How do I conduct an employee interview?

An employee interview should be a good experience for everyone. Make sure you are prepared, fair, transparent, engaged, a good listener, that you know what not to ask, and that you represent your company well.

It is a good idea to review best practices for conducting employee interviews and recruiting job candidates, no matter whether you are new to recruiting or you have been recruiting for years.

Get prepared to conduct an employee interview:

Be prepared

Potential employees take the time to learn about your company, industry, and the role they are interviewing for. As an interviewer, you also need to show up prepared. Familiarize yourself with the applicant’s information beforehand and compare skills and experience to the job description to see which ones apply.

Be fair

If your interview questions are not standardized, you will not get the appropriate comparative information to help you weigh your options. Ask the same questions of every applicant, treat each interviewee equally, and take steps to eliminate hidden bias from your interview process.

Be transparent

Job seekers have expectations about salary, career development, company culture, and flexible schedules. To make sure you are transparent, write an accurate job description, share compensation and benefits information, and be honest about your company culture.

Be engaged

Think about the interview as a first-date scenario. Don’t spend the whole time talking about yourself; spend that time focusing on the candidate.

  • Learn about each candidate’s hard and soft skills, as well as their career aspirations.
  • Think about how that person would fit into the role, the department, and the team.

Be a good listener

It is tempting to talk your way through the interview, especially if you are excited about the position, company, and possibilities. However, communication is a two-way street. If you want to know about your applicant, listen to what they have to say.

  • Resist interrupting or interjecting.
  • Listen for content and nuance.
  • Look for body language and other non-verbal cues.
  • Never make assumptions about what a candidate means. If you have questions, ask and carefully listen to the responses.

Know what not to ask

Keep the interview conversation focused on the company, the position, and any relevant skills and experience necessary to perform. Do not ask about these specific topics as they can be considered discriminatory:

  • Race and national origin
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy or number of kids

Represent your company well

Every interaction you have with someone is a reflection of you and your company. Follow these basic rules:

  • Be friendly - Make people feel comfortable.
  • Do what you say - Be on time and keep appointments.
  • Communicate - Let people know where they are in the process and the next steps.
  • Follow through - If you say you will call or email, do it. Always follow up after an interview or phone screen, no matter the outcome.