How should I handle interviews with potential new hires?

Do you have any top interview tips for your first hires? I’ve never conducted an interview before. What are the main things I need to look out for?


There are two areas that you need to keep in mind when recruiting.


The first is the nature of the role and whether the candidate has the skills, experience and relevant training required to be able to perform it. The second is whether the candidate will fit into the culture of your organisation.


The first key area: Does the candidate have the relevant skills?


Decide what you want to know from a candidate. Based on this decision, devise some key criteria for the position, then prepare yourself with a set of questions.


Know where you want to take the interview. Have a plan on how the interview will go, but be prepared to deviate from this plan if the need arises.


Include some time in your interview plan to discuss the role and the nature of your business, along with some time for the candidate to ask questions.


Things to look out for:

  • Has the candidate done any research on the company? With so much information at our finger tips it really is no excuse not to have researched the company/organisation.
  • Is the candidate dressed appropriately for the role in which they have applied? How they have presented themselves? This tells you a lot about their desire for the role.
  • Have they come with a list of questions? What are they interested to know about the organisation?
  • Do they understand what they have applied for? Explore this. It is just as important for the candidate to also know this is the right role for them and what they want to get out of a role.
  • Are they answering your questions? Are they waiting to reply correctly or interrupting you?
  • Ask for examples to clarify anything they say to be confident the statement is an honest one and there is no misunderstanding about what they actually did.
  • The fit for the role. Is it one that requires frequent changes/flexibility or a routine one, requiring someone who enjoys repetitive and constant tasks?

The second key area: Will the candidate fit into your corporate culture?


The other thing to look for is whether they fit into your organisation’s culture and do they have the personal attributes required (as opposed to practical experience).


A candidate needs to fit your organisation’s culture or neither party will be happy. It can be costly to employ the wrong person.


This is, I think, more important than having exactly the right experience. People can always learn more about a role but it is difficult to change someone’s values (which is what underpins the culture) and their innate skills and competencies.


Check out what is important to your company and the role. For example:

  • Willingness to take on additional tasks.
  • Being a team player.
  • Creativity and problem solving skills.
  • Ambition and willingness to work hard.

Good luck! Employing the right people is the most critical part of success for any business.


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