How to prepare for a job interview – 6 simple tips for hiring managers

By Robert Half on 8 October 2018

As a hiring manager, it’s essential that you prepare and plan for interviews, just like a candidate will be.

This will ensure a professional recruitment process is delivered that is efficient at finding the perfect candidate for your company.

If you’re not sure how to prepare for a job interview, this article shares six simple tips for you to follow.

1. Develop an effective recruitment process

Firstly, decide what format the recruitment process will follow. Ensure everyone who is involved in the recruitment also clearly understands this process and the role that they play. Here are some simple questions you should ask to help build your recruitment process:

• Will you use face-to-face/telephone/video interviews for candidate screening and who is responsible for this?
• What questions will you ask in the 1st interviews?
• Who will deliver the 2nd interview and what questions will you ask?
• Will you be using any proficiency tests as part of the recruitment process? If so, how will these be scored and how much will the answers matter in the decision-making process?

The bottom line is that the employees you hire are only going to be as good as your recruitment process. Therefore, it’s important you create an effective plan from the start, which you follow every time.

2. Get complete clarity of the role and the ‘perfect’ candidate

It’s important that you (and anyone else involved in the recruitment process) has a clear idea of the position you’re hiring for. Do you know what they will be doing on a day-to-day basis, who they will report to and where that role fits into the overall company structure?

As well as understanding the role, you must also have a clear definition as to who the ideal candidate is. What experience must they have, what skills should they possess, and do they need to demonstrate any traits that will make them a good fit with the rest of the team?

3. Prepare consistent questions

Make sure you create a clear list of questions, to help uncover if the candidate has the right skills and experience for the role. By asking the same or similar questions across all your interviews, you will be able to compare answers between different candidates. This makes it easier to assess each candidate’s suitability for the job.

Remember, candidates will be preparing for this interview too, so try to craft some questions that they may not have prepared for. This will really test them on the spot and you should pay attention to how they deal with the situation and how well they answer.

4. Create a hiring manager checklist

If you’re still worried about how to prepare for a job interview, why not create a clear checklist that you, or other hiring managers can run through before each interview? Here are some pointers:
• Start with making sure you understand the company strategy, mission and structure
• Check you understand exactly what the job involves
• Make sure you know what company perks and benefits are available
• Coordinate with your team to ensure you’re aware of everything, particularly any new developments in relation to the role and team
• Read each candidate’s resume before the interview
• Write a list of interview questions
• Check your interview questions with HR for legality (it’s essential that any person conducting interviews has a thorough understanding of the HR laws around recruitment

5. Be organised

Before each interview, check you have booked a room that is free from distraction. Take a quick look to ensure it’s clean and tidy too.

Make sure you have planned enough time into your schedule for the interview, so you’re ready when the candidate arrives, and you don’t need to rush off towards the end. This ensures the candidate has your undivided attention too and you’ll be able to make a more informed hiring decision.

If you’re hosting a video or phone interview, do a test-run to ensure all the technology is working. This will help to avoid any delays, which could make you and the business look unprofessional.

Check you have the right resume and questions for the candidates and check over the CV one more time to refresh the candidate's details in your mind before you meet them.

Whilst you’re the interviewer, not the interviewee, it’s still important to dress professionally. You are representing the company and will possibly be the first person the candidate will meet from the business, so you need to create a good impression and smile to make the candidate feel at ease!

6. Prepare to be interviewed

During the interview or towards the end, it’s likely that a candidate will have questions for you.

Don’t forget that you will be selling the company to the candidate as much as they are selling themselves to you, so it’s important to be prepared. Make sure you understand the company missions, goals, culture, company benefits, progression path and more.

Speak to relevant parties to see if there is anything important you should know. Make sure you’re up-to-date on any company developments or news too.

Now you know how to prepare for a job interview…

Spending time to ensure you know how to prepare for a job interview is important. By being fully prepared, it will not only save time in the recruitment process but will make you feel at ease during the interview itself.

This can ultimately make the candidate feel more comfortable, which will ensure you get the best responses from them, helping you to make a much more reliable decision on your next hire!

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