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Interviewing is a very particular skill which you will develop as you gain experience. Research has shown that what appears to be a more informal chat than a ‘grilling’ tends to put a candidate at ease and elicit a more honest response, giving you valuable insight into their personality traits rather than simply an understanding of their skills and experience. The following notes are designed to give you initial guidance for good interview practice, in time, you will develop your own personal approach.

Begin by having a number of set questions which you ask every candidate. These questions should be based around the requirement of the job. By asking the same questions and taking notes of the responses, you will be able to draw a direct comparison between each candidate, helping you to decide most effectively and fairly which candidate is most suitable. It is also important to explain at the outset your intention to take notes and the reason behind this. You should also gain the candidates agreement before proceeding.

Try to ensure that the questions are open, for example, how, when, why etc. giving the candidate the opportunity to answer fully, rather than responding with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Try to avoid interrupting their answers or leading them in any direction. Summarise their responses back to them and gain agreement, before making notes, to ensure that you have fully understood what they are trying to communicate. If a candidate has not answered a particular question to your satisfaction, don’t be afraid to question them further until you receive a response that you are happy with.

Don’t be tempted to talk too much and fill any potentially uncomfortable moments of silence, silence can be a very effective way of encouraging the interviewee to offer up more information.

Don’t forget the importance of first impressions and body language. The initial shaking of the hand and introduction can tell you so much about a person, as can their ongoing seating position, use of hands and use of eye contact.

Remember to keep your knowledge of employment legislation up to date, especially with regards to discrimination. Avoid using any descriptions or words which could potentially preclude candidates based on their physical ability, colour, sex or religion.

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