Interview Tips For Employers

This is your opportunity to ascertain which of your short-listed candidates will best fit in with your organisation and the job.

Interview all the short listed candidates preferably on the same day. So all details are fresh in your mind.

Have A Private Area For The Interview

Some candidates or you may prefer to have the interview off site. Especially if they are currently working for a competitor. You can do the interview at your desk, but we have found that at a table is friendlier and less confronting allowing, putting both you and the candidate at ease.

Allow Plenty Of Time

Allow about an hour for each interview and 30 minutes between each candidate so you can review and summarise your notes and have a break and clear your mind.

You Don't Want To Have To Rush

For senior roles you may want to allow more time for the final interview. Get the opinion of others. Ask a fellow manager or even a co-worker of the new person to meet with the candidates; you all have to work with them after all.

Have structure but don't let this structure completely take over. Have some standard information about the company and questions that you ask of all candidates and take notes.

Talk 20% of the time and listen 80% of the time.

Information about the company. The candidates should already have done some research on your company but it is great if you can give them a brief rundown of your organisation and the job.

Closed & Open Questions

Closed question... Do you have a degree? Do you have a current drivers licence?

Open Questions start with Where, Why, Tell me, How, What... These allow the candidate to tell you more about the things you want to know, Why do you want to work with our company? How did you manage your sales territory? Tell me about a time when you have had to balance the commercial and scientific aspects in the development of a product?

Offer The Job

If you have found the perfect person, don't let them get away. Offer them the job. You don't want to go through all this again!! Good candidates are in demand so if you hold off and wait they may accept another offer from a company that didn't stall.


Always a difficult one. Science People, can assist in this area with information regarding current market rates for particular jobs. We can make the offer and handle the negotiations for you.

Competency Based Interviews

Many employers now utilise competency based interviewing techniques. Here they are seeking to explore your technical and personal competencies. Some examples are: -

  • Commercial Acumen - Ability to understand the nature of business and that for you and everyone else to keep their jobs the organisation must make a profit. Vitally important in nearly all private and many public sector jobs now.

    Example question: Tell me about a time where you have had to change your work due to changing commercial aspects.

  • Adaptability - Flexibility and ability to work effectively in a changing work environment.

    Tell me about a time where you have had to adapt to a changing work environment.

  • Influencing - Ability to convince others to gain their acceptance of ideas and using appropriate methods.

    How have you convinced people who are initially negative to your ideas?

  • Planning & Organising - Ability to plan and prioritise your own and/or others work, effectively perform a number of tasks at the same time.

    If you were successful in the job how would you plan your workday, week, etc.? How would you prioritise your workload?

  • Quality Orientation - Getting it right.

    Give me an example of where in you last job you have proven your commitment to quality and getting it right?

  • Attention to Detail - Being able to dot your i's and cross your T's, taking care in getting the detail right. Enjoying precision.

    Tell me about a time where you attention to detail has been of great benefit?

  • Learning Orientation - Always looking to learn new skills and improve your performance.

    If you find that you do not understand something what do you do? What further training or study are you considering? What courses would you like to do?

  • Customer Service Focus - Understanding and working from a customer's viewpoint and meeting their needs.

    Tell me about a time where you have gone out of your way to ensure that the customer is happy.

    This can be an internal or external customer?

  • Initiative - Being proactive and coming up with new ideas, being self motivated.

    Tell me about a time where you have identified an area for improvement and implemented it?

  • Building Rapport & Relationships - Proactively building a good working relationship with colleagues and customers so everybody works well together.

    Tell me about a time where your good work relationships with colleagues or clients has been of benefit?

  • Analysis - Ability to work through a complex problem, researching information and issues, identifying cause/ effect and coming up with a solution.

    Tell me about a time where you have had to work through a complex problem, research the information and come up with a solution. How did you do it?

  • Decision Making & Judgment - Being able to come up with an appropriate decision, in a suitable time frame. Considering all the relevant information and appreciating the consequences of your decisions.

    How do you make decisions? Give me an example of how you have worked through a decisions making process?

  • Tenacity - The ability to stick to it. Doing what it takes, and not giving up, despite obstacles, to achieve the desired goal.

    Tell me about a time, where despite obstacles you have stuck to it and achieved your goal?

  • Delegation - The ability to realise that you can't do it all and delegate effectively to others.

    Give me a recent example of how you have effectively delegated work to others, and given them ownership of their jobs?

  • Leadership - Personal: the ability to get the best out of your people, providing guidance, inspiration and helping others to achieve their full potential.

    Tell me about your management style and how you get the best out of your staff?

    Strategic: seeing the big picture, creating and defining a compelling vision and organising others to pursue it.

    What do you consider to be the challenges facing our company and industry? If you were successful what would be your strategic goals?

  • Communication - Verbal: this will be generally assessed during the interview both on the telephone and in person. Speak clearly, articulately and concisely.

    Written: ability to express ideas and information in writing using appropriate structure, grammar and language tailored to the reader.

    Ask for examples of the candidates writing if this is a key area of the job.

Diana Heery at Science People can assist you further in designing interview questions.


Back to Previous Page