Suggested Scheme For Sequence Of A Recruitment Interview

This framework is not intended to be used rigidly and can be varied to suit circumstances.  For example, a school leaver is a different case from an experienced manager.  However, the advantage of starting (after initial chat) with current job (or current school, if a school leaver) is that the interviewee should be able to talk fairly readily about it without feeling threatened.


Preparing For The Interview

  1. This is the last opportunity to check that all the administrative arrangements have been made.
  2. Read the job description, the employee specification and the candidate’s application form once more. Have you decided which parts of the candidate’s background need to be explored more thoroughly?  Have you the specialist information you require to check his stated qualifications and experience?


Immediately Before The Interview

  1. Check that the room is comfortable. Place the candidate’s chair where there will be the fewest physical barriers between the two of you.  If you are forced to interview at your desk, place the candidate’s chair at an angle to your own.  Retain the application form but remove any books or papers which may distract them.  Is there an ashtray?
  2. Check that you will not be interrupted by the telephone or personal callers.
  3. Make certain that you will be able to see the time without this being obvious to the candidate.
  4. You will need to take some notes during the interview. Is there paper and pencil to hand?  Are his personal papers to hand?
  5. Ensure the comfort of the candidate – an interviewee can be feeling untidy or tired from a long journey – give him/her the chance to “freshen up”.

The Interview

  1. Introduce yourself to the candidate. Make certain that he/she is settled.  Explain that you now wish to obtain a fuller picture of his/her background and the procedure that will follow, i.e. “later you will meet  X” etc.  Tell them that their own questions will be answered later.
  2. Explain a little way into the interview that you will taking down a few notes. (These should cover only important facts.)
  3. Start with an open question to get the discussion moving (e.g. “Perhaps we could start by talking about your present job. How large is the company and what does it do?”).
  4. Follow with probe questions to obtain more detailed information (e.g. “How effective has this been?”: “In what way?”: “What reasons were given to you for that decision?”).
  5. Use link questions to open up new subjects for discussion (e.g. “Speaking of prosecutions, what contact do you have with the local police?”: “Talking about education, I see you’ve passed the educational examination for ….”).
  6. Summarise at intervals so that the candidate has an opportunity to correct or amplify a statement (e.g. “So you’ve been with the firm for two years and you really feel that they are not exploiting your potential”). This also provides opportunities for other questions (e.g. “I suppose sometimes you wish you were back in the police force?”)
  7. Listen and observe. The interviewer must be sensitive to all that a candidate says or does, registering information as diverse as verbal statements, hesitations, nuances of speech, facial expressions and gestures.



A developing pattern of leisure interests can give indications, as we have seen, of intelligence and special aptitudes.  It can also give clues about his/her disposition (e.g. any official positions held in connection with these interests may indicate how acceptable she is to others and what role she most likes to play).


Evidence about the candidate’s acceptability, qualities of leadership, stability and self-reliance can be derived from her/his education, work history, interests and circumstances.  His/her behaviour during the interview will give other clues.



Ending The Interview

Once the candidate’s own questions have been answered:-

  • Find out what period of notice needs to be given to her/his present employer and when they would be able to take up the job if it was offered to her/him.
  • Obtain permission to take up references if they are required.
  • If appointment is subject to manditory medical examination, tell the candidate what arrangements will be made for this.
    Tell the candidate when they will hear the result of the application. (This is an opportunity to find out whether they have applied for, or been offered, any other job.)

After The Interview

Record immediately the results of the interview.  Write up your notes and make your assessment.