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​Interview Tips for Hiring Managers

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​Interview Tips for Hiring Managers

Interviewing candidates for a role takes many different formats, the number of stages varies greatly and the depth in which an interviewer needs to go depends on the levels of skills that need exploring and the nature of the job. Most organisations will have some sort of process and guidelines in place, usually determined by their talent acquisition or HR team. The below tips are a short summary of the main considerations to help with the conversational aspect of an interview. 

Personality Test Review

When conducting an interview, you want to get the best, most detailed and honest answers out of the candidate. The best way to achieve this is by avoiding asking closed ended questions, or a question which would lead to a specific response. Avoid giving hints as the candidate may only give an answer that they think you’ll want to hear. 

  • “We have a sociable company culture here, does that interest you?” Instead try asking: “What do you look for within company culture?”

Understand the Purpose

For most companies, the purpose and main objective of the interview is to hire the most suitable candidate. However, it’s important to know exactly what you want to learn about potential candidates to find the best fit. Ask yourself, what do you want to learn about them? Is it their experience, strengths & weaknesses, qualifications, interests or motivations? Thinking about these prior to the interview can help you map out and tailor your questions effectively. 

Starting with “What” and “How”

Asking open ended questions is a crucial technique to use in interviews. They often lead to more in-depth discussions and can potentially reveal valuable insights, which could make or break the decision. It’s best to ask specific questions which could showcase their skills, experience, attitudes and opinions.

  • “What is your biggest weakness?” 

  • “How would your colleagues describe you?”

Encourage Storytelling

Now that we’ve covered open ended questions, it’s good practice to encourage sharing stories and narratives. These provide context and offer a deeper understanding of their experiences and perspective. 

  • “Tell me about a time you encountered and handled a challenge.” 

  • “Tell me about a time that you exceeded expectations.” 

Use Probing Questions

A probing question should be used after asking an open-ended question, they help uncover additional details and ensure a comprehensive understanding of the interviewee’s responses. When you ask a probing question, it allows the candidate to think deeper about what’s being asked and will therefore provide clarification and detail. 

  • “Can you tell me more about this?”

Active Listening

Active listening is essential in an interview, it shows interest and respect, in addition to help build rapport with the interviewee. It’s especially important to actively listen as you don’t want to miss a potentially key comment. Make sure you confirm your understanding and it’s recommended to take notes so you can refer back if needed and ask follow up questions. 

Practice Empathy

Open questions often delve into personal experiences and emotions. Follow up to a response by asking about their feelings. The empathetic approach helps foster trust and the candidate may be more willing to share valuable insights.

  •  “How did that make you feel? 

  • “What was important about that?”

Prepare a Question Bank

Having a bank of prepared questions means that you will be able to cover all of the relevant topics and maintain a conversational flow. Remember to adapt the questions based on the role or their response, to make the conversation more organic. 

  • “Where would you like to be in 5 years?”

  • “Tell me about your most recent role.”

  • “What is your work-life balance like?” and then “What would you change about your work-life balance?”

  • “What is an accomplishment you are proud of?” and “Why are you proud of the accomplishment?”

  • “How would you resolve a conflict in your team?”

Summarise and Clarify

Towards the end of the interview, summarise a few of the key points discussed so that you have a shared understanding. It gives the interviewee an opportunity to add any missed points or clarify their responses. Share the next steps in the process and finally ask if they have any questions for you. The ideal candidate will have prepared a few questions to ask you. 

If you would like more information or support with interview techniques please contact a Carrington West consultant in your sector or email us on