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Hey Mr Client? How Good Are Your Hiring Manager’s Interview Skills?

Executive Recruitment At Its Best

Hey Mr Client? How Good Are Your Hiring Manager’s Interview Skills?


Finding the perfect team is an essential part of running a successful business. Once your comprehensive recruitment strategy has delivered a collection of potential candidates to your door, it’s up to your hiring manager to filter through the applicants and find the talent that’s most suitable for your open position.  

Interviewing can be a complicated process, as it means making sure you ask all the right questions, in the right way, to give every possible employee a fair chance to ‘sell’ themselves for your role. 

Unfortunately, a lot of managers responsible for their company’s recruiting process prefer to simply “wing it”, and hope for the best.  

Since the cost of a bad hire can be astronomical – both in terms of costs, and time wasted – it’s essential to make sure that you have a solid strategy in place to bring the best possible employees into your team. Here are a few ways that hiring managers can boost their chances of success.  

Step 1: Really Understand the Job You Want to Fill 

You will have a good idea of the skills and background necessary for your open position when you were writing the job description. It’s important to refresh your knowledge here before you conduct an interview if you want to make sure that you get the right skills to fill your current gap.  

Remember, you’ll need to think about “soft skills” and attitude, alongside educational background and industry experience. If you’re taking on the “hiring manager” role, ask yourself the following questions before an interview: 

  • Why does this position exist, and why do we need to fill it? 
  • What skills can the current team really benefit from? 
  • Who is the manager or supervisor for this role, and what kind of person would perform the best working for them? 
  • How can I identify someone who fits with our company culture? 
  • What talents am I willing to train, and which will I need to be pre-existing? 


Step 2: Prepare Your Questions in Advance 


It’s important to ask all your candidates the same questions if you want to make sure that you’re not hiring someone based on personal preference or bias. If necessary, you can ask a recruitment agency to help you set up a scoring sheet for evaluating the right employees.   

Using the specifications laid out in your job description, think of how you can assess your applicants according to the criteria that are most important to you. Avoid clichéd questions that might not tell you much about the person, and dive deeper into answers that help you to envision candidates within a role.  

Most experts agree that three most essential questions in an interview are: 

  • How well can you do the job? 
  • Will you love the role? 
  • Can you fit into our company culture? 


Step 3: Establish a Rhythm 

It’s the task of a hiring manager to make sure interviews are as informative and educational for the potential hire, as they are for the business itself. Don’t just read through a CV and comment on the things that catch your eye. Ask in-depth questions that make the applicant really think about how they can perform in your organisation.  

This might mean varying between different question types so that your possible team member doesn’t feel as though they’re being interrogated. Switch between these categories: 

  • Closed-ended questions that can be answered with simple one-word responses. 
  • Open-ended questions that require thought and elaboration on behalf of potential staff 
  • Hypothetical questions that help you to see how someone might perform in a specific situation 
  • Off-the-wall questions that provide insight into someone’s personality, attitude, and communication style.  


Step 4: Listen as Much as You Talk 


It’s tempting to fill the “dead air” in an interview with as much chatter as possible. However, if you want to see what a candidate is capable of, then give them the chance to fill that air instead. Rather than continually talking, actively listen to your interviewee, and make notes that might be relevant to your selection at a later stage.  

When you do talk to a possible recruit, make sure you use the opportunity to sell the role as much as possible. Explain what the opening provides for a successful applicant, and potentially give some examples of people who have achieved great things in the same position before.  

If every time you take your business, your potential employee’s eyes light up with ambition, then you know you’re having the right impact.  


Remember, close the interview on a positive where possible, letting the candidate know what comes next and when they can expect to hear from you again. That’s the best way to reduce your chances of losing great talent to competing companies.


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