Selection Interviewing: 5 Rules To Follow To Guarantee Success


Successful selection interviewing is a great skill. Most managers just don’t get enough practice to master it. If you follow these simple rules your lack of practice won’t be a majorproblem in either selection or promotion.

1. Use A Prepared Script

You should have a set of core questions you ask each candidate

  • using the same words
  • with the same tone and inflection
  • in the same order.

You cannot compare candidates sensibly if you ask each one a completely different set of questions.

In addition, have specific questions which relate to each individual too. If extra questions occur to you during the interview, make a note of them and ask them.Don’t get caught in the experience trap: paying too much attention to applicants’ track records.

Always write down applicants’ replies. Don’t rely on your memory. You’ll need to compare candidates after you’ve finished all interviews. Without notes, that’s difficult.

2. Interview As Few People As Possible

Youshould only interview applicants who have

  • A really good chance of getting the job. That’s usually only 2-3 people. And you should be reasonably certain that these people
  • Really know what they say they know
  • Can actually do what they say they can do

Interviewing because “she looked interesting” or “he’d be a good backup”or “he might be worth a look” is just expensive time wasting.

3. Phrase Questions For Facts Not Opinions

Collect descriptions of situations that the candidates will deal with in your company. Describe one. Ask them if they’ve encountered it and if so what they did. If they haven’t encountered it, move to the next description.

Avoid at all costs questions the invite speculation. “What would you do if…” should never be used to introduce a question. Discuss the candidates’ experiences at work and their response to these experiences: fact not opinion.

When candidates speculate about “what they would do if…..” you have no idea whether you’re receiving a sensible, considered response or a wild guess.It’s too big a risk to take.

4. Restrict The Number Of Successive Interviews

Never interview more than 4 candidates in succession. Ideally, have no successive interviews. Successive interviews don’t allow sufficient review time. And they favour the most articulate candidate, not necessarily the best qualified. If interviewing 4 people, spread the interviews over 2 days with one each morning and afternoon. Never undertake an interview when you know you’re likely to be interrupted. And don’t try to “squeeze them in” when you really don’thave time.

5. Avoid Trickery

Treat the candidate as an adult, professional, equal. Avoid self aggrandisement. Avoid questions that infer some inadequacy the candidate has. And avoid questions designed to trick the candidate and prove how smart your are.


Following these 5 rules will make your interviews more successful and easier. Always take time to prepare properly. And always allow enough time to explore unexpected issues raised in the interim. Give yourself time to review each interview and compare applicants’ responses. You’ll be the major beneficiary of your thoroughness and care. You’ll also be the biggest loser if you’re not.

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