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Job Interview Advice For Employers

Here's some advice on preparing to conduct an job interview and on conducting the interview itself. The author believes pre-interview preparation is very important to success. Also, read about some interesting personal experiences that the author had while conducting several interviews!

In-Person interview

Early preparation

  • Reserve the interview room/location for the expected duration of the interview, plus an additional 10 minutes. Ensure the room/location is large enough to comfortably hold the interview panel members and the candidate.
  • Carefully select one or more interview panel members so that they have the knowledge/expertise and experience in the areas/subjects that are described as required in the job description. Send the interview panel copies of the job description, candidate's resumé, the interview location (e.g. room number) and the candidate evaluation document (or online link). If you are using Outlook (or a similar scheduling tool), schedule the interview on their calendars.
  • Ensure that the interview panel is familiar with the company policy on interviews and know what unacceptable questions are (e.g. asking questions about the candidate's marital status during the interview may not be acceptable (or even legal) depending on country/culture).
  • A couple of days before the interview, inform the candidate of the primary interview panel member's name and contact number.


  • On the day of the interview, inform the reception that you are expecting a candidate for an interview at a specific time and their name, along with the name and phone number of the primary person coordinating/conducting the interview.
  • Prepare to bring an electronic device that can be used to view the candidate's resumé (e.g. laptop), or alternatively print a copy (or more if there are multiple members in the interview panel).
  • If applicable, prepare to bring your regular interview questions relevant to the job description (e.g. document with many questions on different topics/subjects/technologies).


  • Bring a few papers and a pen. This is so that the interview panel members can take notes if needed, or if the candidate may need them to write or draw on, to elaborate on an answer. Bring the device to view the candidate's resumé (or printed copies).
  • If there is whiteboard in the interview room, make sure there is no proprietary/sensitive information written on it. If there is, erase it. If you intend to ask the candidate to use the whiteboard to elaborate on answers, make sure the dry-erase marker pens are good!
  • Place your mobile/cellular phone(s) on mute.
  • Visit the reception and greet the candidate warmly. First impressions are very important. If appropriate, verify the candidate's identity (e.g. ask to view their ID card and verify name). If applicable, obtain a visitor's badge for the candidate. Ask if the candidate needs some water/coffee before the interview starts, and offer some.
  • Bring the candidate to the interview room and introduce him/her to the interview panel. Observe how the candidate greets the panel.
  • Briefly introduce your company, your company values and your products/services. Briefly describe the position the candidate is interviewing for. Take no more than a couple of minutes for this activity.
  • Ask the candidate to briefly introduce himself/herself. Observe how the candidate speaks to the panel and whether the candidate makes eye contact with panel members. Make sure the introduction does not exceed a couple of minutes!
  • Explain the structure of the interview to the candidate before starting to ask questions.
  • Conduct the interview in such a way that the candidate gets more time to answer questions than you take to ask questions.
  • Conduct the interview in a friendly but professional manner.
  • Stay in control of the interview and the interview process. Do not let the candidate take control of the interview!
  • Usually, within the first 15 minutes of the interview, you/panel will be able to determine whether the candidate lacks required skills, lacks potential or is otherwise unsuitable. If that is the case, it's best to end the interview at this point. There is no point in torturing the candidate and there is no point in wasting the interview panel's valuable time.
  • Make sure to ask questions to cover all the required subjects/skills that the candidate must have to perform the job according to the job description.
  • Ask a couple of advanced questions that explore the candidate's skills/knowledge beyond what the candidate must have to perform the job.
  • If the candidate is finding it difficult to answer a specific question, try to re-phrase the question. If that fails to bring-out the expected answer, it's best to ask a related question if it's a required skill for the job.
  • If the candidate's phone rings, ask them to place it on mute (unless the candidate says it's urgent).
  • Try to gauge the candidates IQ/EQ balance from the interactions with the panel members.
  • Observe whether the candidate lies when they don't know an answer ... or just say that don't know the answer.
  • Keep an eye on the time. Plan to wrap-up the interview at the scheduled time.
  • Towards the end of the interview, ask whether the candidate has any questions for you. Answer the candidate's questions honestly. If you don't know the answer (e.g. salary offered) say so and mention whom to redirect the question to (e.g. to recruiter/HR).
  • At the end of the interview, even if you think the candidate will be offered the position, do not mention so to the candidate.
  • At the end of the interview, thank the candidate for coming in for the interview and show them out to the reception area. If the candidate was given a visitor's badge, make sure it is returned to reception/security.
  • Erase the whiteboard if it was used during the interview. Clean-up the interview room.


  • Place your mobile/cellular phone back on regular ring mode.
  • Think whether you'd like to work with the candidate on a daily basis. How would you like it if the candidate sat next to you at office?
  • Think whether the candidate will learn and grow as your company grows.
  • Complete the candidate evaluation document and sent to the HR team with your recommendation (usually: recommend, reject, or recommend hire for different position).

Interesting personal experiences

  • Once, at a large company, I was in an interview panel that interviewed this amazing candidate. We were impressed. We recommended the candidate be hired and HR offered the job to the candidate. We heard that when HR asked the candidate to come-in and sign the employment papers, they realized the person that came to sign the papers was not the same person that came-in for the interview! Luckily, HR caught this.. what if they hadn’t!.
  • At one company I worked for, the interview panel members had a secret sign to indicate to each other the interview was not going well, and that it's time to end it early.
  • Once, we had this candidate that received a call midway through the interview. He said had to take the call and went outside of the interview room to speak on the phone. We didn't think much of it. A few minutes after he returned, he said he remembered the answers to a couple of questions he failed to answer earlier, and went on to give the correct answers! We were astounded! (of-course, he was not hired)


Hope you get to interview and hire the promising candidates you are looking for!

- Nalin D Jayasuriya (founder,
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