Problem solved – conducting job interviews

I’ve been asked to conduct a series of job interviews. This will be my first time – and my boss will be with me. How can I prepare?

Before you meet any candidates, make sure you know what they have been told – in advertisements, by recruitment consultants, or at first-stage interviews.

Formal job or person specifications can often differ from your own understanding of what new recruits will be expected to do. Contrast this information with the candidates’ CVs.

Identify those skills that could really add value, so that you can ask more in the interview. Look for potential weaknesses, or time gaps to investigate. Make a brief list (but not a script) of your questions. Finally, think about why well-qualified candidates would want the job. What made you join – and stay? You may well be asked.

With your boss, agree in advance which parts of the interview you will be handling – not just to help your own preparation but also to minimise the chance of your boss throwing a surprise at you during the interview.

However nervous you might be, interviewees are likely to be even more so. When you meet, be open and welcoming. Encourage them to ask questions and, in your answers, emphasise those aspects of the job that really promote the opportunity available. You want candidates to leave thinking highly of the organisation.

Interviewing requires staying one step ahead, listening, and thinking simultaneously. Some answers may prompt follow-up questions that perhaps you hadn’t planned but which are highly relevant.

Conversely, if you disclose sensitive information unintentionally you could lead candidates into territory your boss would prefer you avoided. You need to be able to bring the interview back on to safe ground without raising suspicion.

Preparing carefully means you will relax – and maybe even enjoy the experience. That can only send the right signals to the best candidates.


"Interviewing requires staying one step ahead, listening, and thinking simultaneously"