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How To Structure your first Interview

Below are some tips on how to structure your first interview. To get the most out of this guide, use it together with this video of insights from our co-founders Geoff Balmer and David Landau.

A candidate’s first interaction with your company can often make or break their experience. Surprisingly, a recent survey showed that 40% of all candidates lose interest due to a poor interview experience. The last thing you want is for a candidate to lose interest in the role, so how can you ensure you're conducting a strong interview?


To prepare for an interview, the first thing you should do is look at a candidate’s CV to get a feel for their work history, and what their career goals or aspirations might be, in advance. The next step is to have the questions that you’re going to ask ready. If there’s going to be more than one person conducting the interview, you should work out who is going to ask a question and when. It's also a good idea to work out the small details, such as how you’re going to start off the interview and how you're going to close it, before the interview starts.  


When the day comes for the interview, a candidate should feel at ease as soon as they walk in the door. If they are feeling on edge, it's likely they won’t answer the questions to the best of their ability. A good introduction is a great way to make a candidate feel more comfortable from the start.  


A candidate should get a solid overview of the role they’re applying for and what it entails. Let them know what the goal is, and what outcomes you’re trying to achieve by hiring someone for the role.


Make sure you ask a mixture of behavioural, situational, and CV related questions. Have these ready and go over them one by one until you’re satisfied with the answers. Give the candidate a good amount of time to answer and listen intently to what they're saying. Often, something they say in their answer may lead to other questions about their background or experience.


Ask the question, “what do you know about us?” to find out whether a candidate has researched your company or not. Their response will give a big indication of the candidate’s interest in the role.


Think of an interview as an exchange of information, rather than being a one-sided interaction. At the end of the interview, invite the candidate to ask any questions they'd like to ask about the role or the company.


To end the interview, you’ll want to discuss a well-defined plan with the candidate. For example, if you have a two or three stage interview process then tell them what the next steps are and when they’ll hear back from you. Make sure you end the interview on a good note, and remember to thank the candidate for their time.

If you'd like more hiring advice and resources, take a look at our toolkit, or the other topics below.


Hear advice from the Richard Lloyd Directors, Geoff Balmer and David Landau

Key Interview Questions for an Interviewer to Ask
Avoiding Common Hiring Mistakes
How to Get to the Truth in Interviews
Low Cost, High Impact Staff Retention Tools