How to Confidently Conduct Your Next Interview | Connector Team Recruiting.jpg

When it comes to interviewing, there is often the assumption that hiring managers know how to interview candidates in a meaningful way that provides clarity around applicants’ expertise and overall fit with open roles. However, depending on their experience interviewing, managers can be just as nervous as candidates. After all, hiring managers are human too. That’s why it’s important for new or inexperienced managers to be very well prepared to avoid any possible jitters.

At our firm we take pride in preparing our clients for this all-important meeting.

Put forward a great message and enhance your Company Brand while Interviewing. In today’s competitive job market, it’s important for that all Companies have the tools they need to conduct a top interview.  In addition to assessing a candidate during an interview – we want you our client to know that the candidate is also looking very closely at your company.

“If you’re a manager who’s new to hiring or someone who may be unsure of how to get the most out of the candidate interview, there are measure you can take to feel more at ease,” says Simone Mazzeo, program manager of talent attraction for MRINetwork. “By leveraging measures such as coaching from your preferred talent partner, making sure you’re highly prepared by reading through each candidate’s resume and cover letter, and simply putting yourself in the candidate’s shoes, there’s much you can do to feel more confident.”

Here are some tips managers new to interviewing can follow or those looking to improve:

Preparation is key:

It’s not surprising that doing your homework can pay off when you’re in a high-pressure situation. That’s true for an interview that you’re conducting. One way to prepare for the interview you’re about to conduct is to gain a deep understanding of the person’s job experience by reading and re-reading the person’s resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter.

Performance Tip:

Also, try drafting some questions you want to ask before the interview so that you have an idea about what you want to ask. You can even jot down notes on a copy of the person’s resume to help.

Research has shown that unstructured interviews have only a 35% accuracy rate in selecting the best talent for a job. A primary reason for this is that many questions in an unstructured interview require the candidate to give an opinionated answer. Opinionated answers rarely provide information that prove a candidate can do the job, adept to a new company culture, or deal with a certain type of customer. It is also difficult to assess their interest in the job.

Unstructured interviews also can be a very inefficient use of time. It is not uncommon for an interviewer to leave a discussion and be no surer about whether they should hire the candidate then before the interview even started.

Just as you will probably evaluate the candidate on the quality and depth of their questions, they will also be evaluating you on yours. Follow these guidelines to help you prepare your questions.

Write out your questions – Don’t try to “wing it” in the interview or you will come across as unprofessional.  Even if you have only 5 or 6 questions, you’ll come across as prepared and we’ve provided a list of questions in a separate attachment.

Use your list of expectations, job requirements and experiences – develop questions that will probe into a candidate’s ability to meet and exceed your expectations and handle the job

Get coaching from your preferred talent partner. If you want to really ensure you’re never nervous for a job interview again, simply ask for help from an expert. Recruiters and other members of your company’s HR team are well-versed when it comes to interviewing potential candidates. Therefore, simply tap them for advice before the interview date. They can coach you on ways to perform best under pressure by doing mock interviews with you, reviewing the types of questions you ask, and answering any questions you may have about the process.

“When in doubt, it never hurts to ask the recruiter who is connecting you to top candidates, for a little assistance,” says Mazzeo. “Their jobs are dedicated to finding and hiring the best talent for the company, so they’ll be more than happy to assist you as a hiring manager trying to fill an open role.”

The top candidates are also determining if your company will fit their career advancement goals and needs. 

Candidates are typically focused on six areas that are important to them before changing jobs.

 The order of the list below is interchangeable and it’s specific to an individual candidate’s life and work experience. 

  1. Challenge

  2. Location

  3. Advancement

  4. Money

  5. People they work with

  6. Security

Performance Tip: Be prepared to answer the tough questions

  1. The definition of a tough question is any question you feel you would not like the candidate to ask because you don’t feel comfortable with the answer that you would have to give. For example, many employers find it difficult to answer questions that deal with:

  2. Negative rumors about turnover or being up for sale

  3. Poor management or past turnover

  4. Poor decisions that were made by the company

  5. Questions that directly ask for the hiring authority’s background and ability

  6. Questions about the future growth track or vision of the company 

In most cases the candidate is not so much concerned with the content of the information but is rather looking for how the employer handles himself or herself under pressure. In general, you should prepare an answer that:

  1. Does not focus on the negative – but rather gives strategy to change the situation

  2. Provides information as to what the business strategy is to make it more positive

  3. Describes how the company has benefited from having gone through the situation

  4. Are your answers clear, direct and to the point? – if the answer is too wordy, the candidate may think you are trying to hide something.

Performance Tip: Sell the Benefits 

In today’s marketplace top candidates have many opportunities that they can explore. You can be sure that when they come into an interview, they will be exploring the opportunity with just as much curiosity as you will their background. Therefore, you will need to be prepared to sell them. You need to show them that you provide them with more value than what other opportunities may provide.

To help you sell your company you should be prepared to present benefits in four key areas:

 For Your Company, Ask yourself

  1.  What is your standing in the marketplace, and more importantly how does that impact your current employees and this position?

  2. What is your strategic vision, and how does that impact your current employees and this position?

  3. What tough obstacles has the company had to work through, and how does this impact your employees and this position?

You as a Hiring Manager, ask yourself:

  1. What kind of training and development can you provide?

  2. How will your experience help an individual?

  3. How will your management style impact an individual?

  4. How long have you been with the company, and how will this benefit an individual?

  5. What has your career path been with the organization?

  6. Where did you come from?

Your PERKS and Benefits Program, Ask yourself:

  1. What is your medical coverage, and does it provide significant benefits to your employees? (You may want to talk with your benefits specialist in your HR department). Is there a summary of the benefits program either on your career website or a PDF document for sharing?

  2. What is your 401K program? Does it provide any significant benefits to your employees? (Think about how it may impact someone’s retirement financial planning)

  3. For Business Development, Sales or Regional roles? Is there a company car, if so, what is its value?

  4. Any other key benefits to working for the company? Discount programs, 4 day week one day remote work, etc…

Your Community Outreach, Ask yourself:

  1. What is the company’s standing in the local marketplace?

  2. What Charities or local community support is provided?

Many candidates today (specifically today’s younger profile canddates, think Millennials, are not just looking for a job, they are looking to identify with a company that has the “IT” factor in the local community.  This is true for startups or multi-generational companies. 

Be prepared to talk about your local involvement and standing in the community.


Enjoy your time with the candidate. Instead of having the interviews seem like a stuffy, extremely formal experience, you can make them more of a conversation. While it is, of course, very serious business to hire a strong candidate for your team, you’re both only human at the end of the day. You also want to make candidates (and yourself) feel at ease so you get a stronger assessment of each person’s unique skills and abilities during your time together.

Performance Tip: How to end the interview

 Always try to end the interview with as much enthusiasm as the beginning of the interview.

 If at the conclusion of the first or second interview, you are confident that the candidate is qualified and a fit for your company…don’t hesitate to state the obvious and end it on a positive.

End the interview with a positive statement like (I really enjoyed our interview today, you’re an impressive candidate.  I’ll be taking steps in the next day or two and my plan to schedule another appointment and have you scheduled back to interview with a few more members of the team.

I’ll be in contact with our recruiter and they will come back to you with next steps shortly. For further information or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

In sum, you can ease the pressure and stress of conducting candidate interviews by preparing yourself through research, working with your talent partner and HR team to learn more about interviewing and by keeping the interview itself as conversational and light as possible.

By following these tips, you’ll conduct better interviews helping you and your company find your next all-star employees in no time (and be less nervous)!

Blog Post by: Bill O’Malley, Chief Recruiting Officer at Connector Team Recruiting.  Connector Team is recognized by leaders and leading consultants as the premier search firm in the Furniture | Electronics and Sleep vertical space. Connector Team is an affiliate office of MRINETWORK recently ranked in 2019 as a Top Recruitment Firm by Forbes Magazine.