Back to list

How to Approach an Interview

For business
Feb 17, 2023
How to Approach an Interview

An interview can be challenging for both the candidate and the hiring manager. The hiring manager's role is more complicated, however, since they must assess an almost complete stranger in a relatively brief time, get to know the person, and decide whether this person would be a good fit.

Hiring the right candidate with a matching skill set is challenging nowadays. Job seekers are learning more about companies and recruiting processes on platforms like Glassdoor and various discussion threads, and as a result, they come into the process with a good amount of information. The hiring manager's role is to choose the candidate who is the best fit and convince them to join the company. 

In this article, we are taking a look at interviewing from a hiring perspective and identifying some practices that will help hiring managers throughout the interview process, including some thoughts on various approaches and preparation.

How to Handle the Interview Process Effectively

Requirements review

Before the interview, go through the list of requirements. Outline the critical soft and hard skills you are looking for in a candidate. If you have any other existing teams on the project already, look at the top performers and note skills that will help form the criteria for the new hires.


Plan on spending at least a full day for stress-free interview preparation. If the interview is online, it’s a best practice to provide a link to the interview beforehand. If the interview takes place on site, it's worth sharing information about the dress code, public transport routes, and some good parking areas nearby.


Candidates are usually aware that being punctual is expected from their side; it shows interest in the open vacancy and a sense of responsibility. The same thing holds true for the manager who is about to conduct the interview as well. Being on time shows evidence of a good corporate culture and a genuine interest in people who want to join the company. Sticking to a scheduled time also demonstrates the company values the candidate's time.


Study the resume, print it out, and highlight or note points for discussion. Try to ask only a few questions from your head. 

Things to Do throughout the Interview Process

Once scheduled and planned, most of the work has been done. But going into the actual interview, the manager must still consider proper interview etiquette.

Stick to a scheduled time

Show up on time. If you leave a candidate waiting, it makes them nervous and starts the interview off on the wrong foot. Once this happens, the interview will likely be unsuccessful.

Give a friendly greeting 

An informal greeting followed by a bit of small talk will help you ease into the conversation. A couple of introductory questions can loosen tension and make everyone more open to a discussion. Once the person feels a friendly atmosphere, it will be easier to convince them to sign an offer.

Ask good questions

Have questions prepared beforehand. Make sure they are open ended to avoid simple “yes” or “no” answers. Track the conversation and make notes about the answers. This will help you validate the qualifications mentioned on the resume. 

Clarify misunderstandings

Keep questions flexible. In case of any misunderstanding, clarify to ensure you get things right. And don’t raise any red flags if you initially dislike an answer. Make sure you understand things correctly by asking for clarification before jumping to any conclusions.

Sum up and set expectations

Before saying goodbye, discuss the next steps with the candidate. Tell them how long it should take to get a response or an invitation to the following interview.

Thank the candidate

The interview process is challenging and stressful for both parties. Remember to thank the candidate for their interest and time. This is a good note on which to end the interview.

Follow up

The processes of the job search for the candidate and the candidate search for the hiring manager are both stressful. If the candidate is a match, it’s okay to push the process forward before the candidate accepts another job offer.

How to Make Interviews Less Stressful

Not all people are outgoing or can make friends or strike up a conversation with a stranger right away. Interviews are professional meetings that define the chances of future collaboration between a candidate and the company. The job search definitely puts stress on a candidate, but are there any ways to reduce this stress for a job seeker?

Reduce the unknowns

The unknown tends to scare us more than anything else. As the interviewer, you can assuage some of this fear. Give information in advance about the dress code and the topic for discussion. Send a link with the list of people who will be participating, or tell the candidate in person before an on-site interview.

Be flexible

Give the candidate some flexibility in choosing the meeting time. Use Calendly or a similar tool so they can pick the time that works best for their schedule. Finding time during the workday at a current job can be a headache. Even a window of thirty minutes might save someone's day.

Limit the number of interviewers

When the whole team interviews a sole candidate, they are likely to get a lot of unclear answers from a stressed-out interviewee. Limit the number of interviewers to one active and one passive. The ideal option is one-on-one meetings, preferably 30 minutes at the most.  

Limit the time

There is no need to spend hours asking infinite lists of questions to figure out if a candidate is a match. Harvard business review highlights the importance of seeking “signs of the candidate's ‘curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination,’” which is more than enough to make the candidate the right person to fit the position.

Ask for solutions

As an interviewer, the best questions to ask are those that pose a problem requiring a solution. These questions help the hiring team see the way a person thinks. Simple, straightforward answers also highlight the candidate’s previous experience and ability to handle situations. You can determine the interviewee’s competence by asking them to complete simple, practical tasks or strategies. It helps to imagine you are hiring a chef for a Michelin-star restaurant. In this case, you would want a cook who can make even a plain dish shine. Likewise, use this principle for any position you are trying to fill.

Mind the cultural fit

Successful hiring is more than simply recruiting a person with the right skills. Pay attention to the candidate's reactions and even the words they choose because these are good indicators of whether the candidate will be comfortable in your company’s environment. 

The key markers here include the ability to work independently and in teams. Is the candidate an ethical planner or a quick decision-maker? If the person likes the company, they will likely adapt to its culture and accept it. The question is whether they can adjust and work with others.

Sell the position

Once you’ve talked with the person, verified any information, and asked the questions you wanted to, it's high time to decide whether it's worth pushing the process further. If you believe this person is worth the open position, don't hesitate to tell them more and try to persuade them as to why it's a great opportunity. The key here is to avoid giving too radiant a description of the job or the company. Otherwise, it could look too desperate from the hiring side, and the potential employee might doubt taking the opportunity. Set the tone, catch the conversation wave, and try to discuss the opportunity’s perks. Make this process as natural as possible.

The Hiring Manager's Interview “Don’ts” 

After a pretty long list of “do’s,” we’d be remiss not to point out some “don’ts” in the hiring process. Here's a brief list of things to avoid doing while interviewing candidates.

Don’t ask personal questions 

Ensure all questions directly relate to the job. Don't ask any personal questions about family status or number of children. Anything about race or religion is off limits as well. Avoid making notes on anything regarding personal appearance, such as rings, tattoos, etc. From the law's point of view, this is likely to be considered discriminatory.

Don’t inquire about free work

If you are about to ask a candidate to complete a work-related task, you'd better forget about it quickly! All work should be paid work. But you may ask, “How can I see the candidate in action?” or, “What is the right way to give a test task?” The answer is simple: ask questions related to milestones and general project knowledge to ensure the candidate knows the tools and processes needed to get the job done. 

Any extended task that demands hours of work is something that only a rare candidate would do for free. Most job seekers will not be happy about such a request and leave negative feedback online that will likely impact the company's reputation.

Don’t “stress check” the candidate

Sometimes interviewing teams can ask rapid-fire questions of various complexity to check the candidate’s stress resistance. This approach leads to nothing good, as the candidate will likely feel bewildered and quickly decide it's not the best workplace for them.

Don’t burn bridges

Not all candidates are top-notch professionals. Treat all job seekers equally and with respect. Avoid badmouthing or bullying; instead, focus on providing support and "sandwich" feedback (a technique comprising offering praise, followed by a critique, and ending with more praise). A positive tone might encourage a candidate to grow professionally and come back with more experience in the future.

Interviews involve a lot of planning, analysis, and dedication. To evaluate a candidate's eligibility, it's worth paying attention to three basic things: skill set, experience, and cultural fit. By searching for a candidate that will match the position best, you lay the foundation of future collaboration that will make your project shine.

Subscribe to Careerist Digest to stay tuned!

Careerist guarantee your privacy. Read our terms and conditions