Conducting the Interview.

Hi everyone, I’m Julia Kernaghan from Project Ops and this is week 3 of our series on Recruitment. This week I’m discussing Interviews and I have some top tips for anyone who may find themselves conducting an interview.

Many hiring managers think that they don’t need to prepare for an interview because it’s just a chat and it can’t be that hard. Think again! Finding the right team member is crucial to the success of your team, you can’t just ‘wing it’. Hiring candidates on the basis of faulty interviews can leave you with underperforming employees, potentially impacting the business.

The interview provides you with valuable firsthand information about a candidate’s background, their skills, experiences, strengths and education; a sense of who the person is, their attitude, enthusiasm, motivation and creativity; and an idea of how those attributes match your role and position requirements.

To get the most value from an interview, it’s best that you prepare for the interview and not just see the interview as an informal chat. By having a structure in place for your interview process, you’ll avoid any interviewing pitfalls and objectively identify the best person for the role.


1.    Interview guide/schedule

Set up a general guide for the interview.  Adhering to the schedule will help you begin and end on time, and show that you’re respectful of the candidate’s time.

When creating the interview guide, the questions need to be aligned to the role description and role requirements. Vary the style of questions. Do ask more open-ended questions as these give the candidate an opportunity to provide specific past on-the-job experience to situations they are likely to encounter in your role. Closed-ended questions are perfect for when you’re looking for a simple information answer, just a yes or no. Hypothetical questions, these invite the candidate to resolve or react to an imaginary work situation.  

Outside-the-box questions may seem unusual, for example: Who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman?  What you are looking for in the answer is a candidate’s ability to make a decision and stick to it. Don’t overuse this type of question, but it can help to determine whether a candidate is a good “fit” for the work environment, or gain insights to a candidate’s creativity and sense of humour.

Try to commit the questions to memory so that you can maintain eye contact with the candidate.


2.    Review the candidate’s resume

Review everything the candidate has submitted; cover letter, resume, and certificates.  Note any areas that require clarification, such as gaps in work history, unusual job titles, software packages used and key achievements that you’d like more details on.


3.    The interview setting

Before conducting the interview, make sure that you’ve made arrangements to hold it in a private room.  A meeting or conference room is a better place than a break-out space or your office.  However, if your office is the only option, be sure to create a calm environment, free of distractions; clear your desk, forward your phone to voicemail, and put a note on your door so you’re not interrupted.  When planning the interviews, space them out and give yourself time to review your notes post the interview.


4.    The interview

Take the time to welcome the candidate and thank them for their time, explain how the interview will proceed, the duration of the interview and when the candidate can ask questions.

Listen and pay attention to your candidate, and if needed ask for clarifications. It’s also very important to give the candidate more details on the role and the company.

To avoid being dazzled during the interview, you need to be analytical and evaluate the candidate on the skills and aptitudes.  Appraise each criteria analytically – you can even provide a score from 1- 5.  You’ll then have evidence for your positive or negative impression of the candidate.

Take careful notes during all interviews to make it easier to compare candidates against the role requirements. 


5.    Closing the interview

With the interview drawing to a close, you can gracefully close the interview by offering the candidate a broad summary of the interview, providing the candidate with time to ask questions, and advising them of the what comes next and the timeframes to expect information.  Thank the candidate for their time and either stand or shake hands. This action formally closes the interview and provides a signal for the candidate to leave. Don’t forget to walk the candidate back to the reception or exit area.


6.    Reviewing the interview

As soon as possible, take some time to collect your thoughts, summarise your impressions in notes and review the interview (and with other interviewers who were present).  Detailed notes on the interview will help you immensely if the final choice is between several candidates of comparable skills and experience.

A well structured interview will ensure that the interview runs smoothly, that time isn’t wasted, and you’re able to objectively identify the best person to be successful in your role.  Good luck!


How Project Ops can help?

Project Ops was established 3 years ago, with the aim to assist and educate small business owners on what their requirements are and how to ultimately streamline their staffing operations.

Australia’s employment landscape has become confusing and daunting for business. It's full of complex policies and changing legalities, is hard to understand and even harder to keep up-to-date with. With most business owners being extremely time-poor, finding the time to focus on HR is usually less of a priority. That’s where Project Ops comes in. With Project Ops, we make HR simple!

We can cover all your end-to-end recruitment needs; we can set up your new staff onboarding and induction process; we can assist with HR Advice and can guide you through any tricky HR situation; we can provide compliant HR Policies and HR documentation (such as Employment Contracts; HR Letters e.g. warning letters, termination letters; Forms; and Checklists); we can recommend, set-up and roll-out online HR management systems; we can set up your Performance Management system and guide you through the process; we can assist with team planning and role definition; we can assist with leadership coaching; and the list goes on! If you would like to discuss how Project Ops can assist your business, please get in touch!

Project Ops are one of Australia’s leading outsourcing specialists, providing some of Australia’s best talent to businesses of all sizes for one-off projects, short or long-term contracts. Specialising in Human Resources (HR), Recruitment, Business Operations, Change Management, Project Management and Event Management.