Conducting an interview – especially if you’re relatively new to it – can be a daunting experience for an employer, sometimes even more so than for a candidate. For Rosa dos Santos, founder of Newmarket-based Exact Sourcing, it’s a case of balancing the need to probe the candidate to understand their level of skills and experience with the desire to tease out enough information to ensure that they’ll fit into the team and embrace your company’s ethos. ‘Here at Exact Sourcing we’ve conducted hundreds if not thousands of interviews, and we’ve sat in on many more with our clients,’ says Rosa. ‘In that time we’ve learned a lot about what makes interviews effective and the pitfalls that can lead to you appointing the wrong person.

‘Overall, we’d say that the key things for the interviewer are to sell the opportunity, describe what you’re looking for and explain how you’re looking to build the business, which in turn represents a fantastic opportunity for the right candidate. Not only that, it’s critical to make sure that the candidate feels comfortable while you’re gathering the information that you need from them to ensure that they’re up to the job and that you can work well together.

‘We also encourage interviewers to go beyond the bigger picture and focus on the detail, both in terms of the specific requirements of the role itself, but also regarding the candidate’s previous experience. By doing that you’ll avoid any nasty surprises further down the line, with either you realising that the candidate’s skillset isn’t matched to the role, or the candidate deciding that the role isn’t right for them after all.

‘What follows isn’t an exhaustive list, but covering some or all of these questions should ensure that you build an informative picture of each candidate and enable you to make an informed decision as to who to appoint.’

Key questions to ask
• Please can you tell me about yourself?
• Please can you tell me about your previous experience?
• What interested you about the role you’re applying for?
• What motivates you?
• What’s the most important thing you’re looking for from your next project or career/role?
• What would you say you’re best at?
• What is/are your weakness(es)?
• What are your short- and long-term goals?
• What would a nightmare job be for you?
• Looking back over your career history, what was your favourite role and which company was your favourite, and why?
• What sort of management style do you like and how do you work best?

Exact Sourcing is a recruitment agency in Cambridge and Newmarket. If you’re looking to build your team and would like help in identifying, attracting and appointing the best candidate(s), please contact us for an initial conversation.