Effective Interviewing: Does your hiring manager know the right questions to ask?

Interviews can be stressful, not only for the candidates but for your managers as well as they are often involved in the recruitment and selection process. Interviews are a common tool for employment decision making, yet many organisations have not maximised the effectiveness of their interviewing process. Effective recruitment processes and selection practices benefit the organisation by introducing new skills and experience that can improve departmental and organisational performance; reducing turnover resulting in significant organisational savings; and improved work environment through candidates whose values align with the workplace culture.




As interviewers, managers make important decisions that affect your business. The more you plan ahead, the more effective your recruitment process will be. The advantages of interview planning are efficiency, clarity, relevance, consistency and a good candidate experience.

The following tips can help ensure your managers create an effective interview and select the right person.

1. Choose the right interview questions for the job
In order to select the right questions to ask, you need to identify the key requirements of the job. Create a job description and profile that clearly sets out the most important skills and qualities needed for the job. Consider what particular knowledge, skills or characteristics would be important for success on the job, would fit well with the workplace culture and contribute to long-term outcomes (such as increase retention and sales). These considerations will direct you to the type of questions you need to ask.

2. Ask the right types of interview questions
An effective interview is one that identifies the best person for the job. Once you know what criteria need to be met, you can focus on questions that are relevant and that allow you to properly assess these criteria. You will need to plan how you will ask candidates these questions.
As past behaviour is one of the best predictors of future behaviour, design your interview questions using a combination of open, situational and behavioural questions to allow candidates to describe previous situations and outcomes.
Additionally, it is important to ensure interview questions are compliant with legislation. Avoid inappropriately worded questions that suggest employment discrimination of characteristics such as race, colour, gender, religion, age or disabilities.

3. Listen and take notes
Spend more time listening and let the candidate do most of the talking. Divide up tasks so that there is a note taker for each question as well as someone who will simply listen and provide a focal point for the candidate.
Jotting down key points to each response using a customised template form will make it easier for the interviewers allowing them to focus on the interviewee as well as making it easier at the time of
short-listing to accurately and fairly assess candidates.

4. Be consistent in each interview
It is critical to interview each candidate in the same way by asking the same questions and giving the same amount of time to answer them. Creating consistency across interviews will enable a more effective evaluation of candidates.
A candidate’s experience in the interview process will also affect their opinions about the organisation. Being treated professionally and talking with a well-prepared and well-trained interviewer creates a positive impression and experience.

These advanced preparations set up the framework that will allow your managers to conduct an interview in which questions get straight to the information required to judge a candidate’s fit for the job.

At iHR Australia, we conduct recruitment and selection skills training to ensure your line managers or those new to a recruitment role are properly prepared to assess job candidates. You can find out more on how to equip your managers to prepare for interviews, determine the right type of questions to ask and how to analyse a candidate’s answers here.

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