Getting the most out of an interview


Whilst I advise candidates to prepare for interview, I often presume the employer is doing the same. However, on many an occasion, I’ve been proven otherwise.

A good candidate is an inquisitive one, and someone who is eager to sell their ability and find the right career to meet their needs. A good interviewer is someone who can both identify skill sets within a candidate and can determine both skill set and culture fit. Moreover, the person representing the employer should be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in the candidate.

However, I find these days we all live a busy and hectic lifestyle, and when it comes to an interview, preparation is left until the last minute. Sadly, when this happens, mistakes are made.

Re-read the Candidate’s CV:

Spend 10 minutes (preferably more) reading through the CV prior to interview. Make notes on questions you would like to ask that relate directly to the candidate’s work history. Look for areas that are unclear (reasons for leaving, stability, qualifications or lack of, competitor information etc). Direct and targeted questions are far more beneficial than “tell me about yourself”.

Competency based questions

Competency based interviewing (also known as situational questions) are very useful when assessing how a candidate may re-act in a situation. Unlike direct CV questions, we’re not looking at industry experience. We’re looking at uncovering how a candidate re-acts to situations and the lessons they have learned from the past.

For example “tell me about a time when you experienced conflicting priorities?” or “Give me an example of when a team member was having a negative effect on your work?

We’re not looking to catch the candidate out (we’ll, we are a little bit). But we really want to know how they react to situations that may arise in your own company.