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Interview tips for the interviewer: It’s not only the candidate who has to prepare

Updated: 18 Jan 2016


Most people admit to brushing up their interview skills before a job interview, but according to recruiting experts Hays in China interviewers themselves also need to hone their skills.


“Good interview technique is not just the candidate’s responsibility,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia. “Managers also need to develop their skills in order to secure the best person for the job.”


Interviewing is becoming an increasingly popular method of selecting candidates – 83 per cent of organisations use interviews to select applicants, up from 68 per cent in 2009, according to the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development/Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning 2015 Survey.


With an interview a crucial hiring tool, Christine says interviewers should make sure they conduct it fairly, thoroughly, consistently and competently in order to make a sound decision.


According to Christine, this is all the more important for SMEs. “While large corporates have a HR team to support hiring managers through this process, SMEs need to figure it out on their own. In addition, a new hire often has a much bigger impact on an SME, making it even more crucial to get the interview right. 


“Ineptly handled interviews send a damaging message about what it’s like to work at your organisation, deterring talent from applying for jobs in future. On the other hand, a competent and objective recruitment process can be so powerful that even unsuccessful candidates recommend the organisation to others, boosting your brand’s reputation,” she said.


Here’s Hays’s advice on how to upskill your interview technique: 


·         Make it human: Avoid scripts, which are likely to make for a stilted and unnatural interview and don’t allow you to explore areas of real interest. A list of guiding questions is important, but it should be used to steer you through the interview rather than as a cumbersome, form-filling exercise.


·         Prepare: Think about the competencies most relevant to the role and the questions that will be most valuable to ask so that you can benchmark candidates against one another.


·         Build rapport: Put your candidate at ease, break down any barriers and make sure you engage in active listening in order to help them put their best foot forward. Ask a few gentle introductory questions to get the candidate warmed up, and give them enough time to answer each one.


·         Look beyond technical skills: Understand your business’ unique values, culture and the type of person who will be aligned to them. Devise questions to determine a candidate’s cultural fit. If you get this wrong, your new hire could have a detrimental impact on internal culture and team morale.


·         Meet legal requirements: Know what you can and can’t ask in an interview. Seek out the advice of a professional if you need to in order to adhere to legal requirements.  Do not open yourself up to accusations of discrimination.


·         Enjoy it: This process gives you an insight into someone else’s world and the opportunity to make a positive difference to their life.


This issue is explored further in the latest Hays Journal, the recruiter’s bi-annual magazine on the world of HR and recruitment.  To access the Hays Journal please visit


In China Hays operates from four local offices: Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou.

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.


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About Hays

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.


Hays Specialist Recruitment  (Shanghai) Co., Limited ("Hays China") operates across the public and private sector, dealing in permanent positions. Hays China’s eighteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Architecture, Construction, Education, Engineering, Executive, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Oil & Gas, Property and Sales & Marketing.


Hays China operates four local offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. It is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company. As at 30 June 2015 Hays employed 9,023 staff operating from 240 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2015, Hays reported net fees of £764.2 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £164.1 million. Hays placed around 63,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 200,000 people into temporary assignments. 23% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific.


Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.


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