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How Should I Structure a Selection Interview?

06 August 2013

As we have seen in a previous blog the interview element of your recruitment process is critical. This blog considers how the interview should be structured and how to design effective competency based questions.

It is recommended that you start by asking the candidate about their relevant experience to date. Working on the somewhat cynical basis that somebody else has put their CV together, it is important not to let the CV drive the interview. This question will avoid lots of waffle and whatever they perceive to be relevant experience will give you a big clue as to what they perceive the role to be. If it’s a sales role and they talk a lot about customer service, be concerned!

The next part of the interview involves asking candidates some competency based questions. Try and keep these as simple as possible and begin each question with something like;

“Tell me about a time when you used your initiative” or “Tell me about a time when you negotiated successfully”

The whole point of a competency based question is for them to tell you what they have done, as opposed to what they would do. Try and avoid questions that begin with “How would you…” as they will simply tell you what they think you want to hear, which may not reflect their true abilities..

The other thing to avoid is giving the candidate a scenario, so in other words, saying something like “You are going to visit one of our potential clients. What questions would you ask them and why?”

You would be better off asking something like “Tell me about a time when you developed a new working relationship”

As the answer to your question unfolds, you may also wish to consider asking the candidate:

  • What was their exact role in the scenario?
  • What did they feel was achieved?
  • Is there anything that they could have done differently?

Finally, once you have finished asking the candidate questions, there will be an opportunity for you to ask them if there is anything they would like to ask you. Consider how you would feel if their first question to you was one of the following?

  • What is the remuneration package?
  • What training is available?
  • What are the promotion opportunities?
  • How much sick leave do I get? – I was genuinely asked this question during an interview!

For further information about structuring an interview and designing competency based questions, please contact us on 07887 994300

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