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How to Conduct an Effective Job Interview

Published date: 2019/12


As any employer knows, the success of an organisation depends on having the right people with the right skills and cultural fit. While CVs can highlight a lot about a candidate, there’s only one way to get a clear gauge of their suitability – an interview.

When it comes to how to conduct a job interview successfully, preparation and structure are key, so we’ve compiled our best interview advice to help employers ensure they get the information they need to make the right hiring decision for their business.

1. Review the Job Description and Candidate’s Application

Prior to interviewing candidates in person, take time to review the job description and hiring criteria to ensure that interview questions align with the requirements of the role. Likewise, be sure to also look over all of the applicant’s documents, highlighting any areas that may need further clarification. Career gaps or enigmatic job titles are examples of the things that may need addressing, so be sure to strategically target these in the interview to pinpoint any potential red flags.

2. Prepare the Right Questions

It should come as no surprise that the right job interview questions will form the backbone of an effective interaction with a candidate, delivering essential information about the potential employee including their skills, job fit and even cultural fit. Over a period of time, you can track which interview questions worked best to ascertain the suitability of candidates and which answers stood out, and use these to form a blueprint for future interviews.

When interviewing candidates, steer away from close-ended questions that only draw out a yes or no reply. Instead, encourage continuous dialogue by using open-ended and behavioural questions. Questions that often start with “Tell me about a time…” are great examples of this.

Behavioural-based questions require the applicant to evaluate what they would do when presented with a realistic work situation by using examples of past performance, which can indicate how they might perform in a future role.

The list below offers some examples of open-ended and behaviour-based job interview questions:

  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What do you see as your greatest strengths?
  • Describe an accomplishment are you particularly proud of.
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What motivates you to do your best work?
  • Why did you leave your last position? What type of reference will your previous company provide?
  • Give me an example of a difficult decision you’ve had to make in a past role. What made it difficult and what was the outcome?
  • Describe a specific problem you’ve encountered in your position. How did you go about solving it?
  • What are the three most important attributes you would bring to the role if we hired you?
  • Tell me about a time when you’ve been overloaded with work and had to prioritise your tasks.
  • What type of working environment do you excel in?

3. Create an Agenda

When interviewing candidates, it’s important to set up a proper format to help keep things on track. Creating an agenda will ensure you have enough time to cover all the areas you wish to discuss including general introductions, background on the company and role, asking job interview questions and offering the candidate a chance to ask their own questions. A structure is not only efficient but also more productive, particularly when you have a number of candidate interviews to get through.

4. Conclude and Provide Next Steps

Conducting an effective interview encompasses mutual interaction rather a one-sided conversation. At the end of the interview, encourage the applicant to ask any questions about the position or organisation and be prepared to answer their queries. Follow this up by providing the ensuing steps for the candidates, letting them know when they should expect to hear from you and if the process will have any further stages.


Knowing how to effectively interview a potential hire is one of the main cogs in the wheel of the recruitment process. By following our tried and tested interview advice, you will be on the road to success when it comes to hiring the most suited talent for your company.

For more insights into effective interviewing or help with your organisation’s next talent search, feel free to contact our team.

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