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How to Conduct a Job Interview (with tips from recruiters)

Conducting interviews is an important part of the job for managers and for HR personnel. If you want to select the best candidates, you need to make sure to prepare good interview questions and compare candidates against each other.

But in times of talent shortages, it’s not just about selecting candidates anymore. Because of a competitive job market, the best candidates can choose where they want to work. That means that you also need to convince the talent during the interview process more than ever.

So how can you achieve that?

How to conduct job interviews

The following 5 tips can help you conduct great job interviews that help you to select and attract the best candidates:

1. No stress interviews

2. Ask only job-related questions

3. Ask every candidate the same set of questions

4. Use a scoring system to compare candidates

5. Highlight the benefits of the company and the job

Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

1. No stress interviews

A stress interview can create an unnecessarily hostile and intimidating environment for a candidate. This can automatically lead to a bad candidate experience and leave a bad impression on the work environment of the company. On top, stress interviews can hinder you to make accurate assessments of the candidate’s skills and abilities, as candidates might not be able to present themselves authentically and perform at their best. Some managers want to test “stress-resistency”, but neglect that the interview is a very superficial setting and cannot be compared to work on the job.

Tip: Create a trustful atmosphere early. Be nice and show respect to your candidates. This will lead to them being more open and honest with you.

2. Ask only job-related questions

During the interview, you should focus on asking questions that are directly related to the job. Don’t ask about the candidates private life or brain-teasers that have nothing to do with a real job (“how many golf balls fit in a car?”; “what type of animal would you be?”).

Instead, asking job-related questions will ensure fairness and objectivity during a job interview (e.g. “how would you solve this typical challenge you will be facing on the job?”)

These types of questions will help you understand if the candidate’s expertise, experience, and potential to perform fit the job requirements or not.

It also will allow you to provide equal opportunity to all candidates to show why they fit the job best and lead to a fair recruiting process. Even rejecting candidates becomes easier, as the decision was solely based on skills and competencies. Lastly, these types of questions will also ensure a good candidate experience as they will feel that their qualifications and skills are being tested and assessed in a fair way.

Tip: Think about what type of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) is needed for the role. Then ask questions to assess each KSA.

3. Ask every candidate the same set of questions

Creating a standardized and consistent interview process will make your life and everyone involved a lot easier. You don’t have to come up with candidate-specific questions on the spot and you can prepare the same way for every interview. It will also allow for a more objective and fair comparison, leading to a better hiring decision. You will be able to evaluate the answers of every candidate against the same criteria and identify strengths, weaknesses, and differences among candidates in a much easier way.

This practice ensures you give every candidate the same chance and can avoid unconscious bias during the hiring process. Also for legal compliance, this approach makes a lot of sense. Asking the same questions to every candidate ensures that every person is not subjected to discriminatory or illegal questioning and that all individuals are treated equally and asked only job-related inquiries. 

Tip: Create a list of 5 questions that you want to ask every candidate even before you start the interviewing process. If you want to learn more about this topic, you can also check out our recent Podcast Episode where we share more information about the topic of interview questions.

4. Use a scoring system to compare candidates

If you are looking for a way to minimize subjective biases and provide a more consistent and fair evaluation process even more, using a scoring system is what you need to implement. This means that you assign certain numerical ratings for the answers that candidates give. Later you can calculate an average interview score and compare candidates against each other.

Such a system help you have a standardized approach to evaluating candidates on the same criteria, which in the end will make decision-making much easier and more straightforward.

Through a scoring system, you can also ensure higher transparency as you can clearly show candidates how they are being evaluated and why a specific candidate was not selected based on job requirements instead of subjective reasons.

 And the best part? You automatically have documentation in place for transparency, accountability, and compliance. 

Tip: You don’t need to go fancy here. A simple “1 = average answer”, “2 = good answer”, and “3 = excellent answer” is enough.

5. Highlight the benefits of the company and the job

As top talents are evaluating various job opportunities at the same time, it is important you show them why your company stands out from others. You can mention unique benefits, such as a positive work culture, growth opportunities, competitive compensation, or employee perks.

By doing this, you can increase the engagement and motivation of a candidate and open up a very positive conversation during the interview.

Also, make sure to leave room for the candidate to address questions and concerns so you can also create an additional opportunity to show what your company can offer to make the talent feel more certain about their decision. And even if in the end you won’t choose that specific candidate, by talking about the benefits you will certainly leave a very good impression about the company and the team which will encourage the talent to search for opportunities at your company in the future and inform people in their network about your great company.

Tip: Always assume that a candidate has many job offers and then ask yourself “Why take this role and work with us?”. This allows you to see the position of the candidate and formulate interesting benefits to taking the job at your company.

Summary: How to conduct a job interview

While it’s of course very important to select the best candidates in an interview process, in the last years it has become more crucial to also excite candidates about deciding in favor of your company. By creating a trustful atmosphere, asking all candidates the same job-relevant questions and telling them about the benefits your company has to offer, you can select and win the best candidates for your company.

Did you like what you read and want more support in finding talents for your company? Then ceck out our recruitment services for employers – we are a owner-operated premium talent consultancy firm that helps you find the best talents for your open roles in Germany and worldwide.


Picture of Laura Villafuerte

Laura Villafuerte

HR expert & Career Coach

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