If you’ve never had to interview someone before you might think you can wing it. After all, you know the business really well so what’s the problem? Equally, if you’ve conducted lots of interviews, you’d be forgiven for thinking you don’t need to prepare – you’ve done it all before countless times so there’s no issue, right?

Why employers should prepare for an interview rather than fly by the seat of their pants

As an employer, not preparing for employee interviews can cost your company dearly. Interviews are an important recruitment tool and if you don’t get them right you could hire the wrong person and end up having to start the recruitment process all over again to get the right one.

If you want to keep your recruitment costs down and employee turnover lower, then getting prepped for interviews so you pick the right people for your business is essential.

What you should to do prepare for an interview

It’s a great feeling to have an interview shortlist – you’re one step closer to finding the right employee for the role. But to make sure you nail it you need to get ready for the interview stage.

Set aside enough time, book a meeting space and prepare it

It’s no good looking at all the paperwork half an hour before the candidate is due to come in and hoping you can interview them quickly in a nearby cafe. You need to make sure you have set interview times, have a room booked for the interview and have it ready to go with refreshments etc.

Let other employees know you’re interviewing

The last thing you want is to be interrupted when interviewing so make sure you tell staff you are interviewing and will be unavailable for those times.

Build an interview team if possible

If you can, consider getting other staff members involved in the interview process, particularly those who will be working with the new employee. It’s a great way to see if they will fit in with the wider team.

Review the CV and job description

Reread the job description and reacquaint yourself with the skills and qualifications needed for the job. Look through the CV and get to know it rather than doing so in the interview itself. If you already know it well you can use the time in the interview to dig deeper into parts that interest you. Make sure you keep a copy of their CV to hand during the interview to refer to.

Highlight areas of the CV you’d like to discuss with the candidate

Highlight any areas which need clarification, any gaps in education or employment history and any aspects you would like them to elaborate on.

Write specific questions/review competency framework

Your questions should be based around the job description and it’s a good idea to have a dozen specific questions if you’re interviewing multiple candidates that you can ask in each interview. It makes it easier to compare skillsets afterwards in your deliberations. You should also consider questions which revolve around cultural fit as you want someone who will fit with your company culture too and a CV won’t necessarily convey whether the person you interview has the right behaviours.

Consider/prepare for questions you might be asked by the candidate

If a candidate has prepared well themselves they may ask you questions about the role. It’s important you know everything about the role they’re applying for so you can clarify expectations. It’s also an opportunity for you to explain the benefits of working for your business. Put yourself in their shoes and think about the types of questions you would ask if you were the interviewee.

Practise your pitch

As much as you’re interviewing the candidate you’re also pitching to them about how great your company is. It’s worth practising what you’ll say because you don’t want it to be so lacklustre that they reject any job offer.

Recruitment guide