How to Interview Someone

A hiring manager using tips for how to interview someone.

You’ve had a jam-packed day with a million deadlines and a thousand small crises. Now you have to interview candidates for a critical position that you need to fill. If you don’t have a human resources department to guide you along, you can save time on research with these tips for how to interview someone.

9 Tips for Interviewing Candidates

Remember that during the interview process, candidates are deciding whether they want to work for you just as much as you’re deciding whether you want to hire them. You have only about an hour to make a good first impression on the candidate and obtain the critical information you need about their skills, experience, and personality. These tips with help you gather the insights you need to hire qualified candidates.

1. Make a List of Questions That Directly Relate to the Job’s Responsibilities

If you don’t have a job description, then list the key responsibilities of the position, and create a list of questions that relate to those responsibilities. If you have time, reach out to employees who would interact with the new hire on a daily basis to get feedback on your list.

2. Ask Behavioral Questions

Behavioral questions are a great way to tap into a candidate’s potential to fit into your organization. Ask for specific examples of past performance and behavior, with questions such as “tell me about a time when you…” Previous successes are a good indicator of future performance, making this an essential step in learning how to interview someone.

3. Review the Candidate’s Resume Before the Interview

This may seem obvious, but by preparing your interview questions and reviewing the resume, you’re showing the candidate that you’ve taken the time to ensure a productive interview. It will also help you develop interview questions that are tailored toward the candidate.

4. Outline the Interview Structure for the Candidate

Give the candidate a roadmap for the interview as you get started. Begin with a brief description of the company and the job responsibilities. Let the applicant know that you will be asking job-related questions, followed by an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions. Providing this structure early on sets up the parameters of the interview, keeps you both focused, and gives the candidate an idea of what to expect.

5. Don’t Talk Too Much During the Interview Process

Hiring managers should only talk about 30 percent of the time. Listen carefully to the candidate’s answers so you can evaluate them and ask follow up questions.

6. Extend Professional Courtesies

Offer candidates a glass of water or mug of coffee, and ask if they had difficulty finding your office. Be on time. You could also give them a tour of the office and introduce them to colleagues they’d be working with closely.

7. Watch Nonverbal Signals

Just as you’re looking for eye contact and appropriate dress, the candidate is looking for those unspoken signals from you. Be sure your tone of voice is appropriate and professional. Clearly articulate the job’s duties and the company’s mission. Dress as you normally would and pay attention to manners. You’re a representative of your company and department, so make sure your actions reflect this.

8. While Being Polite and Professional, Don’t Get Too Chummy

Keep all of your questions job-related. If you spend the interview chatting, you may make a hiring decision because you liked the candidate versus whether the person is truly qualified for the job.

9. Whether It’s by Email or Phone, Follow Up

It’s important to let candidates know whether they got the job. This is one more way of extending a professional courtesy and gives the interview process closure for both sides.

Need More Advice for How to Interview Someone

The hiring process is hardly a walk in the park, and the job interview may very well be the trickiest part. But the good news is that you have an expert who’s willing and ready to help. With Monster, you can get free access to cutting-edge hiring resources — from interview tips for interviewers to job market trends, and more — to ensure that your business is attracting and hiring top-level talent.