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JOB INTERVIEWS - The holy grail of CONDUCTING them and ACING them!.

Posted on 5th April 2019 by Darren Saul

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Whether you are the interviewer or the interviewee the job interview is by far the most important spoke in the wheel we know as the recruitment process. YET, even though it has been around for decades, there are STILL so many interviewers not conducting them to yield the maximum benefit and so many interviewees not having the slightest idea how to perform during them. 

REASON: It takes lots of work!
For both parties the objective of an interview is simple and the same: to facilitate the identification of the right candidate for the role. Realising that objective, however, is not as straight forward. Now interviews can be formal or casual. They can be professional or they can be friendly. They can be conducted in an office environment or at the cafe' down the road (I do a mixture of both depending on my mood and need for caffeine). All these styles are absolutely fine and there are no rules, however, there are a few fundamentals that must not be overlooked: 

AND these apply equally to both the interviewer and interviewee.
"So how do we do this Darren?" you ask. 
Easy, just apply these simple strategies and your interviews will be fun, exciting and effective. Who knows, they might even earn you a standing ovation!

  • Interviewers: Read through the candidate's resume properly before you enter the room. 

  • Interviewers: Identify which qualities (technical or non-technical) you are looking for prior to commencing.   

  • Candidates: RESEARCH as much as possible. Studying the job add, job description and company website. Do a Google search for any relevant information. Speak to people who might know of the organisation or even work there.   

  • Candidates: Chelate and practice articulating behavioral based scenarios (ROLEPLAY) so that you can perform more confidently and give the interviewer as much useful insight as possible into your ethics, style, philosophy, attitude, skills, and experience. 

WARNING: The ease at which information can be accessed nowadays (especially on the web) makes it even more important to maintain a favourable personal, company AND web reputation - Facebook, LinkedIn, Google..  
We all know what it's like to be in a conversation with someone (or should I say be listening to someone) while being 100 miles away in our thoughts. Maybe we're thinking about lunch, about the weekend or even how we are going to strategically escape from the conversation. 
The same goes for an interview. If either party is not engaging their audience it's a monologue NOT an effective interview! 


  • Be funny and friendly (but still professional). 

  • Be interesting. 

  • Speak with your hands. 

  • Articulate with passion. 

  • Be creative. 

  • Use the volume and tone of your voice to engage the audience. 

  • Use your eyes (very powerful tool). 

  • Sit or stand in different ways to keep the audience entertained. 

  • Mirror the body language tone of your audience but you don't have to mirror their exact posture. 

  • Be enthusiastic. 

  • Be natural. 

  • Enjoy yourself.

Spend a couple of minutes at the beginning of the interview creating rapport. It relaxes both parties and allows them to find their groove - allowing for a more insightful interview. 
There are many ways to this and a little can go a long way:

  • Question to discover common ground - sports, family, food, coffee, culture, language, film, travel. Try and stay away from the weather and "Did you find the place OK?" Waste of a question! Always leave politics and religion to the professionals! 

  • A little humour. 

  • A friendly smile. 

  • A gentle tone of voice. 

  • Body language that RELAXES the other party, NOT INTIMIDATES them. 

No need to be 100% professional - it's not a court case!  
Questioning is EVERYTHING. If your questions aren't effective at drawing out what you need, how can you (interviewer or interviewee) gather insight and make an informed decision? 
The key is preparing and practicing your questions in advance!
Fundamental topics to cover for the interviewer are: 

  • Skills. 

  • Past experiences/situations relevant to the role (the theory behind "behavioural interviewing" is that the best predictor of future performance is past performance). 

  • What where the reasons for leaving previous job/s?

  • What motivates the candidate?

  • How do they like to be managed? 

  • What expectations do they have around remuneration? 

  • Candidate's general life philosophy. 

Fundamental topics to cover for the interviewee are:

  • Is it a newly created role or a replacement and why?

  • Career progression path. 

  • Training. 

  • Company stability. 

  • Management style. 

  • Company culture. 

  • How long has the manager been with the company and in the role?

REMEMBER: The interview is just as much about the hiring manager selling themselves and their company as it is about the candidate selling themselves and their skills.
After gathering the information needed both parties must sell their agendas to the max! Good roles are hard to find AND quality candidates are scarce. It's not good enough to go through the motions without ENERGY, PREPARATION, ENTHUSIASM, PASSION AND CONFIDENCE. The hiring manager and the candidates must paint the absolute best picture possible to ensure that they DIFFERENTIATE themselves from the rest!