5 things the most successful hiring managers do before, during or after a job interview


Nearly a quarter of everywomanNetwork members experience a crisis of confidence after they’ve placed a candidate in a role, admitting they’re never sure they’ve made the right decision until their new recruit is up and running in the position.

In her webinar, How to hold an interview, experienced hirer Pippa Isbell shares the practices that the best managers follow when it comes to identifying the best talent.


1. They ask themselves why they’re hiring

Long before they start drawing up their shortlisted candidates, the best interviewers take a holistic view of the entire process, asking themselves why they’re hiring and what process they’ll follow.

Often the reasons is as simple as needing to fill the space left by a departing colleague, but it’s still worth looking at what has changed since that person joined the organisation.

Does the job description need tweaking? Were there challenges in the role that could impact the types of experiences the successor would benefit from?

Be clear about the policy on internal candidates, where the final decision lies and what assessment tools will be used – even if that’s outside your control, you might have more influence than you think.

Finally, know that the best candidates will have done their research on your department and organisation’s culture. The best managers will do the same, noting how their business’s brand may appear to outsiders and what impact that might have on the interview.


2. They fish in a really wide pool

Most businesses have policies around unconscious bias, but it might not be immediately obvious to you that you’re hiring in your own image or being drawn to a certain ‘type’ of candidate while ignoring others.

It’s worth considering what biases you might be bringing to the table, from the widespread ones concerning gender, sexuality, ethnic minority, disability or sexuality, to any more personal affinities you might have, for example, candidates who’ve stayed in roles for a certain amount of time – a factor which might exclude Millennials from your shortlist.

The best way to avoid unconscious bias is to draw up a robust job description based on must haves, should haves and could haves against which you measure each candidate.

If you’re in any doubt at all, or find yourself being led more by ‘intuition’ (over 30% of Network members say they “know in the first five minutes” if someone’s a good fit) than ‘reasoning’, get a second opinion.

The same goes for the checks you perform after making an offer. If you’re checking out a candidate’s social media profiles and references, be sure that you’re judging them based on the job criteria rather than irrelevant factors.

All of the above advice applies equally, says Pippa, if you have a strong internal candidate for the role. In fact, it’s better for that individual if they know they’ve been offered the role following a robust and competitive recruitment drive.


3. They mix up their questioning

An interview spent picking through someone’s CV might be a great way to establish their experience; a competency-style interview might be a great way to establish the right skillsets, but a great interviewer knows that asking different types of questions will elicit the most rounded responses from a candidate. The core types include:


Credential verification: “So, you attended night school to get your certification in computer coding?”

Experience verification: “Can you give me an example of a time when you had to present to a diverse audience?”

Opinion: “What do you think is the next big disruption in the banking and finance industry?”

Behavioural: “How would you deal with a co-worker who wasn’t delivering to deadline?”

Competency: “When have you had to discipline an employee? How did you go about it?”

Brainteasers, riddles or wacky questions: “Who would play you in the movie of your life?”

Typical interview questions: “What are your strengths and weaknesses?


4. They understand and allow for nerves

A classic interviewer fail is to mistake nerves for lack of ability. Given the high proportions of individuals who find job interviews taxing, you should expect that your candidate will be feeling a little anxious.

Build this into your preparation. When booking a room, ask yourself if it creates the best environment for a job interview – open plan offices or glass bowl meeting rooms might not be the wisest choice.

Think about your opening gambit – are you going to tell them a little bit about yourself or the company as an icebreaker? Can you ease them in with a not-too-taxing first question?


5. They follow up on ‘casual encounters’

You can bet your bottom dollar your candidate is going to be presenting the best version of themselves to you, the interviewer.

The canny hiring manager will also check in with the HR manager or recruitment consultant who’s had an email exchange with the person, the staff in reception and whoever escorted the candidate to the interview room.

How they behaved with individuals they were less keen to impress might offer new insight.


This article is taken from the webinar How to hold an interview, a companion to the exclusive everywomanNetwork workbook Approaching job interviews with confidence (log in to start).


More advice for managers on the everywoman Network

The questions to ask yourself if your team is underperforming

Quiz: Are you a manager or a leader?

Delivering feedback: 3 ways for new line managers


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