July News - Interview preparation... when you're the interviewer

As a recruitment business, we deal with both sides of recruitment – our clients who provide us with the brief around what type of person and skillset they are looking for, and then us matching the candidates with those required talents. Once we have managed to secure the interviews, we then prep our candidates for interview, wish them well and wait for feedback from both parties.

So what can go wrong? Often we read horror stories of candidates going in to see potential employers only to refuse to return due to the client’s poor interviewing skills.  Because the client is controlling the process, it is all too easy to assume that they are well-versed in the interview process… or are they?

As the interview works both ways, it is imperative to be prepared ahead of the interview. It will help you get the most out of your time together, ensure you can showcase the company in its best light and allow the right environment for the candidate to highlight their skills.  With preparation, you will avoid awkward silences or embarrassing slip-ups on the candidate’s details.

Here are some tips to help you prepare.

Know who you are meeting

It may be an obvious point, but it’s a really important part of the initial process. You would have reviewed the CV initially to invite the candidate in, but now is the time to really go through it in more detail to help plan questions.  If it’s a creative role, review the portfolio so that you can prepare any questions or queries regarding specific projects.  Taking the time to review these and highlighting those details can really allow the candidate feel more valued, setting them at ease and allowing a more positive experience all round.

Plan of action

Sounds simple, right? But again people assume they can spontaneously run an interview.  You need to ensure that the company is aware who is arriving and to contact you as well as arrange a meeting room.  There’s nothing worse than trailing a nervous candidate around an office not being able to find a quiet spot to conduct an interview.  It’s great to outline the interview plan to the candidate too so that they can allow themselves a time to ask some questions.

A simple plan may include personal introduction, the company introduction, followed by questions directed to the interviewee.  Do allow some time for questions from the candidate as well as a walk around the office.


Now that you have reviewed the CV, you will now have some particular questions lined up that are tailored to the candidate’s individual experience. It’s also good practice to have a set of core questions that you ask every candidate which you can then review responses for comparison.  It is also worth asking questions using an open structure which allows easier conversing, for example, “how…”, “why…”, “when…”, “can you talk me through…”  Some clients prefer to only ask competency-based questions, however it is worth having a variety to get a better insight into your candidate.

Are you prepared for their questions? Do you know what role they applied for and do you know enough about the role to talk through and answer any questions?  Have you practised talking about the company enough to make it sound exciting and enticing?

Post-interview process

So what happens next? It is good practice to outline to the candidate what the next steps would be – if you feel it went well and you would like to see them again then let them know.  It’s always worth ending an interview on a positive note.  If you need to see more candidates then be polite and let them know someone will be in touch regarding next steps and expected timings.  It helps to give detailed feedback to your recruiter so that they can take on board particular requirements you are looking for as well as highlighting any constructive criticism for the interviewee to take on board.

We hope these tips are useful and perhaps you can utilise them in your next interview. Good luck!

By Leanne Duke

Blog Post
4 minutes
by Claire Newman
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