H habanero management social
0203 816 0873
Jun 28

Category: Interview tips

So, a team member has departed. Your first thought (other than the dreaded leaving do) is the need to find a new replacement.

While step one is, of course, to write a fresh and inspiring job description, we highly recommend that step two be some careful consideration of how you will interview potential candidates.

Interviewing is a crucial part of the recruitment process; indeed, it’s the best chance to make an assessment of prospective candidates’ suitability for the role. But before you can begin, you need to ensure that your interview technique is spot on.

Here are some tips for you to take away in order to make the most out of your interviews!

#1. Take control

As simple as it may be, you need to ensure that you’re the one asking the questions and controlling the pace of the interview. After the introductory ‘icebreaker’ stage is done and you’ve said your hellos, don’t start with the classic ‘Tell me about yourself’ line because of the majority of the information could be irrelevant. If you do go down this line, set a time limit to the question! ‘Give me a 2-minute overview of your career to date’ is much better.

Of course, it’s good to understand who the candidate is, but there’s a much better way to go about it! To make the most of the interview, start by telling the candidate about yourself, the role and the business. This can then give the applicant time to adapt themselves to the position. In most cases, candidates might be carried away to list their attributes and skills from their CV, which you’ve read already from a CV! Therefore, ask leading questions that will demonstrate how the candidate would use their skills to overcome a task within the role, this is a much more suitable alternative to finding out about the candidate opposed to finding out generic skills they have.

Read more: Your interview technique is probably useless

#2. Avoid closed questions

Now you’re in control of the interview, the next step is to focus your questions on whether the candidate is suitable for the role. Using closed questions that will only get a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer is ineffective, as it doesn’t give the candidate a chance to express and sell themselves effectively.

As an efficient alternative, you should be asking open-ended and leading questions that will really get to grip with the candidate’s experiences and skills. Asking questions such as ‘Tell me about a time you demonstrated effective team working skills’ enables you to understand how they would fit into your team and how the candidate will adapt into the role.

#3. Consider both the short- and long-term

Understanding and separating candidates who would be a good fit in the short-term and long-term is something to consider.

If you think about it, having a candidate that won’t be sticking around for very long will cost your business time and money due to the training required to get someone up to speed. For example, you could ask ‘What would you constitute as a great first year?’ Look out for answers that focus on how candidates would improve from the previous year. Also, see if they can relate from past experiences and demonstrate how they took the business further in their earlier role.

To understand candidates who are long-term focused, you could consider asking ‘What would you like to achieve professionally over the next 5-10 years?’ Having a forward-thinking, ambitious mindset can really highlight the great candidates out there.

Having the candidates CV in front of you, whilst the interview is in progress, means you can discuss what the candidate has achieved and look how the candidate’s skills have improved over the years! Make sure you’ve read it beforehand though! Under-prepared interviewers will almost certainly lead to an inefficient interview!

#4. Check your candidates have done their homework

Do you think it’s important to understand if the potential candidate understands your business and what the organisation does? Absolutely! Check how interested the candidate really is by asking them about their knowledge of your company and industry.

You should consider how exactly the candidate will contribute to the company, this can tell you how they see themselves fitting in as part of your team. Remember, their goals and aspirations should match your business objectives. Informed candidates will have a clear idea of your business direction and know how they want to go about impacting your company.

Read more: How to craft a recruitment process that results in great hires

#5. Seek passionate candidates

Now it’s coming to the last stage of the interview, hire for passion! Ask candidates ‘what makes you the absolute best choice for this role?’ This then gives them the last 5 minutes or so to really blow you away! You can find out how inspired and committed they are to the role by considering questions like ‘what makes you passionate about this job?’ Look out for answers that suggest they would feel inspired working in the role as it shows that they are a strong candidate for the job!

Read more: Candidates: How to successfully end an interview


There are two sides that make a successful interview. Whether you’re an interviewer trying to find the right candidate for the job or being the candidate hoping to be the correct fit for the job, 3Search can help. We’re a specialist marketing, digital and tech recruitment agency working across the UK. Learn more at 3Search.co.uk.