Interviewing for your first employee? It can be tough if you’ve never carried out an interview before but it’s a lot easier than you might think. This simple guide gives you an idea of the structure and questions you can use to help choose the right candidate.
To set your candidate up for the interview, try asking some simple questions to put their mind at ease. Talk about anything, from how their journey went to the weather – small talk helps people relax. Then, when you’re acquainted, explain how the interview process will play out.
Tips for this stage
- Remember to smile and use friendly gestures when talking to a candidate, the more they feel at ease, the more information they will be willing to share.
- Avoid asking any questions that could be perceived as discriminatory. This reflects badly on you and can make the interviewee uncomfortable.
- Set the tone of the entire interview at this point and be forward but not authoritative.
There are many types of question you can ask a potential employee when you’re interviewing them and these will help you to get a good idea of a person’s skills and personality.
Fact-based questions – These are questions that require straight, simple answers. E.g. how many years of experience do you have? Where have you previously worked?
Behavioural questions – Ask the candidate about times when they used their initiative or skills to do something and what the outcome was. E.g. tell me about a time you displayed good customer service skills? How did the customer react?
Hypothetical questions – These can relate to any area of your business and give you an idea of how a candidate might perform in their role. E.g. what would you do if a client told you they didn’t understand how X worked? Get creative with these and try to be very skill specific, anyone can ask a generic question.
Stress questions – Another technique to test how an employee reacts under pressure is to ask stress based questions. E.g. ‘why should we hire you without these skills’? These questions are okay if your job requires a thick skin or a high tolerance for stress but if it doesn’t, they can just cause bad rapport. Use them wisely.
Tips for this stage:
- Avoid asking questions that can be answered with a generic statement. Instead, shape your questions to the specific role.
- Don’t overcomplicate questions. This can cause the interview to skew off in the wrong direction.
- Make sure you carefully assess the order of your questions to smoothly guide your interview.
This is when you can give a candidate time to ask questions about the role or company. If you’ve provided a good job description, they shouldn’t have many questions about the job but a positive interest in the company is favourable.
Once you’re both done with the questions, be sure to thank them for their time, shake their hand and walk them to the door or lobby area.
Tips for this stage:
- Always show your appreciation for the effort a candidate has made to be there.
- Avoid using words or a tone that implies you are trying to get rid of someone.
- Be sure to use all of the allotted time to find out as much as possible about the candidate.
Throughout your interview, you should always be taking notes about the candidates you see. This is especially important if you are interviewing many people over a number of days.
Remember: A well prepared interview will help you to better understand each candidate both during and after the event.