Even a seasoned pro can sometimes struggle on how to interview someone. Interview nerves are real on both sides of the meeting room table, and that’s quite normal. Before you start any interview, you need to do your homework, gather any information you can about the job and the candidate and make sure your interview questions are not breaking the law.
Before you conduct an interview, you should gather all the information you can about the job and the candidate. Make sure you have studied the candidate’s CV and cover letter, if applicable. Look at the job description that was posted and find any other information you can about the job, that perhaps wasn’t posted with the job advert. The things you find could be the day to day tasks of being in your workplace and the dynamic of the working environment. You could also find out about any additional perks or bonus systems if applicable.
You’re likely to find students who want to pick up weekend or evening jobs to support their university lifestyles. This means they are perfect for retail, bar staff or just about any position with flexible hours.
One big piece of advice we can give you is not to ask questions the candidate has already answered through their cover letter or CV. This is a big waste of your time and theirs. Use this opportunity to ask them about their goals and ambitions. Maybe they have a large unemployment gap, or perhaps you can ask questions that expand on the information they have already provided. Remember, we are specialists in student jobs. A lot of our candidates won’t have a lot of job experience, but they do have the drive and the willingness to learn. Use this information and their enthusiasm for a productive interview process. You can ask about college or university experiences, group work projects, sports and any volunteering that they may have.
Please make sure you have prepared for the interview. There is nothing more off-putting for a candidate whose interviewer has made no effort; this is a bad reflection on you and your company. To make a good impression, make sure you prepare well.
You should write out your questions beforehand, doing this will ensure each interview you conduct is runs smoothly and quickly, especially if you have more than one interview that day.
How many questions should you ask when interviewing someone will vary from place to place and from job to job. If you remember that there are three things you want to achieve during the interview process, then questions will come naturally. The three things you ultimately want to accomplish during the interview process is this;
The number of questions you should aim for is 10. Of course, depending on the job role, you may ask more or less. The number of questions you ask may change because your candidate is great at answering more than one question at a time. You will need to listen carefully and adapt your questions if your candidate does this. Do not just read your questions from a list. An interview should be a conversation between you and the candidate, not an interrogation. Here are 10 questions you may want to ask your potential employee. Remember this is aimed at students, young workers, interns and graduates.
Of course, you can add more questions or take questions away. These questions are a guideline for you.
Interviewing someone over the phone is usually the first contact you will, or the hiring manager will have with the potential candidate. Phone interviews are a way to figure out whether the potential candidate is exciting and worthy of a face to face interview. This is known as phone screening.
Phone interviews should typically last about 30 minutes. It is also good practise to arrange a time to interview someone on the phone, don’t just ring them up and expect them to be ready for a phone interview.
For a phone interview, make sure to find a quiet space in the workplace and have some questions ready. It’s a good idea to read their CV and cover letter and the job description that was posted online.
The questions you ask on the phone will be similar to the questions you will ask face to face. However, you can ask other questions that allow you to filter out candidates before meeting them face to face. Always take note of what the candidates say to your questions.
You should always start the phone interview with an introduction of yourself and your company, what you do and who you are. You can thank the potential candidate for their interest in you and the job post.
Usually, the first question you will ask is,“How did you find out about this role?” Once the candidate has answered, take a note. This will be for you to know what advertising agents and services are working for you.
The next questions you should ask are; asking for more details on experiences they have mentioned in their job application. Any strengths and weaknesses, why do they want to work for you and your company, and finally, what sort of salary are they expecting. If your candidate favourably answers these for you, or you’re intrigued, ask them in for an interview to meet them in person. You can do this straight away on the phone, or you can send them an email a few days later.
An interview face to face can be quite a nerve-racking experience for the person being interviewed. Especially if this is their first job.
You should always prepare for the face to face interview like all the other interviews. Have a copy of their CV and cover letter and the job description to hand, and create any questions you may still have. You should also have the notes taken during the phone interview. The people interviewing the candidate, should be someone that will work with them, or at least know the job that is being advertised well.
Make sure you’re on time for the interview. You also want to make a good impression, too. Be courteous and offer them refreshment, like coffee or tea. And there is no harm starting the interview by asking them how their journey was to the workplace. Normally, this calms people down and it starts off the interview in a friendly manner. Once you’re ready for the interview to begin, start by asking some simple questions. Don’t start by asking them tough questions or brain teasers - this will only flummox the candidate and it also doesn’t leave a good impression on you, either. A good simple question is; “Why do you want to work with us?” You can also ask about the experiences they have in previous jobs if applicable or the experiences they have had at university.
Remember that an interview is a conversation between you and the candidate. Make sure to listen to their answers and take notes. If they haven't entirely satisfactorily answered your questions, don't repeat the same problem; carry on asking them to elaborate. For example, you may ask, "How did you fulfil this task?" and they may respond with, "I fulfilled it by researching and working with people." You can ask them to elaborate, "So how did you work together?"
During the interview, you will want to ask some behavioural type questions. These questions will help you determine whether the candidate's personality will fit in your company. You should ask about positive and negative traits, how would they react under a particular situation and discover how they would cope under stress.
The final part of the interview, you should allow the candidate to ask you questions. These questions may be about you, the company and the job. Answer these as honestly and constructively as possible. After all, the candidate also needs to decide whether they want to work with you and your company, too.
When it's time to wrap up the interview, you should always mention a timescale of when you will be in touch and if there is another interview to be expected. Once the candidate has left, you should debrief as soon as possible with the interview panel or your colleague. You should always stick to your timetable and your promises. Contact the recently interviewed candidate as quickly as possible. If you told them you would be in contact within two days, do just that, even if it's bad news. No one likes to be ignored.
Hiring young people is a great way to future proof your business. StudentJob is Europe’s largest job portal for students, interns and graduates. To start hiring young workers to join your company, create a profile with us.
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We look forward to working with you and to help you find the perfect candidate for your job listings.