How to Devise an Interview Plan

Draw one up in collaboration with your colleagues before any interviews are conducted with shortlisted candidates. Having a skeletal plan in front of you at an interview reminds you to deal with all the main areas (if you’re nervous you may overlook one or two), allows you to listen to the candidate’s answers without thinking what to say next and enables you to return or move to another topic or question if he dries up, rambles on or even tries to take over the interview.

It is up to you which topics and questions to include. Some inter­viewers base their interview plan on their application form or the letters and curricula vitae received from candidates. They work through each section in turn, checking details, asking questions and dealing with queries as they arise. Other interviewers, mindful that they are trying to compare candidates with the imaginary employee required, use the employee specification itself, posing questions about the candidate’s physical make-up, attainments and so on.

A typical interview plan might begin with a brief chat about the company and job, bearing in mind that an interview is a two-way process and every candidate will want to know as much as possible about these topics. Following this, information given in the application form, curriculum vitae or letter could be checked to ensure the candidate really does meet the criteria set. Moving on, questions might be asked about his education, work experience, outside interests, any anomalies appar­ent in his application, and ambitions. Then, he could be given the opportunity to ask any questions he has thought of. Whatever your choice, always be flexible in your approach. Every interview and interviewee is unique, so do not adhere rigidly to a set order of topics and questions when the interviewee may reveal more about himself if approached differently. Use the plan as a loose framework around which the interview is built.

Similarly, avoid noting down too many questions that must be asked. Only a handful of strictly relevant ones, to spark a discussion or compare the candidate with the employee specification, should be recorded under each heading. Attempting to plough through a long list of questions will restrict the flow of the conversation – and make the candidate feel as though he’s being interrogated by a police investigator!

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About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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