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Guidelines for Conducting an Interview

5 May 2010 2 Comments

The main purpose of conducting an interview from a interviewers point of view is to be in the best position to evaluate the skills, abilities and experience the interviewee. The interviewer has the chance to get complete information about specific topics he/they deem as a pre-requisite for the job applied. It is upto the interviewer to ask the correct question which will ultimately determine the choice of the right candidate.

However experienced one might be in chairing an interview but it is always good to prepare for conducting one. There are a couple of measures you can take that will ensure that the interview is conducted in a manner that will allow the interviewee to feel comfortable and perform to optimum levels. For the same to happen you are keep the surrounding quite so there are no disturbances, brief the interviewee of the purpose of an interview, tell them about the terms of confidentiality. Also prior to the interview beginning update them regarding the format that is going be followed during the interview. Before the interview finally gets underway do ask the interviewee if they have any question to ask and lastly don’t back yourself to be able to recall all the answers and proceedings of the interview. For that ask the interviewee for the permission to record the interview or then take notes as the interview progresses.

Let’s have a look at how best you can frame questions:

  • The wordings of each question must be uncomplicated – There must be an option for the candidate where he can choose an appropriate answer.
  • All questions must be neutral – No question should be framed in a manner where the answer will be influenced leading to either only a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’.
  • General questions should be left for the end.
  • When you have asked a certain professional or behavioral question pause and look for what the interviewee has to say, gauge the body language and eye contact of the interviewee to determine how well he/she deals with the subject.
  • For a behavioral based question you would ideally like to ask a question wherein you can determine how well or poorly one performed under a tight situation.
  • Be careful when asking technical questions – If you are asking some intricate programming language questions or asking some to solve a code as part of your interview test then be precise about the figures you have posed.

Let’s have a look at what you should avoid asking while conducting an interview:

  • Any question that is based upon finding the interviewee’s personal background when it not a part of the general questionnaire is deemed as discriminatory.
  • National Origin
  • Religion Followed
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Parental Status
  • Are you pregnant?
  • How Kids do you have?

To take your interviewing skills to the next level, you need to get training just like every other skill in life. A long time ago, I bought 96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire as a reference material to bring me up to speed on interviewing. Till today, I frequently reference this book before every interview looking for questions to ask before seeing the candidate. This book provides an in-depth discussion on why you should ask questions like “what are your greatest strengths” and “what are your greatest weaknesses” and why the candidate’s response is important to you. This book goes beyond supplying good interview questions, but uses an analytical approach to interview candidates and pull out those “red flags”. If you want to elevate your hiring skills to the next level, this book is a must read.


  • Danna Vaghn said:

    An insightful blog post right there mate . Cheers for the post .

  • admin said:

    @Danna. Thank you. I’ve updated this blog post with one of my favorite books to reference before I enter an interview. I typically review the resume, pick out things that are potential “red flags” and then use this book to find the right questions to ask that would either confirm or refute my suspicions. I also refer this interviewing book to my friends who are seeking jobs because it helps them prepare for the job interview a lot better. Even if they take a moment to think about the answers to some of the questions asked in this book, they would be 100x more prepared for the interview than the candidate before/after them.

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