Interviewer tips: How to interview someone for a job 🤝

Copied to clipboard

Interviews are your best chance to assess a potential candidate.

They are obviously an integral part of every hiring process, but many businesses fail to get them right.

Often, employers don’t even know the right interview questions to ask candidates.

When approached carefully, you’ll be able to determine a candidate’s suitability for a role, get to know their personality, and evaluate whether they’ll be a good fit for your wider business.

However, knowing how to interview someone for a job can be difficult.

Whether virtual or face-to-face, we’ve found that advice mostly stays the same.

So, below are the essential tips on interviewing someone.

Advertise on our job board now to find excellent graduates!

For more hiring needs, check out our managed recruitment services!

What we’ll discuss:

  1. The importance of interviewing
  2. How to interview someone for a job
    1. Decide who will be conducting the interviews
    2. Organise your schedule
    3. Prepare information on the candidate
    4. Know what you’re looking for in a potential employee
    5. Ask the right questions
    6. Have an interview structure in place
    7. Make the experience comfortable for the interviewee
    8. Virtual interview tips

The importance of interviewing

Whether you’re recruiting in fintech or looking to hire marketing candidates, interviews are pivotal for the application process of both candidates and employers.

More than anything, it’s an opportunity for you to learn from candidates and help your company to grow.

Here’s why you should ensure you’re implementing the best interviewing techniques:

Determine a candidate’s suitability


This is the crux of what you’re looking for.

Implementing good interview techniques allows you to discover if a candidate has the right experience, skill set, and personality for your role.

This reduces the risk of hiring candidates who are not suited to your role and company.

In the process, this saves you time and resources on rehiring.

At Give a Grad a Go, we have a database with over 400,000 talented graduates.

So, no matter how niche your role is, our expert recruiters will always put forward candidates who are a suitable match for your role and company.

This is just one of the ways we can help you find talent.

Allowing candidates to see if a role is right for them


Interviews are a two-way street.

As well as helping you discover an ideal candidate, it’s also a useful opportunity for candidates to find out if you are an ideal company.

It’s the best chance for candidates to learn more detail about a role.

For example, they can grasp the company culture, the day-to-day tasks expected of them, salary, benefits, and progression opportunities.

Interviewing a candidate gives them more insight, and helps them decide if they want to continue with their application.

You can do your best to assess whether they’ll be a good hire, but ultimately their judgement may be as good as your own.

See your company develop in new ways


Interviewing candidates can benefit your company and allow it to develop in unexpected ways.

For example, you could interview an exceptional candidate who may not be quite right for the role they have applied for.

This may inspire you to hire them for a different team.

Or, they may be good enough to justify a completely new role within your company.

This can often be the case with graduates, whose fresh perspectives can help you reimagine your processes.

Interviewing graduates lets you discover how talent can be repurposed elsewhere.

Understand how candidates view your company


Asking candidates interview questions related to your company, like ‘why do you want to work for us’ and ‘what attracted you to this role?’, is a great way to understand how candidates view your company.

Moreover, asking ‘what do you think we could improve on as a company?’ can be productively revealing.

It’s a smart way to gain constructive feedback and evaluate how effective your employer branding is.

How to interview someone for a job

If you want to know how to interview candidates well, these are your building blocks.

Our experienced recruiters have come together to devise a list of tips for interviewers in every industry.

These are the fundamental interviewer techniques: follow them, and make the interview a useful experience for you and your candidate.

If you need more hiring help, first learn how to devise a hiring strategy.

Or, if you’re ready to interview, carry on to our employer interview preparation:

  • The first step to conducting a successful job interview is choosing the right people to interview a candidate.

    You want to select an employee who will be working closely with the potential candidate and any other members of staff who will benefit from meeting the candidate before hiring.

    For a first-round interview, we recommend having an employee or manager who will oversee the potential candidate. We also recommend an employee from your HR department or another department who works closely with recruitment.

    For a second-round interview, it’s useful for a more senior member of staff to meet the candidate, such as the CEO or Managing Director.

    It’s important to have at least two members of your staff meet potential candidates.

    Each interviewer’s personality and interview style may help uncover different aspects, and it’s useful to compare opinions to make a more informed decision.

    A recent study from The Behavioural Insights Team highlighted how valuable an extra interviewer or two can be in making the best hiring decision. They find that three is the ideal number of interviewers to select the right candidate.

  • Whilst sounding obvious, it’s important to ensure you set aside enough time for each interview and fit each into your schedule.

    Having to cancel an interview or leave early looks unprofessional, and being conscious of the time during an interview may distract you from what the candidate is saying.

    Time and length of an interview vary depending on your company, the position being filled, and the person interviewing the applicant.

    If you’re wondering how long an interview should last, here’s a suggested interview timing structure:

    First round interview: A first round interview should last around 45 minutes to an hour.

    However, if there are two interviewers, each interviewer reduces the interview time to 30-45 minutes each.

    Second round interview: A second round interview should be shorter, as you will have already asked the important questions in the first round.

    The interview should last no longer than 15-30 minutes.

    As part of our complete recruitment services, we’ll help you decide on how many rounds are approriate, and the types of interviews that are required for your roles.

    For example, if you’re recruiting software candidates, we’ll suggest testing candidates coding and technical abilities through set tasks. Whereas if you’re hiring for retail graduate schemes, we’ll help you design and run an effective assessment centre.

  • Doing your research on a candidate before they arrive is one of our key interviewer tips.

    Going through a candidate’s application and CV equips you with valuable information ahead of time.

    It allows you to prepare more in-depth and relevant interview questions to ask the candidate.

    Having a rough idea of who a candidate is before the interview also helps make the candidate feel at ease by showing you’ve taken the time to properly review their application.

    It’s a good idea to print out the candidate’s CV and cover letter.

    Also, print out any other material they’ve submitted, like a portfolio, so you can easily refer to it during the interview.

  • One of the most important interviewer techniques is knowing the exact qualities and requirements you’re looking for.

    The hiring manager and the manager overseeing the role should spend some time determining what the ideal candidate looks like.

    This includes the most important skills for the position, what experience candidates require, and what qualities you’re looking for.

    Only once you have clarity on the type of candidate you’re looking for can you interview effectively and find the right candidate.

    It’s also beneficial to put together a candidate criteria checklist for each role, with a rating scale and comments for each skill/quality/experience that candidates need.

    This is our most useful tip on how to rate candidates after an interview. It is a useful way to see how candidates meet the requirements of a role and how they compare to other candidates interviewing for the same position

  • A crucial component of knowing how to interview candidates is knowing what questions to ask. It’s important that every question you ask has a purpose and helps you get all the information you need to make an informed decision.

    When interviewing a candidate you need to find out:

    • Whether or not the candidate meets the requirements of the job
    • How the candidate reacts under pressure
    • How well the candidate would fit into your team
    • How the candidate explains and builds upon their CV

    Wondering what questions to as a candidate in an interview?

    We’ve compiled some of the best interview questions to askm allong with some top tips for interviewers.

    Visit our blog on employer interview questions for the best general and specific interview questions to ask for a range of roles, or check out our video below:

    Tip: change the playback speed in the settings at the bottom right corner, to suit your learning requirements. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos!



    Emotional Intelligence is an important quality for candidates to possess and makes them an excellent fit for a range of roles. Often called EQ, it’s defined as the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of yourself and others.

    Here are some great questions to ask to spot emotional intelligence in the people you interview:

    Self-awareness questions:

    1. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses?
    2. How would your colleagues or friends describe you?
    3. Would their perceptions be accurate?
    4. How do you feel the interview has gone so far?
    5. Are there any questions you feel you’ve answered poorly?


    Look out for: any inconsistencies between how a candidate describes themselves and how they appear to you or to others.

    Self-regulation questions:

    1. Tell me about the last time you got angry at work.
    2. What happened and how did you deal with it?
    3. Can you tell me about a time when your mood affected your performance, either negatively or positively?


    Look out for: Speaking badly of former colleagues/bosses is a common interview faux pas and shows a lack of self-regulation.

    Social skills questions:

    1. Tell me about a time when you needed to influence someone. What did you do, and what was the outcome?
    2. When you’ve started a new job in the past, how have you gone about building relationships with your new colleagues?


    Look out for: This is probably one of the easiest of the five EQ traits to identify; you can use the candidate’s behaviour towards yourself as a pretty good yardstick for their social skills.

    Concerns will probably be pretty obvious, and will include things like misplaced humour or sarcasm, arrogance, speaking too much or too little etc.

    Empathy questions:

    1. Describe a time when you had to deliver difficult news.
    2. How did you go about it?
    3. What do you do when someone comes to you with a problem?


    Look out for: Watch out for candidates who blame their failures on others. You don’t want to hire someone who struggles to see things from other peoples’ point of view and understand others’ motivations.

    Motivation questions:

    1. Tell me about the least favourite task you have to do in your current job.
    2. How do you motivate yourself to get the job done?
    3. Describe the last time you went above and beyond what was being asked of you.


    Look out for: A lack of interview prep is one of the clearest signs of a candidate who struggles to motivate themselves.

  • An important part of conducting a smooth interview is having an effective interview structure in place.

    If you’re wondering how to structure an interview, we’ve put together an example interview structure:


    It’s important to introduce the candidate to yourself and the other interviewers in the room.

    Let each person give a brief introduction about themselves, mentioning their position and role in the company.

    It’s also a good idea to let the candidate know how long the interview will last and give a brief overview of the structure.


    Next, open the interview by asking the candidate to give a summary of themselves: their previous positions, where they studied, their experiences etc.

    This is a good way to get to know more information about a candidate and get a quick idea of their communication skills and personality.


    It’s then important to find out a candidate’s motivations for applying for your role, to see if they are applying for the right reasons and are genuinely interested in the position.

    Good motivational interview techniques to ask are questions such as: “why did you apply for this role?”, “what makes you a good fit for this role?”, and “what did you like/dislike about your previous position?”.

    Standout candidates will express plenty of enthusiasm and may have done prior research on your company before the interview.

    Therefore, they can discuss particular aspects of your company that made them want to apply to the role.


    To find out if a potential candidate has the right skills for your role, it’s beneficial to ask situational interview questions about a candidate’s previous position.

    Asking questions such as “tell me a time where you overcame a difficult situation at work?” gives you an insight into a candidate’s skill set.

    Make sure to tailor your questions depending on what skills are most important for each role you’re hiring for.


    Culture fit
    For a placement to be successful, a candidate must fit in with your company culture.

    Check that the candidate’s values align with your own mission.

    Also ask the candidate questions regarding their preferred working environment to see if it matches how your office operates.


    It’s a good idea to ask a candidate what their salary expectations are for the role and then inform the candidate of the salary range you’ll be offering.

    This allows you to see a candidate’s expectations, and it’s also helpful for a candidate to assess if the salary will be willing to accept the position.


    After you’ve retrieved all the information you need from a candidate, it’s a good idea to then open the conversation up to questions.

    This is a useful way to further assess a candidate, as an ideal candidate will demonstrate their interest by asking interesting questions to find out more about a role.


    Wrap up
    To conclude the interview, inform the candidate of the next steps of the interview process.

    Thank the candidate for their time, and let them know that they can contact you if they have any further questions after the interview.

  • Whether a candidate is a great fit for the role or not, it’s important that you make the interview a comfortable experience for them and that they feel at ease throughout.

    Interviewing candidates comes with a level of responsibility, and it is on you to make sure the environment is pleasant.

    This will help a candidate perform to the best of their ability during the interview, but it also helps create a great impression of your company and brand.

    If you’re looking for interview tips on creating a positive interview experience, we’ve put together our best advice:


    Be clear on what you’re looking for

    Before you begin your recruitment process, it is important to fully understand your objectives.

    When you’re about to begin interviews, revisit this and ensure that you’re clear on why you’re hiring, the responsibilities involved in the role that you’re hiring for, and why you’ve requested specific skills and experience.

    As a result, the interview will have direction, and as you present yourself as well prepared, your candidate will feel confident in your recruitment process. This can only reflect positively on you and your organisation.


    Be open and be honest

    By being clear and honest about what you’re looking for, and by ensuring the graduate has all the necessary information prior to the interview, you’ll see a huge difference in how comfortable the interview process will be for both you and your interviewee.

    Be open about the format of the interview and who will be present. This will allow candidates to conduct effective research, whilst calming their nerves.


    Know your brand

    To effectively convey your brand to the graduate, it is first important that you understand it yourself. Think about the core elements of your brand that could impact on your new hire and present this clearly and confidently.

    Consider how your brand values its employees, your organisation’s approach to personal development, and make the interview as engaging and insightful as possible.


    Be flexible in your interview approach

    Step away from your regimented interview plan and, instead, have a two-way conversation with your candidate.

    This flexible approach to the interview will allow your candidate to talk about their career and what matters to them, whilst bringing shy candidates out of their shell.

    By tailoring each interview to the candidate, you will be able to pick up on elements of your organisation that fit well with them, whilst helping them to feel valued.

    If you’re really concerned about how to be a good interviewer, this is a key point. Show empathy, be open, and help the candidate grow into the experience.


    Do your research before

    While it is important to allow your candidate time to effectively research you and your organisation, it is also crucial to do your own research on each of your candidates.

    By showing your interviewee that you’ve taken the time to read their CV and understand their previous roles and skillset, they will feel instantly valued.

    Checking their LinkedIn profile is a great place to start. Here you will find endorsements, skills, and details of any further training or volunteer work that may not be included in their CV.

    The recruitment agency that you work with during your hiring process will also be able to help you here.

    They will have already met the graduate and will therefore be able to feed you some further information about their experience and suitability for the role.


    Follow-up on the interview

    Be sure to follow up on the interview, either with your recruitment agency or the candidate themselves.

    Always contact unsuccessful candidates and provide feedback on why they didn’t get the job.

    Be constructive and helpful, and thank them for their time and effort. This will mean a lot to the candidate as they embark on future interviews.

    Provide your successful candidate with as much information as possible. so that they understand what their first few days will entail and how the process will work.

    Be clear about any probation period and what the induction will involve. Your new hire will feel confident on their first day, with a great impression of how your organisation works.

  • Virtual and phone interviews are a great way to quickly and efficiently screen a candidate before inviting them into a face-to-face interview.

    If you’re unsure how to conduct a virtual interview and wondering how to interview a candidate over the phone, we’ve put together some useful tips:


    Get familiar with the technology
    There are many options when it comes to choosing a platform to conduct your virtual interview – Microsoft TeamsZoom, GoogleMeet each being great platforms, however, what’s most important is spending time getting familiar with your chosen platform’s features.

    Carry out a test run with a colleague to get to know the functions.

    Having technical issues and being unsure how to carry out a technical function won’t help create a professional image of yourself and the company to a candidate.


    Inform the candidate of the time, date, and how the interview will be held
    Make sure that you clearly communicate to a candidate the time and date of the interview, along with the platform the interview will take place on and a link to the virtual meeting with login instructions.

    This will ensure the interview can begin on time and also allows the candidate to feel at ease as they can spend time getting used to the chosen platform.


    Choose the right setting
    Whether conducting an interview from home or in an office setting, it’s important to choose a quiet, well lit, and professional environment.

    Make sure you have a stable internet connection to avoid screen freeze or audio glitches.

Knowing how to interview someone for a job is an essential part of the hiring process, allowing you to confidently recruit staff for your company.

Asking the right questions to ask, setting a criteria for each role, and having a proper interview structure in place are just some of the ways to ensure a successful job interview.

Implement all of our interview tips to efficiently use the time you have and clearly highlight what candidates are the right fit for your company and role.

If you’re looking to hire graduates for your company, get in touch via the below form and find out how we can help with your hiring:

Get in touch

Transform your hiring process

Let us know your requirements and we’ll build a plan tailored to your needs.

    PhoneSchedule video call via emailEmail
    Was this post useful?