Successful Interviewing

Once you have selected the candidates you wish to interview, you may find the following interview and induction guidelines helpful, especially if you not an experienced interviewer or HR professional:

  • We will brief the candidate beforehand with regard to your company and vacancy, but you are the best person to present the company and the job. Therefore list the information you think the candidate will want to know about the company and the vacancy as well as the working conditions, terms of employment, training and promotion prospects. It is important to show a genuine enthusiasm for the job as well as the company so that the applicant can see that the company is worth joining and the job is worth doing.
  • List all the questions you will want to ask the candidate about their background and experience, qualifications, and any circumstances that might affect the job.
  • An interview should be a controlled conversation, guided and controlled by the interviewer. Decide how long you want to allow for the interview and try to keep to the time you set. Make sure that you allow enough time between interviews to meet and greet the candidate properly, to make notes and digest what you have learned.
  • Ensure the interview is conducted in private and that there are no interruptions (either by telephone or person).
  • Arrange the interview room so that you can sit and talk naturally and write if necessary, but ideally without barriers, e.g. a desk, between you.
  • Start by welcoming the candidate, and putting them at ease with some friendly chat. Explain the interview process, e.g. what will happen, who they will see, whether there will be tests, etc.
  • You can help the interviewee relax and talk more openly by showing interest during the interview through your posture and expressions - nodding in agreement, smiling and maintaining good eye contact.
  • You want to learn as much as you can about the applicant and so during the interview they should be doing most of the talking. Remember the 80/20 rule - the candidate should do 80% of the talking. The best way to achieve this is by using open questions.
  • Avoid asking more than one question at a time. It will be difficult for the candidate to remember them all, and to know which one to answer first.
  • If you make notes during the interview, explain to the candidate what you are doing, and keep them brief so that you don't break the flow. You can then go back over them immediately after the interview to record thoughts and facts.
  • Once you have explained to the candidate what they need to know about the job and the company, ask if they have any questions.
  • Conduct a tour of the workplace if appropriate.
  • Before the candidate leaves, let them know what the next step will be and when.

The Offer

Once an offer of employment has been made, it is usually subject to satisfactory references and we recommend that references are taken as a matter of course.

The offer letter should include all the details required by law, together with a Contract of Employment. Issue the candidate with two copies of the offer letter, one of which should be signed and returned to you by the candidate indicating their starting date.

Once you have received the signed letter, it is recommended that you send a post-acceptance letter to the candidate welcoming them to your company and providing details of when and where they should start work, and who they should report to on their first day. It should also invite contact before joining, especially if there are arrangements to be made with regard to any special equipment they might need or to order a company car, for example.


Once an appointment has been made, it is important to have a good induction procedure to help the new employee settle in and to enable them to be effective as soon as possible. Good induction helps to motivate people and reduce staff turnover.

Before the new employee joins your company ensure that everyone who needs to know has been informed of the date they are starting. Make sure that their desk is clean and empty and equipped with everything they will need for their job (e.g. telephone, PC, diary, etc.) Prepare a list of their key activities for the week and (depending on the size of your organisation) the names of key people so that they will not have to memorise all the names on their first day. Also ensure that any essential training has been planned.

The Induction procedure should cover the following:

  • Meeting and welcoming the new employee.
  • Introduction to colleagues and management.
  • Cloakroom/toilets.
  • Work area and equipment.
  • Personnel administration e.g. payroll, pension scheme, insurances, memberships.
  • Refreshments e.g. tea/coffee break, lunch facilities.
  • Health and Safety.
  • Company policies.
  • Company standards e.g. appearance, telephone etiquette.
  • Staff policies e.g. hours of work, holidays, absences, overtime, training, appraisals.
  • Corporate objectives.
  • Personal objectives.
  • The job - this should be discussed in detail to ensure full understanding and agreement.

Depending on the size of your company, the above could take anything from a few hours to a few days. However, each part of the induction needs to be planned so that you and the new employee knows when it will happen and who will be involved.

After the first week

Take time to talk about first impressions. This will help the new employee feel wanted and gives you an opportunity to correct any false impressions or misunderstandings

After one month

Check that you have implemented everything that was promised to the new employee or explain any delays.

Ensure that the appraisal system has been explained and that the new employee knows how they will be assessed

After the probationary period

At the end of the probationary period let the new employee know how they have performed. Discuss their past performance constructively and either encourage or redirect them accordingly.