24 Interview Tips to Make Sure You Hire the Right Candidate

Judging people within the small window of opportunity that is the interview process is a skill that improves with time and experience. Regardless of the industry you work in or that you made the wrong decision.

When recruiting people for key positions within your company, you may well have to make an important decision in a relatively short space of time.

A CV can only tell you so much; it is the interview process which often determines the crucial decision. But how do you make the right choice within such a limited space of time? The key is to plan and manage the interview correctly to make the most of the time that you have. This short tips have gone through the initial shortlist process either yourself or by using a reliable recruitment company such as Precision People.

Needle in a haystack
Choosing the wrong person can cost a business dearly in terms of time, productivity and money. Being able to match the right candidate to the right position is a real skill - developing an instinct for making the correct decision does come with time and experience. However, if you have the responsibility for selecting personnel for your company, there are many simple, practical things you can do to make the process a productive one. 

Getting to know the candidate
The interview process isn't just about firing questions at the person sitting opposite you. It takes preparation, planning and skill to draw out the best in a nervous candidate within the time limitations of an interview. The key thing to remember is that you are trying to get this person to talk about
themselves, what they have done in the past and what they want to do in the future. The more detail you have, the easier it is to make an informed decision.


1. Planning is the foundation of so many things so plan the interview carefully. After all, you only have a short time to gather all the evidence you need, so make the most of the time that you have. Go through CVs thoroughly, make notes and highlight questions. Ensure that you have decided what information you want to get from the  interview and devise a structure that will help you get it.

2. People behave differently with different people, so ask your receptionist for their feedback. How did the candidate behave in the reception area? Were they polite to you and reading the company  literature or were they talking loudly on their mobile phone to a friend? Ask any of your trusted colleagues who may have come into contact with an interviewee for their thoughts.

3. Set the scene by preparing the environment for privacy. You need to ensure that you won’t be interrupted so divert your phone and put a notice up on the door ‘interview in progress’ if you need to. Think about how the room will be laid out – will a desk between you create a barrier and how will chairs be arranged to create the atmosphere that you are aiming for?

Be punctual 
4. Punctuality is important and both a sign of punctuality and  respect so try not to keep the candidate waiting. This will usually only make them more nervous, which in turn means you might not get the best out of them at the interview. Overly nervous people rarely perform at their best.

Don't forget to smile! 
5. An interview is an intimidating experience for many people. If you want to get to know the candidate, you need to put them at their ease. The best way of doing this is to smile. Smiling goes a long way and usually people will mirror what you do, so sit back, relax - and smile.

6. You are also trying to create an image of professional impression, so clear your desk and just have the paperwork out that you need in front of you. This way you have what you need at your fingertips.

At Ease

7. First impressions count, so start the interview process with a pleasant greeting. Introduce yourself by name and position with a firm dry handshake - don't break their fingers! As you sit down take yoru jacket off if you have one and check your body language. Remember that you are trying to put them at their ease so they will be more forthcoming.

Make eye contact
8.Make frequent eye contact- but don’t eye ball the candidate and make them feel uncomfortable! Looking  Looking people in the eye creates a feeling of trust and rapport.

9. Give the candidate non verbal encouragement. Look interested in what they are saying and maybe nod to showthat your attention is with them. Don't keep checking the  time or become too absorbed in your papers – it is very distracting!

Read the CV thoroughly again before the interview
10. The CV is an important document. As you are aiming to get to know as much about the candidate as possible, make sure you read through their CV before you start the interview – not half way through. If properly used, this document will greatly enhance the interview process.

Try to listen more than you talk

11. Listening is an under valued skill and surprisingly difficult.  However, in an interview, you should aim to listen for roughly 80% of the time and talk around 20% of the time. You want the candidate to open up but if you do all the talking they won’t have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and personality.

Check your body language 

12. Check your body language and consider how you appear. Try not to cross your arms or legs as this can look defensive. On the other hand, don’t be too laid back and slouch. You need to lean slightly forwards to show interest. Crossing your legs loosely is fine if it makes you feel happier, especially if you’re wearing a dress or skirt, but if you can ‘point’ at the candidate with your knees or your feet it shows you’re focused right in on them.

Non verbal clues 

13. Look for non verbal clues by reading their body language. Crossing of arms can make a candidate appear defensive, nervous or negative, whilst touching the face can sometimes imply discomfort, suspicion or a lack of truthfulness. Many candidates will be nervous, so the signs may be subtle, but they are there if you know what to look for.

Instant Rapport 

14. Breaking the ice. An interview is an artificial situation so if the candidate appears nervous start the interview by chatting something informal, such as their hobbies. Everybody should be able to talk about something that interests them – this way you put the interviewee at ease and create an instant rapport.

Take notes 

15. Note taking is a difficult thing to get right. You may well need to make notes during the interview, but you also need to listen to the candidate and it is hard to do both properly at the same time. Make some notes but try not to spend the whole time writing which is also very off putting for the candidate. Allow some time to convert your notes, ideally straight after the interview while it is still fresh in your mind. 

Diamond in the rough
16. Interviews are not everyones forte, so try to look beyond what the candidate is saying. Some people are very good at giving a polished performance but it doesn't necessarily mean that they are right for your position. Give people a chance, and remember that nerves can play a part - a
candidate may be right for the job, but they may not be all that good in an interview situation. You may find a diamond in the rough. 

Have an air of authority 

17. Have an air of authority – keeping the interview on course doesn’t necessitate a dominating or aggressive approach, but coming across as self assured and knowing what you want from the outset will give you an air of confidence.  Additionally, if you have a clear idea what you want, you are more likely to get it.

Plan your Questions carefully 

18. Plan your questions carefully before the interview. You are aiming to give the candidate an opportunity to talk about themselves, what they have to offer and what they have done previously, so use open ended questions to achieve this. Think carefully about what you are looking for and what you want to know and plan your questions so that they address the relevant issues. Read our useful blog post on hard and soft skills and also '15 killer interview questions' 

How to control a candidate waffling 

19. When a candidate is trying too hard to impress or is just plain nervous, they may talk too much. Using closed questions can help regain control over the interview if you feel like they are waffling or trying to take over. 


20. A good candidate will be in demand. Employing the right candidate is a mutually beneficial arrangement and you need to ensure that you make a good impression so that your ideal applicant actually wants to come and work for you. Be honest, but make the job sound attractive by outlining the benefits. Be positive and always strive to project a positive image of the role and of the company.

A balanced perspective  

21. A bit of healthy debate is usually a good thing and it is often useful to get different points of view – even if they don’t match your own. If you are conducting a series of eight interviews, build an interview team of three or four people and rotate them, this way you will get a balanced perspective of the candidates. Fellow panel members can confirm a niggling feeling of doubt or make you take a fresh look at an applicant and perhaps see something you’ve missed.


22. An interview should also give the candidate the chance to learn more about your company and the position that they are applying for. As the interview approaches its conclusion, make sure you invite the candidate to ask questions. The kinds of questions an applicant asks can be pretty revealing and will help to give you a good indication of how keen they are on what you are offering.

A clear finish 

23. Finish in style. Make sure that you conclude the interview by clearly signaling that it is the end and let the candidate know what will happen next. Then either walk them towards the exit or call someone to walk them to the door.

Be the employer of choice 

24. Have you expressed the benefits of your company to the candidate? Why would someone want to work for your company? What would it mean to you if they turned this job down. Remember the candidate is on the jobs market and may have several other interviews lined up. If you liked them, chances are that other companies will too. Don't lose an excellent candidate by having a lack of focus or because people within the vusiness are not making decisions. Get them lined up for a second interview as soon as possible. The candidate will also be impressed with the efficiency of your company. We have seen many candidates accept other jobs because companies moved to slow and miss the opportunity to hire the right talent. 


The interview is undoubtedly the main tool that we use when looking for the ideal candidate. If you believe that people are the key to any organisation then you will understand the importance of investing time and effort in the process. Like many things in life, you will get out what you put in. If you approach and conduct an interview badly with poor planning, you may find yourself re-advertising the position in a matter of months – or even weeks. But if you follow these tips and plan for success, your investment of time and effort will be well rewarded.

By asking these questions you should gain a very good insight into the candidate. Do you know about hard and soft skills? Read this blog post here: 'Hard & Soft Skills, what you need to know when interviewing." and also '15 Killer interview questions.'

Precision will help your business in all aspects of your interviewing process, including onsite training for line managers, advice, and we can even sit in on interviews to give an unbiased opionion on hires. We have done this for a number of our clients and it has proved very successful, especailly with family businesses who may not be used to interviewing. 

If you have a sensitive hire, and you don't want your current staff aware you are conducting interviews, we can help you organise meetings in our purpose built private interview rooms with easy access onsite parking close to juncrion 21 of the M1. Click here to see our office.

Contact us today for more information on 0116 254 5411 or email hello@precision-people.uk or book a call in our calendar at a time to suit you here.

Access the interview tips guide here

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18th July