HR Corner – Easy Steps to Interviewing Potential Hires


The job interview is a large factor and powerful force in the employee selection and hiring process. A job interview is the only tool employers can use to get to know candidates and is a necessary step in finding the right candidates to fill open positions. It can be intimating sitting on the other side of the interview process, but with the right tools and knowledge, you can be assured you are asking the right questions and appropriately assessing a candidate’s qualifications for the job.


How to Select Candidates to Interview

Your starting point before scheduling a job interview with a candidate is to review each candidate’s résumé. When faced with 50–100 candidates, it’s important to use tools or certain qualifications that separate the great candidates from the many. For example, does the candidate meet the educational requirements for the job? Does their past experience hold relevant to the open position? Such eliminations will help you select the right candidates.

Telephone Screen Candidates Prior to an Interview

Having narrowed down the pile of résumés, the telephone interview can further allow you to determine if the candidate’s qualifications, experience and other items listed on their résumé are congruent with the position and organization. The telephone job interview saves time and ultimately eliminates even more candidates from the running.

Ask questions about their résumé, such as:

• Can you tell me a little bit about your listed skills?
• What experiences do you have that are specific to this position?
• Describe your educational background.

This will help you understand what they meant by using keywords such as “goal-oriented” and “loves fast-paced environments.”

Before hanging up, ask candidates if they are willing to agree to a drug test, a criminal background check, references check, educational background check and others as appropriate for the position. If the candidate’s responses to these questions satisfy the screener, let the interviewee know they will be following up to schedule an in-person interview soon. If not, tell the candidate that you have other candidates who appear to have credentials and experience that more closely match the expectations of the position, and end the interview there.

In-Person Interview

Start by identifying what you want the employee to do in the open job. Review the job description prior to the interview and re-evaluate the requirements of the position. Make a list of questions to ask each candidate during the interview. A structured list allows you to make comparisons between the various answers of your interviewees.

Examples of some traditional interview questions:

• How would you describe yourself?
• What are your long-term and short-term goals and objectives?
• What do you really want to do in life?
• How well do you work with people?
• Do you prefer working alone or in teams?
• How do you determine or evaluate success?

Make sure to ask questions that pertain to the job requirements and skills necessary to perform the task that will be required of them.

Assess Candidates Following the In-Person Interviews

First, evaluate the candidate’s qualifications for the position by creating a scale system: rate their education/training, work experience, technical skills, leadership skills, interpersonal skills, time management, teamwork, etc., and compare the highest ranking candidates from there.

Once you have narrowed it down to the best candidates based on the created scale system, evaluate the remaining candidates based on how well you think they will fit within your company. Will other employees work well with them? Do you feel like the candidate’s personality shined through during the interview? Sometimes a second interview is needed if you have narrowed down a large field or would like others in the company to meet with the potential hires.

Present Official Offer Letter

Once you have selected the most qualified candidate, prepare a written offer letter that includes the position; states and formalizes the salary, reporting relationship, supervising relationships; and any other benefits or commitments.

Once the candidate signs the offer letter and formally accepts the job, schedule the new employee’s start date and take a deep breath – you’ve just completed the interview process painlessly and appropriately.

Resources: Human Resources. (2009).