How To Interview Someone for a Job

Updated June 9, 2023

Interviews are an integral part of the hiring process. Hiring managers and interviewers should take the time to truly understand the interview process as well as the components that go into an effective interview. Asking the right questions during a job interview can significantly increase your chances of hiring the right person as well as reduce wasted time and money. In this article, we discuss why interviews are important as well as the steps you can take to conduct a successful interview.

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Why are interviews important?

A job interview is important for a number of reasons, as it can benefit both the hiring manager and the company as well as the potential candidate being interviewed. Interviewing candidates ensures you are hiring only the most qualified individuals for the open position. Without an effective interview process, you may end up hiring a person who is not the right fit for the company, the position or both.

Additional benefits of the job interview process include:

  • It allows both parties to learn more about each other and determine the suitability of the job for the candidate.

  • It enables the hiring manager to ask the interviewee important questions pertaining to their qualifications, skills and experience levels.

  • It gives the interviewer a chance to ask more in-depth questions that the candidate's application did not answer.

  • It can prevent a company from wasting time and money on a candidate who is not the right fit for a position.

Most job positions require at least one interview, while some companies will ask candidates to go through multiple interviews before a selection is made. Regardless of the position, nearly all organizations can benefit from conducting interviews to fill open jobs.

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How to interview someone for a job

The following are steps you can take when interviewing someone to ensure your interview is as effective and successful as possible:

  1. Set aside at least 30 minutes for each interview.

  2. Do your research on the candidate before they arrive.

  3. Have all information on the candidate available.

  4. Know what you are looking for in a potential employee.

  5. Follow a consistent interview structure.

  6. Ask the right questions.

  7. Be clear about what the job will require and what you are looking for.

  8. Determine how you will rate each candidate.

1. Set aside at least 30 minutes for each interview

You should set aside a minimum of 30 minutes for each interview you conduct. This ensures there is enough time to get to know your interviewee without either of you feeling rushed.

2. Do your research on the candidate before they arrive

Before your candidate walks through your company's doors, you should know as much about them as possible. Doing your research on your potential candidates equips you with valuable information ahead of time and also allows you to save time during the actual interview because you won't have to ask the basic get-to-know-you questions. Your research may consist of the candidate's resume, cover letter, CV, social media or other online profiles and portfolio.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

3. Have all information on the candidate available

When interviewing a candidate, you should have the information they provided available during the interview for easy reference. For example, you should print out their resume and other pertinent information to have on hand so you don't have to spend time looking through your email or files.

4. Know what you are looking for in a potential employee

Before you can find a good candidate for the position you are trying to fill, you first need to spend some time determining what you are actually looking for in a candidate. You may explore the exact duties of the job, decide which skills are most important for the position and speak with others who hold the same or similar position to get their input. You can also review the qualities, skills and knowledge that people who previously held the position had. The better understanding you have of the ideal candidate you are looking for, the more likely you are to find them through the interview process.

5. Follow a consistent interview structure

Putting a consistent interview structure in place can help your interviews run more smoothly by giving you a predictable format to follow for each interview. An example of an interview structure is as follows: introduction phase, standard interview questions, behavioral interview questions, final questions with an opportunity for the candidate to ask their own questions and the conclusion of the interview. Choose an interview format that works best for you and decide what will occur during each phase of the interview.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Job Interview Etiquette

6. Ask the right questions

A major component of a successful job interview is knowing which questions to ask. There are several different types of interview questions you can use; however, the specific questions you ask should be based on the job and the information you wish to learn about your candidate. The following are a few of the most common types of interview questions:

  • Situational/hypothetical questions

  • General questions

  • Fact-based questions

  • Behavioral questions

  • Opinion questions

  • Brainteaser questions

  • Competency questions

  • Skills-based questions

Additionally, it's important to know what types of questions you cannot ask during an interview. The following are topics you should avoid during an interview:

  • A person's age, religion, race or marital status

  • Whether a candidate is pregnant or other questions pertaining to pregnancy

  • Gender identity

  • Disabilities

  • Salary history

Related: 9 Best Questions to Ask Your Interviewer (With Video Examples)

7. Be clear about what the job will require and what you are looking for

Another important aspect of a successful interview is being clear about what you are looking for in a candidate as well as what the job will entail. Even if the job posting was specific and descriptive, it's still imperative that you review this information with the candidate and ensure they have a good understanding of what you expect. This can give the candidate an opportunity to make sure the job is right for them as well as verify that they possess the skills and experience needed to be successful in the position.

8. Determine how you will rate each candidate

Creating and using a rating system for the candidates you interview is the final important step in conducting effective interviews. You should take notes during the interview process and decide on a set rating system to rate each person. You may decide on a certain rating system for each skill you are looking for or give each candidate an overall rating. The important thing is to stay consistent and use the same system for every candidate.

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