Interview preparation for employers

Tuesday September 13, 2022

Interview preparation for employers

Times have changed and recruitment is following suit.

If you are experiencing post-pandemic staffing challenges, you are not alone. A recent study revealed that 95% of surveyed SMEs found it difficult to recruit staff in the last year.

There are several contributing factors: competitive benefits and rising wage expectations for starters.

In a candidates market though, there is much more than the job offer to consider, and some employers could be missing a vital step to secure their next hire.

Preparation is key

First impressions count, for the interviewee and the interviewer. What impression are you giving to prospective employees, and why should they choose to work with you over your competitor?

Ensuring you get the person with the best attitude, knowledge and skills is vital for you, so everyone involved in the interview process needs to be well prepared.

How should an interviewer prepare?

There are a several good practices which it will always pay to follow:

  • Create a shortlist of suitable candidates by taking the time to read the candidates’ CVs and covering letters carefully.
  • Decide if you are going to use psychometric or ability tests,
  • Review your interview questions to make sure they are up to date and relevant and will demonstrate the candidate’s ability.
  • Inform colleagues that you are conducting an interview to reduce distractions.
  • Consider the setting of the interview, is it welcoming? Quiet? Private?
  • Communicate all interview information in good time with the candidate.
  • Expect the candidate to ask questions and allow enough time to answer them.

Consider also that you may need to make some adjustments to your usual interview process for disabled applicants.

Not all disabilities are obvious, so assessing your interview questions, tests and location to make sure that they don’t disadvantage neurodivergent applicants is a good idea.

Asking the right questions

To establish if a candidate has the all-important skills, attitude, and knowledge to do the job, your questions should be open and allow the candidate to demonstrate their experience. For example if managing people is key, ask them about a time they had to have a difficult conversation or how they have improved a reportee’s performance.

An understanding of equality law is necessary to make sure that, however innocent, inappropriate questions are not asked during an interview.

What interview questions should you avoid asking and why?

Some lines of questioning should be avoided because they leave you vulnerable to a discrimination claim:

  • How old are you?
  • Are you married?
  • Have you got children? Are you planning to start a family?
  • Where are you from?

These questions may seem like harmless small talk, especially if the conversation feels easy and you are genuinely interested to learn more about the person. However, they can be risky.

The following characteristics are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, and questions on them should be avoided: Age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.

As a rule, try not to get too personal and steer clear of politics.

Do ask them what motivates them, and about their hobbies outside of work, as this can help you to work out if they are the right fit for your team. It can also help you to compile an attractive offer should you wish to make one.

Every candidate should be asked the same questions and a written record of their responses noted. All the recruitment information should be kept for six months in case of a disability claim. With the right questions and interview prep you can leave a lasting impression on a candidate, providing that extra competitive edge.


Using psychometrics can give you a really good view of the candidates behaviour profile, Energy, Drive, Reactions to Stress, Motivations and so on, if fitting in with an existing team or being able to confidently communicating with your clients is necessary, Psychometric Assessments can give you a very clear picture of how that person will behave, of course coupled with a good interview.

Review your recruitment

If you’re using the same hiring practices that you did pre-pandemic and are not seeing results, it could be time for a review of your recruitment.

Ask us about how we can help you resource your business cost effectively.

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