How To Conduct An Interview

Tips And Advise on How to Conduct An Interview

By definition, an interview is a scheduled conversation between two or more people; an interviewer and an interviewee.

Interviews are handled by employers, journalists, school admission counselors, and a slew of other people. Interviewers have to prepare for interviews just like interviewees.

Both get nervous and take time out of their schedule to have a decent conversation with each other, but the preparation on behalf of the interviewer looks different than that of the interviewee.

So, if you want to conduct a great interview or need some tips for an upcoming interview, here is how to give a great interview.

What Does An Interview Look Like?

An interview has the possibility of being:

  • Virtual
  • In person
  • In sessions
  • All at once
  • Or any combination of those

Before the actual interview, you need to go through the scheduling process. Make sure you have enough time to handle a conversation with someone and finish your notes after they leave.

If you have a few interviews in a row, schedule yourself enough time to prepare for each one and avoid over-scheduling, as it is not fair to you or the interviewee.

Once you’ve scheduled the interview, make sure the virtual office or in-person office is comfortable, clean, and welcoming. You don’t want to interview a potential candidate in a dirty office or an unprofessional one. The layout will also help the interviewee feel more comfortable and answer your questions with ease.

Now you need to introduce yourself. State your name and your title, and if you are in person, shake their hand. Do not hug them as it will overstep your professional boundaries, and if you do not feel comfortable shaking hands, wave to them and welcome them with a warm smile.

It is important to balance professionalism and a welcoming manner while not breaching any boundaries. Just as you learn about the individual through the interview, the interviewee learns about their potential supervisor.

If they feel uncomfortable in your presence, they won’t want to work for you. Alert the interviewer of your interest by maintaining good posture, eye contact, and positive body language.

Before you jump into the questionnaire portion of the interview, explain what the interview will look like to mitigate the interviewee’s nerves and help them open up more to you.

Conduct yourself in a way that best exemplifies the kind of business or operation you run. If you are a journalist, make sure you explain exactly what your assignment is and how it can help you further the article. Be honest and answer any questions they have.

For a job interview, go over what the job looks like before you start asking them questions. This is where you illustrate the length of the job and reiterate what the tasks include.

What Interview Questions Should I Ask?

Man and Woman Having a Discussion

This is the portion where you get to know more about the applicant’s personal life. You can begin by asking about their background and paying attention to their answers as they shed great light on the kind of work ethic they possess.

Some other questions you can ask include

  • How do you think your previous work experience applies to this job?

Be patient with this answer. Give the applicant time to think. For this question, they have to think about the skills used in their other jobs and what they can take away from those jobs they can use in this job. If they do not have previous work experience, ask them about their daily skills or the skills they use(d) in school.

  • How do you think you will fit into the company?

If the person does not seem that interested in working for the company and they answer with quick responses or disinterested comments, you should seek someone else out for the job. If they are just shy, try to speak to them about their interests to see if they will open up.

If the candidate gives you an answer demonstrating their passion and research for the company, they took the time to study before the interview, which shows they take the job seriously.

  • How do you spend your weekends/days off?

Although you won’t see this person on their days off, getting a feel for how they spend their time could lend some insight into the kind of work ethic they will contribute to the company.

If you interview someone for a high-shool swimming coach position, the person could love swimming and be a really great teacher, but spends their nights at bars and staying out late. When it comes to hosting practices, they can’t get to work on time and let down the kids they coach.

A swimming coach position would not be the best fit for them. However, if a candidate says they spend their evenings swimming and relaxing, they fit more of what you’re looking for.

  • How do you handle stress?

This is a common question used in most job interviews because it shows a lot about the work ethic and personality of the person up for the job.

Someone who is honest about handling stress and acknowledges its prevalence shows that they can handle difficult tasks and multi-task, but someone who says they don’t experience stress either is lying or doesn’t treat the job seriously.

How to Review a Resume

Person in White Long Sleeve Shirt Holding a Clipboard with Resume

After you learn more about the interviewee, you can move on to reviewing their resume in front of them. This is a huge step to show the interviewee you care about their application, and they aren’t just a cog in a machine to you.

If you ask them a bunch of questions easily found on their resume, they will feel like you don’t care much about their individualism and you just need to add more staff to your roster.

If you bring up specificities you would only know from reading their resumes, they will open up to you and share more about their experience. Plus, you will get a better feel if they fit the needs of your company.

  1. If they have any long periods of unemployment or gaps in education, ask them about them.
  2. If they only worked somewhere for a month or two, ask them the reason that they parted with that company.
  3. The same goes for recognitions and awards, ask them about their awards and what they did to receive them, and how the process felt. Were they stressed during that period? Do they feel like their hard work was worth the recognition?

Post-Resume Questions

After reviewing the resume with the candidate, you get a feel for the kind of candidate they will be. To get an even better idea, ask them about specificities related to the job.

For example, if someone comes in to interview for a preschool teaching position, ask them how they will handle a child who is acting out.

If the interviewee responds that they will immediately put the child in time out without understanding the situation, they might need to take some time before they become a teacher.

If someone says they will assess the situation and talk to the child about their behavior before making a decision, they are moving in the right direction.

The child might have problems at home, so they act out at school, and putting them in immediate timeout will not help them learn discipline. They need the structure of positive reinforcement and rewards and punishments. They need to be understood.

This is the spot in the interview where you should set aside a few questions that you ask every applicant. Pick out a few questions that eliminate unsatisfactory candidates and bring stellar choices to the front. The candidate might not know this step is to help you find the right fit for your company, but they don’t need to.

Also, ask what the candidate thinks their strengths and weaknesses are. If they say they only have weaknesses, you won’t believe them, and it shows they won’t be an honest or serious worker, but if they take the time to explain each of their strengths and weaknesses, it proves that they can handle the tasks given to them and report to supervisors with honest information.

Candidates Ask Questions


After you’ve exhausted all of your questions, it is your turn to answer some questions. Ask if the interviewee has any questions for you and give them a few moments to collect their thoughts. This portion of the interview is another chance for you to demonstrate your knowledge and professionalism in your job.

Candidates ask questions to help them decide if they want to pursue a position with your company or if it isn’t the right fit. This is also the part of the interview where you need to be quiet and let the interviewee speak.

If you talk over them or belittle them in any way, they won’t want to work for your company, and they will lose respect for you. Listen to their questions and answer them honestly and respectfully.

Concluding Interviews

To wrap up any interview, you should always thank the interviewer for their time and let them know when they should expect to hear back from you. Smile at them and do not close your door too early or mutter anything under your breath. Treat every interviewee with respect as if they got the job.

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