.

  1. Standard interview questions

All candidates should have the same opportunity to impress, ask each candidate the same questions. These should be role relevant and prepared in advance. Asking the right kind of questions is very important. These questions should be based on the job description and the skills, qualities, and experience required for the role.

Asking the applicant open questions will allow them to expand on the information in their application, rather than simply answering yes or no.

Impacts of poorly prepared interviews

Although some employers perceive interviewing as a small part of the recruitment process, it is a vital opportunity to examine how potential candidates measure up against the needs of the business and, as such, it is important to get it right. Poorly prepared interviews can have a significant negative effect on the candidate experience and can actually lose you candidates.

Biggest candidate turn offs

  • Lack of clarity on job role
  • Lack of communication
  • Not getting back to a candidate after an interview
  • Too long from application to interview
  • Badly prepared interviews

Our friends over at Zocket recently published a whitepaper on candidate experience titled, Save Time & Money by Improving Your Candidate Experience, if you’d like to know more read here

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