Critical considerations when interviewing candidates

You've probably searched the internet for this so many times before: How to interview candidates?

Candidates aren’t the only ones who brace for job interviews, interviewers themselves also have to prep for rounds and rounds of interviews with applicants. But before you can even conduct a great interview, you need to know how to be a good interviewer first.

Here are some vital tips to think about that can make the difference between choosing the right or wrong candidate.

7 Impactful questions to ask

These questions are great for giving insight to a candidate’s motivations and also help you in making a decision.

QuestionsHow to leverage the question

"Tell me about yourself?"


This is important because it showcases a candidate's ability to answer promptly and clearly about himself or herself. This also gives an idea about their personality and working style.


“Why are you the right person for the job?”


Some may give a list of qualities and tell you how they fit the position, others may focus on their passion for the industry. Consider how their answer fits in with your current team and business goals and values as a whole.


“What do you know about our company?”


This determines if the candidate made an effort into researching the company. Furthermore, you want people who do their research.


“What are your biggest weaknesses?”


This tests the candidate’s willingness to accept their flaws because humility is a quality you should also want in your company.


”Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”


Shows the candidate’s enthusiasm and drive to work. Candidates with strong professional aspirations can easily answer this question.


”What do you like to do in your free time?”


Finding out what the candidates do in their free time can help you decide whether they will integrate successfully with your current team.


“Do you have any questions about the position or our company?”


You're looking for their engagement and interest. This is a great leading question that lets candidates find out relevant information. They may ask about how you feel the industry is or why you're recruiting.

Make it quick

You're doing a very important yet time-consuming role for the company. The first rounds of interviews should be simple and straightforward, maybe like a meet and greet then maybe a couple of technical questions. Call in applicants one by one and ask them about themselves, and if they have great impressions and resume details then you can call them for the second round of interviews. No more than 20-30 minutes should be good enough time to set up a rapport.

Fitting in

Ask yourself: "Is this person a great fit for my team?"

A person with a good education and training background is something but if he or she can't work with your current team or incites toxicity, then you're better off finding another one. Find someone who can work well with the team and go from there.

Calling for reference

The references are your “go-to” resources to confirm a candidate’s claims, background, work experience and anything relevant. Here are some of the questions you should be asking?

What is your relationship to the candidate?

Allows a hiring manager to confirm whether a job seeker and a reference ever worked together and perhaps to assess their relationship.

For instance, the reference could be a previous boss or a co-worker. In knowing the specific nature of the relationship, a hiring manager can better gauge the information provided.

Can you confirm the candidate's job title, dates of employment, and work duties?

According to a 2010 OfficeTeam Survey, 36 percent of Hiring Managers wanted to learn about a candidate's previous job experience and responsibilities.

Always verify the candidate's job title and dates of employment to be sure the information provided is accurate.

Can you describe the candidate's work performance?

It's easy for candidates to make bold claims on their resumes. But there's no better way to determine the validity of such statements than by asking a reference.

This question helps Hiring Managers to project how well a candidate might perform on the job.

Was the candidate accountable for performing tasks?

When asking references this question about a job seeker's work ethic, Hiring Managers should find out how the person reacts to a mistake and whether he or she could be held responsible for meeting deadlines and completing projects.

What are the candidate's strengths and weaknesses?

According to the 2010 OfficeTeam survey, 31 percent of Hiring Managers want to learn about a candidate's strengths and weaknesses when talking to a reference.

This question might help Hiring Managers determine how easily the individual can be trained and whether he or she is a good fit for the position.

What was it like to work with the candidate?

This question might help Hiring Managers to determine whether a candidate is a good cultural fit for the organization. It can reveal the candidate's personality, communication skills, how well he or she takes direction and if the person is a team player.

Why did the candidate leave?

This may clarify and also help managers gain insight into how long a candidate might stay with a new organization.

Hiring the wrong person is bad for any employer. Twenty-seven percent of employers report that a single bad hire can cost more than 50,000 USD, according to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey.

Company policies aside, would you rehire this person?

Whether a reference would rehire a candidate can sum up an entire conversation prior to that point, which is why it's often asked near the end. If there's only time to ask a single question, this should be the one. Don't forget to drill down to find out an explanation why.

Is there anything else I should know about this candidate?

By asking this, Hiring Managers can find out specific details about a candidate not addressed in previous questions.

For example, if a previous question didn't inquire about punctuality, the reference might now be prompted to comment on the candidate's late arrival to work.

Some extra but important things

Just like the candidates, interviewers also have guidelines in improving the interview experience and to also avoid blunders that will sour a potentially great hire.

The Do's

Take a look at the resume: This is the first reference available to you to better assess the candidate.

Give the candidate a few moments to prepare: Chances are that the candidate will be a little nervous. Allow the candidate to clear his/her throat or tidy up a bit.

Take notes: Write quick notes of any points of interest during the interview. You can use those for reference during the next rounds so that you don't repeat questions from the first meet.

Focus on the conversation: Don’t let distractions interrupt you or it may potentially damage the rapport you are trying to build.

Let them ask questions: They might have gaps in information that they wanna fill out about your company and the position. Be open to questions and answer them cordially.

The Don’ts

Ignoring the resume: Not giving a few moments to read the candidate’s resume will probably derail the interview with irrelevant questions to the candidate’s background and qualifications. Also, the candidate will likely sense this and might be turned off to the prospect of working for the company.

Comparing: Don’t ever compare between candidates in their faces. It is insulting to the candidates’ merits that aren’t obvious with the resume.

Phones: Don’t fiddle with your phone no matter how much it buzzes! Turn off notifications or just turn the device off for the duration of the interview.

Boasting: It’s always good to set the company in a positive light, but don’t get carried away. Also, refrain from praising yourself because it's not about you.

We all know the hassle and cost of a bad hire. Hopefully, these tips and guides will aid you in better hiring decisions.

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