What makes a job interview “good”?


What makes a job interview “good”?

Reading time:  3 Minutes

Potential employees may be the ones answering the questions, but recruiters play a huge part in an interview’s success


It’s not just down to the candidate. The way recruiters manage the interview process can make all the difference.

Be it as interviewer or interviewee, most of us have experienced that moment when the spark of potential fizzles out, and both parties know the outcome is negative. Sometimes it’s a case of being turned off a candidate when meeting them face to face. According to CV Library, four in five employers admit to being annoyed by a candidate’s attitude and behaviour during an interview, something it’s only possibly to get an informed sense of by meeting them in person.

But sometimes, it’s not down to the fact you’ve experienced a candidate’s flaws firsthand. If they were the wrong fit for the role from the start, or the interview process itself just didn’t go well, it might be worth considering what could have been done to avoid this happening next time. And there are several interview tips recruiters can use to up their chances of job interviews resulting in a successful hire rather than a disappointing outcome – and that slightly awkward handshake.

Getting your process of pre-selecting candidates down to a fine art is key to boosting your ratio of positive to negative interviews. By filtering out unsuitable candidates before inviting them to meet you in person, you avoid wasting your time – and theirs. Video interviews are a time-efficient way to get a better sense of the person behind the impressive CV, and assess how well their personality will gel with your client’s company culture. These days, there’s video-interview recruitment software developed by psychologists that helps recruiters compare candidates like-for-like based on their performance. Another option involves pre-interview online assessments tools that test candidates’ skills and cognitive abilities.

It’s also important to set candidates’ expectations from the moment they first hear about the job – achieved through a thorough, transparent job description, and good communication with the candidate throughout the recruitment process. While interviews can and should offer a chance for potential employees to find out about the role, it really shouldn’t be the point where the bomb is dropped about any deal-breakers – things like salary, amount of travel required, or non-negotiable skills and experience that may not be as obvious as they seem to the client. Similarly, positive aspects of the role, such as the option of flexible working, should be communicated from the start, to really sell the position and attract a broader range of talent.

After the pre-selection stage, there are two key variables recruiters can control for the interview itself. And the first is the setting. Sourcing the right space for the interview is integral to creating a professional environment that allows you to really focus, and to encourage the interviewee to perform at their best. A bustling coffee shop isn’t sufficient. Instead, recruiters need drop-in access to private, high-quality meeting rooms that create the right impression.

The second variable is the interview content. Good interview techniques are primarily about asking good interview questions – ones that fully assess both a candidates’ soft and hard skills, and that allow recruiters to measure and compare responses. But also, beyond this, consider which types of interview may work best for the particular company you are recruiting for. If, for example, the candidate needs to present their creative portfolio in the interview, how much time have you factored in for this, and how will you assess and compare it to others? Have you liaised with the client about a potential task for the candidate to complete beforehand and present the outcome during the interview – or perhaps you have an idea for a live, 10-minute task they can complete to demonstrate their capability under pressure? Moving beyond competency-based questioning could help certain candidates shine in unexpected ways – and unearth something you could easily have missed by simply sticking to a Q&A format.

Remember, a good job interview isn’t complete until an offer has been made or denied. Be it positive or negative, informing a candidate of interview decisions in a timely, respectful manner, and offering feedback either way, creates a positive impression on behalf of your client – which may help attract talent later down the line if and when word spreads.


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