10 Tips for Conducting a Job Interview

You’ve posted a job ad and shortlisted your candidates―it’s time to schedule some interviews. For recruiters who are new to the process and for seasoned interviewers alike, it’s always worth reviewing the basics. Hire as effectively as possible by following our tips for conducting a job interview.

1. Enable candidates to prepare effectively

The interview process can be daunting for candidates. You can help reduce some of their anxiety by letting them know what to expect. For example, tell them in advance:

  • who’ll be interviewing them
  • how the interview will be structured
  • clear directions to the building and how to get in (or how to access an online meeting)
  • who to notify and where to wait
  • what the dress code is.

Some recruiters choose to share interview questions in advance. Others share general topics so that candidates know where to focus their preparation without overly scripting their responses.

2. Review your accessibility and inclusivity

It’s essential that your interview process works for everyone. Ensure the interview takes place in an accessible location so that it’s inclusive of disabled candidates.

You should also make it clear from the outset that accommodations and adjustments are available. For example, with neurodivergent candidates in mind, interviews should have flexible formats, with the option of breaks or extra time. Whether online or in person, choosing a quiet environment is essential. Things like background noise, bright lights, people walking by and strong smells may be uncomfortable for some neurodivergent candidates.

3. Get the questions right

Good interview questions should be:

  • relevant―make sure all the key skills and competencies in the job spec are covered
  • varied―a mixture of general career questions, situational and behavioural questions, and one or two fun or less predictable questions can help you get a rounded view of each candidate
  • fair and inclusive―using structured interview questions ensures greater objectivity in your hiring process.

Reread the candidate’s CV before the interview and have it to hand for reference throughout, so you can ask for further detail where appropriate.

4. Be aware of body language

The importance of body language is often flagged up in interview advice for candidates. But it’s just as important for recruiters. As an interviewer, you can use body language to put a candidate at ease and encourage open responses. For example:

  • when greeting a candidate, be ready to welcome them with a clearly visible outstretched hand before you reach them
  • show interest during their answers using gestures such as nodding, leaning forward, tilting your head and raising your eyebrows
  • discreetly mirror some of the candidate’s gestures to signal that you’re on the same page.

Seating arrangements can also have a big impact on how candidates respond to you. For example, they’re likely to feel less secure if they’re sitting with their back to the door.

5. Take good notes

Effective record keeping makes for a fairer and more accurate interview process. Using a standardised scoring system can help reduce bias and allow you to compare candidates more easily and objectively. Taking notes for every question will also help when you come to give feedback to unsuccessful candidates.

6. Catch up with your colleagues

Allow time for a debrief with your co-interviewer(s) soon after the interview. This gives you time to go over your notes, crystallise your thoughts, gauge each others’ reactions and reach an initial consensus about each candidate. This should make it easier to come to a decision later on.

7. Don’t forget you’re being interviewed too

Interview etiquette is as important for recruiters as it is for candidates―many of the same principles apply. So be professional at all times and try not to keep your interviewees waiting.

Remember you need to sell the role, and your charity, to the candidate. Showcase the best of your organisation. You could show them around the office, talk about some of your current projects and highlight the benefits of working for you. Our report shows that organisation culture and mission are particularly important for charity sector candidates. So focus on getting yours across.

8. Be ready to discuss salary

While your job ad should already have specified the salary or range, be prepared to discuss it further at interview. You can get on the front foot by using CharityJob’s Salary Checker tool. Just enter the job title and location and we’ll search all the jobs we’ve advertised with the same title in the last 12 months. We’ll then show you the average salary and the upper and lower ranges. It’s an easy way to make sure your offer is competitive.

9. Give a clear timeline for next steps

Take the uncertainty out of the process by letting the candidate know when they can expect to hear from you. It shows you’re a respectful and communicative employer who won’t mess them around.

10. Respond to all candidates

Be sure to get back to your candidates as soon as you can after the interview. If they haven’t got the job, send them feedback. It’s important to acknowledge and reward the time and effort they’ve put into the interview process. And they’ll be more likely to apply for a job at your charity again in the future.

Ready to use our tips for conducting a job interview? Post a job today.

Tags: charity recruitment, charity sector recruitment, hiring process, inclusive recruitment

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About the author

Tomas René

Tomas is Senior Content Manager (maternity cover) at CharityJob.