Add Value through Effective Interviewing – Part 2

What are you looking for and how will you know when you have found it?

In part 1 we looked at understanding what you are looking for in terms of Skills, Knowledge, Experience and Attitude. In part 2, we will talk about how to find what you are looking for and how to know you have found it.



Unfortunately, we only have a limited amount of time to conduct an interview. Therefore, we need to make the most of that time to gather all the evidence we need to make an informed decision. As a result, planning is key to success. Structured interviews, where every candidate is asked the same questions are fair, consistent, and easy to evaluate.


The first step is to determine how to gather the evidence you need.

The Biographical part of the interview checks information on the resume, such as right to work, anticipated salary, general experience and potential start date. This can be conducted by the Human Resources team on the telephone. At the same time, communication and telephone manner can also be assessed.

Knowledge can be tested using a multiple choice quiz.  It is important to remember that just because a person knows the theory or understands a concept, it doesn’t mean they have any experience or skill in it.


Skills based questions reveal proficiency in the workplace and can be assessed using either work samples or hypothetical questions during the interview. You can get quite creative in this, but remember, with hypothetical questions there must be a quantifiable answer.

Experience and Attitude are best assessed using STAR behavioural questions. These are designed to understand how a candidate has responded to situations in the past.

 The STAR questioning method

This is based on the premise that past behaviour is the best predictor of future performance.

The candidate cannot read your mind, they don’t know exactly what you are looking for. You must ask questions that give them the opportunity to demonstrate the behaviours, attitude or experience you have decided you need. You should prepare questions in advance to ensure this, and every candidate should be asked the same questions.

The right questions give you the opportunity to gather the evidence you need to make the right decision. It is useful to have one person noting what the candidate actually says (the evidence). While the other focuses on the candidate and the questions. It is vital to record what the candidate says and not your opinion. Opinions are formed after the interview at the evaluation stage and must be based on evidence.

How will I know if I have found the right person?

First, remember you are recruiting a living, breathing person, not a robot and nobody is perfect.

Look back at what you decided are your most valuable priorities and what they look like. Now look for evidence in what the candidate said and did to determine whether they were able to demonstrate those attributes. Everyone involved in the interview process should contribute to the evaluation to ensure fairness and question bias.

Once you have all agreed, it is time to make the offer – and then the real work begins!