How to Be a Top-Notch Interviewer  

How to Be a Top-Notch Interviewer  

For a seasoned HR professional, interviewing might be a skill that you’ve learned tons about over your career.  What about folks that don’t have an HR background, aren’t familiar with an interviewing process, or just don’t hire very often?   

These questions pop up amongst our partners every day, so we wanted to share 7 Easy Steps on how to be a top-notch interviewer.  By following these easy steps, you’ll be conducting great interviews before you know it. 


Step 1 – Be Prepared  

This might sound obvious, but preparing the candidate and yourself for the interview will go a very long way.  One of the biggest complaints that we see from candidates is that they didn’t receive the proper opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills during the interview. 

Here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and your candidate for the interview. 

  • Prep the candidate with Interview information (Who is the interviewer, how long will it be, are there follow up interviews.)  
  • Come with questions planned for the candidate.  
  • Provide a job description overview.  
  • Bring a copy of the candidate’s resume or application. 

Step 2 – Start with an icebreaker to make the Candidate feel comfortable 

Remember – interviewing is a skill just like anything else.  The less you do it, the rustier one becomes.  Helping the candidate get into a more comfortable atmosphere will help them convey their skills to you and give you a better feel for their fit in your organization. 

  • Ask them if they found your location okay.  
  • Ask them how their day is going so far.  
  • Tell a joke or give some background on yourself and your role in the company.  

Step 3 – Mix in a few open-ended questions. (This forces a conversation rather than a short answer.) 

The object here is to get a real response from them so that you can see how they problem solve and communicate.  Try to stay away from questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no”.  

Step 4 – Give clear and concise information regarding expectations of the role and ask if they see any roadblocks which would prevent them from performing these duties.  

This is very important and if not paid attention to, can really land you in trouble.  For instance, it’s okay to ask a candidate if they have reliable transportation…right?  Wrong.  If driving your own car is part of the job duties, then yes, that would be an appropriate question.  However, if all you really want to know is if the candidate can arrive to work on time, then there’s a better and more compliant way of asking.  Try “Here at XYZ company, we really value punctuality.  Is there any reason why you wouldn’t be able to show up to work on time?” Now you’re asking questions that lead directly back to the just duties and requirements. 

When in doubt, always structure your questions so that they are directly related to the skills and duties required to do the job. 

Step 5 – Share your company Culture and Vision  

This is perhaps one of the most important steps of all.  Skills can be trained, but shared values can be a very difficult hurdle to overcome.  By making sure that your core values and vision are shared with the candidate, you can choose team members that better align with your overall mission and will fit in better with the culture of your team.  Take extra time during this step, a bad cultural fit will cost you too much time down the road. 

  • Ask them if they feel like they align well with your company culture.  
  • Ask them what their vision for their career is.  

Step 6 – Wrap up  

Wrapping up properly will help you secure great talent, and also get referrals from folks that might not end up getting the position.  The last two steps can make or break your reputation as a company, especially if the workforce in your industry communicates with each other about opportunities.  Let’s say that you turn down four people for every one person you hire.  That’s four times the amount of people that could either give your company a good review or a bad review.  Keep in mind, people learn, grow, and could make a wonderful addition to your team down the road.  So, take care of them! 

  • Let the candidate know when you plan to make a decision.  
  • Advise them on what the next steps are.  
  • Verify the best contact information to reach back out to them (Don’t forget to offer to text them. Text messaging is a HUGE resource these days in recruiting!)  

Step 7 – FOLLOW UP  

Don’t forget to follow up as promised! A candidate you interview today may not fit your current needs but could be a fit for a future position. 


So, there it is!  Keep in mind, these are just meant to be steps to build on and there’s a ton of information online that can help you hone your interviewing skills.  Please feel free to reach out to us at any time to discuss more in-depth ideas as well.  Good luck on your many future interviewing successes! 

– Heather Dugger



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