How To Start Interview: A Step-by-Step Guide (With Tips)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Interviewing candidates is a significant part of the job of human resource professionals. A good job interview can allow recruiters to learn more about candidates and also helps candidates to learn about the company. Knowing the correct way or steps to conduct an interview can help HR professionals hire the best candidates according to the job role. In this article, we learn how to start an interview and review some tips to improve each step of the interview process.

How To Start An Interview

Here are some steps that can help you understand how to start an interview:

1. Prepare for the interview

Prepare for conducting an interview by determining the qualities you are looking for in a candidate. Studying the job description can help the hiring managers in preparing a list of relevant questions for the interview. While reviewing resumes of candidates, consider skills, experience and education requirements for the job role.

Preparing before conducting an online interview can help recruiters address important questions during the interview. You can organise the necessary requirements such as skills and experience and use them to create interview questions. Determining the core competencies for the job such as knowledge, skills, attitude, credentials and experience can help interviewers decide if the candidate is suitable for the position.

Read more: A Comprehensive Guide To The Full Form Of HR In A Company

2. Create interview questions

Before starting an interview, create questions related to the job and its requirements. Preparing targeted questions early can show the professionalism of the hiring managers. You can ask questions that are appropriate to determine if a candidate is a potential fit for the job and the company. Make sure each question has a unique purpose and can evaluate unique qualities in the candidate. You can divide the interview questions into the following categories:

  • Behaviour-based questions

  • Competency-based questions

  • Follow up questions

  • Probing questions

3. Study the resume

Before opening an interview, take time to review the resumes of candidates. It can help you highlight the things in the resume that you want to ask the candidates. Highlighting specific details and then asking candidates about them can help you learn more about the skills and expertise of candidates.

It can also provide candidates an opportunity to show what value they can bring to the company. You can also contact any references mentioned in the resume and learn more about them. Analyse if the skills in a candidate's resume align with the requirements of the job position.

Read more: How To Review A Resume (With Helpful Tips And Benefits)

4. Open interview with a friendly conversation

Opening an interview with a friendly conversation can allow candidates to feel more comfortable. Before getting started, you can introduce yourself to each candidate. A friendly introduction can also help candidates provide better answers to your questions. Many hiring managers also provide a brief introduction of the organisation along with the goals and objectives.

You can also help candidates understand the interview process by providing them with important information such as the expected length of the interview. Here are some opening questions that you can ask candidates at the beginning of an interview:

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • What part of your resume are you most proud of?

  • What abilities make you unique?

  • What are the things that motivate you?

  • What led you to apply for this job role?

  • Why do you want to work for this organisation?

  • What are your career objectives?

  • Tell us the qualities that make you the best candidate for this position.

5. Ask interview questions

After introducing yourself and providing information about the interview process, you can begin interviewing the candidate. Ask role-specific questions and evaluate the answers of candidates. You can ask questions that help in determining how the skills and knowledge of a candidate can bring value to the organisation.

Many hiring managers ask questions to assess the leadership skills, time management, teamwork and critical thinking of candidates. You can also review the work history of candidates and ask questions related to their previous accomplishments. Here are some common questions that interviewers can ask candidates:

  • What do you know about this organisation?

  • How does this role align with your career objectives?

  • Do you prefer to work in a team or independently?

  • Can you tell us a major challenge you experienced at the workplace and how you solved it?

  • How do you plan to achieve your career goals?

  • Why did you choose this industry?

  • Tell us about your strengths and weaknesses.

  • How do you stay organised at work?

  • What new skills do you wish to learn?

Read more: How Much Does HR Make? (With Different Job Roles And Salary)

6. Allow candidates to ask questions

Many interviewers allow candidates to ask questions related to the job role and company. It can help recruiters check the enthusiasm and interest of candidates. In general, a candidate may ask questions related to career advancement, company culture or dress code in the workplace. You can also analyse the follow-up questions of candidates and determine if they are planning to remain with the organisation for the long term.

Here are some common examples of questions that candidates may ask at the end of an interview:

  • What qualities make an employee successful in this company?

  • Can you describe the company culture?

  • Can you elaborate on the primary duties of this job role?

  • Aside from technical skills, is there any other skill required to succeed in this role?

  • What is the career path for this job position?

  • What are the next steps of the interview process?

Additional Tips To Improve The Interview Process

Here are some additional tips that you can consider to improve the interview process:

Give enough time to each interview

Before starting an interview, decide a specific length of time for the interview. Knowing how long an interview may last can help you effectively manage the time. The duration of an interview may depend on various factors such as the job position you are recruiting for or the interview structure. Many hiring managers conduct an in-person interview of at least 30 to 45 minutes. Make sure you provide enough time for candidates to answer the questions.

Follow an interview structure

Setting an interview structure can be an effective way to evaluate candidates in the same order. You can follow an interview structure and compare the skills and abilities of candidates depending on their responses to the questions. Select a format for the interview that is comfortable for you and the candidates. An interview structure may start with an introduction phase following the opening, behavioural and role-specific questions and end with follow-up questions.

Read more: How To Answer The Interview Question: “What Are Your Career Goals?” (With Examples)

Use a rating system

Interviewers can use a rating system to find the best candidate for the job. During an interview, you can carefully listen and observe a candidate's answers and gestures. Many interviewers take notes during the interview. Set a specific rating system for each skill and requirement. Make sure you are consistent and use the same rating system for each candidate. Provide rating on how well a candidate answers interview questions.

Avoid asking questions related to religious topics

Many hiring managers avoid asking about certain topics that discriminate against candidates. Make sure the questions you are going to ask are carefully worded. Avoid asking about the religious beliefs of candidates unless the job is related to any faith-based organisation. You can also avoid directly asking candidates about any disability.

Read more: How To Write An HR Cover Letter In 7 Steps (With Examples)

Read the body language

Reading the body language of candidates during an interview can give you an idea of their confidence and abilities. You can focus on the facial expressions, gestures and posture of candidates. Many job roles require professionals to have confident body language. For example, a candidate applying for a customer service role may require open and confident body language. Frequent distracting movements may show a lack of confidence in candidates during an interview.

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