You’re well versed in your job and field, but when charged with making a new hire, you may find yourself wondering where to begin. In a candidate driven job market, it’s important to take the interviewing process seriously in order to attract the right talent. We’ve put together some of our most valuable tips to help you conduct a great interview and land the perfect candidate.

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Create a Positive Candidate Experience:

1. Be Prepared – If this role is important for you to fill, then it’s important that you’ve prepared yourself for your meeting with the applicant. Show you have respect for them and the process by:

• Greeting them promptly & warmly
• Not taking phone calls or checking email during the interview
• Being knowledgeable about the candidate’s background before the interview

2. Put the Candidate at Ease – Engage in basic rapport building to start. This could be as simple as asking how their commute went or offering something to drink. The more comfortable they feel, the more open they will be.

3. Set the Agenda – Before asking any questions, clearly state what you’re going to cover in the interview. Offering a brief outline will not only keep you on track, but make sure the candidate knows what to expect.

Uncover Potential:

Gain an understanding of not only the candidate’s skills, but their motivations, drivers and goals through a series of open-ended and behavioral-based questions. By the end, you should know the following:

• The reasons why they left each job and what attracted them to each subsequent position
• Tasks they have been responsible for in their past jobs and what they liked or didn’t like about it
• Specifically, their experience with certain software programs
• The impact they have had on the companies they have worked for
• What gives them the most satisfaction in their work
• Goals for their next role and long-term career track
• The reasons they want to be hired for your open role
• What attracted them to your company
• The reasons for a new job search at this specific point in time. Why now?
• What, if anything would make them stay in their current role?

Avoid These Questions:

When it comes to what is and isn’t appropriate to ask a candidate, the parameters aren’t always clear. Play it safe and forgo the following subjects and questions:

1. Age – Most professionals know asking “How old are you” is off-limits. But any question that can determine age should be avoided.

• When did you graduate from school?
• How long have you been working?
• Can you rent a car?

2. Personal Life – Building rapport is one thing, but digging into family, health and living situations is another.

• Are you single/engaged/married?
• Do you have children or plan to?
• Have you had any recent or past health issues?

3. Background – Steer clear of any question that attempts to uncover someone’s national origin or ethnic background.

• Are you a U.S. Citizen?
• How long have you lived here?
• Where is your family from?

4. Associations – Questions regarding religious views, political affiliations & sexual orientation are unacceptable (and illegal).

• Are you a part of any non-professional organizations?
• Will you need personal time for religious holidays?

* Salary History – On Oct. 31, it became illegal for public and private employers of any size in New York City to inquire about an applicant’s salary history during the hiring process, including on applications, in interviews and even while conducting reference checks. Read more about NYC’s Salary History Ban here.


Atrium’s Complete Guide to Conducting Great Interviews

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Caitie Lowrey
Caitie Lowrey

Caitie Lowrey served as Atrium's Content Manager and a contributor to The Career Column and HR Blog. With experience as both a writer and recruiter, she offers insider tips and career advice that is both valuable and relevant to today’s job seeker and employer.