Giving an Interview – The Other Side of the Table

There’s a lot of advice out there on how to have a great interview: dress smartly, research the company, practice your answers.  But what happens when you’re sitting on the other side of the table?  As a valued employee, your company might ask you to give interviews for a new position.  Finding the perfect person can be stressful, but there is good news—successful interviewers prove themselves to have good judgment, credibility, and initiative.  Shouldn’t your professional reputation sound like that?

Check out our FAQ’s to banish your nerves and impress your bosses with the next accomplished hire!

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

What should I do to prepare for the interview?

Research, research, research!  Make sure that you’re clear on the kind of person your company wants, and learn as much as possible about each applicant before you invite him/her to your office.  Specific requirements guarantee that you won’t waste time with less-than-perfect options.

I thought one candidate was ideal for the job, until I found his/her Facebook page.  So unprofessional!  Should I cancel our meeting?

Maybe—but maybe not.  If your company follows a strict office culture, then inappropriate social media could be a red flag.  However, don’t jump to conclusions.  Does his/her CV meet all your requirements?  If so, then keep your meeting, and ask questions that really focus on his/her past performance at work.

Every candidate gives me the same stale answers to my questions.  How can I find out who they really are?

Change the questions!  Ask about real situations: when have they turned a problem into something positive for their company?  When was the last time they faced a tight deadline?  Their answers will tell you about their judgment as well as ability.  Alternatively, ask an unusual question at the end of your meeting.  Which came first: the chicken or the egg?  If they can handle a surprise in the interview, they can handle a surprise on the job.

OK. The interviews are over.  I liked everyone!  How can I decide between them?

Now is the time to be picky.  Did they really research the company beforehand?  Would they get along with other employees?  If possible, also meet the candidates with a partner.  He/she can take notes while you ask the questions, and another perspective helps when making the final decision.

I really liked one candidate in particular.  How can I make sure he/she gets the job?

Interviews are a two-way street:  candidates have to impress you, but you have to impress them, too!  Try to get each applicant excited about the position, as well as the company, during your conversation.  That way, whoever you decide to pick later is sure to say ‘yes.’

Follow this advice, and you’re sure to find just the person you’re looking for.  For more tips on how to find ‘the one’ for your opening, check out the Target Language below—and good luck!


Essential questions to ask job candidates:

I see on your CV that your last job called for leadership skills.  Tell me about your proudest moment as a leader.

Have you ever made a mistake?  How did you handle it?

Give an example of a goal you reached and how you achieved it.

Say you were selected to work as part of a team.  One member of the team is not working as hard as the rest.  How would you handle the situation?

Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or coworkers.

You’re working on a project, and the deadline is Friday.  On Tuesday, you find out the objectives for the project have changed.  What do you do?

Describe a decision you made that wasn’t popular and how you dealt with it.

You disagree with a superior about how to solve a problem.  What do you do?

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

Do you take the shampoo and conditioner bottles from hotels?


Top 5 overlooked qualities in great employees:

They are a little ‘unusual.’ Conventional people have conventional ideas.  Are you trying to jump start your department?  Look for someone who isn’t afraid to be different.

2. They also know when to follow the rules.  ‘Unusual’ is good for innovation, but a great employee won’t make you look bad by arguing with your boss at the next meeting.

3. They are always on time.  If a candidate mentions ‘punctuality’ on their resume, it’s a good sign that he/she will be a productive member of your team.

4. They ask lots of questions.  The candidate has no questions at the end of the interview?  Really?  If they are afraid to ask in the interview, they might be afraid to ask for help on the job—and that’s when it’s a problem.

5. They praise others.  Positive thinking is always a quality you want in an employee.  It shows a commitment to teamwork, and it could help your department turn failures into successes in the future.