Interviewing Plan

candid and comfortable interviewing

There is much debate on the best way to interview candidates. Allowing the candidate to be the most comfortable will hopefully yield the most honest answers. Candidates that feel that they are put off by a manager and offended by a string of questions may feel guarded with their replies and not consider the job afterwards. Lowering the general stress level will provide a more authentic interview.

Interview Prep:

To prep for an interview, review the candidate’s resume/ CV. Review the competency-based questions and have a line of questions ready to ask.

Here is a typical Interview Format:

1. Small Talk

·        Begin the interview with a general discussion that allows the interviewee to collect their thoughts and put their mind at ease.

·        Even if these questions have been asked before, ask what the candidate is currently doing. Tell me more about the job that you are doing now or the one that most closely relates to the job position.

·        Why is the candidate looking for opportunities and why are they so willing to leave the current employer?

·        Ask the candidate what they did to prepare for this interview.


o   I am always impressed with the candidate that actually prepares and learns something about the AND interviewer. There are resources and this is the first check that they can use them. Besides arriving on time, this is the second pass/ fail test.

2. Competency, behavioral and situation questions

  1. Ask the more difficult competency based, behavioral and situation questions. These questions rely on past performance to best indicate future performance.
  • If the interview is going well, the more questions that get asked. If the candidate is just not the right fit, go ahead and wrap it up.
  • Throw in some skills questions/ assessments:
    • Rate your Excel skills on a 1-10, 10 being best. Now, what is your familiarity with Macros and Pivot Tables?
    • Have you worked with SalesForce before? In which capacity?
    • Do you know what CRM stands for?
    • If bookkeeping, why would you make a journal entry?
    • Payroll: what taxes come out of a candidate’s check?
    • What programs do you use for presentations? How do you find new content?
  • Ask a few questions to gauge cultural fit.
    • What do you like about a high activity job?
    • Do you prefer to work in a quiet or loud environment?
    • How many cold calls to you try and do in a week?

3. Tell the candidate more about the company and the job.

  • (If #2 did not go well, this part can be very short.)
  • If this is the candidate, SELL the job and do not just read a script.

4. Job Alignment

·        Ask the candidate their salary requirements.

·        Ask when the candidate can make a change.


·        Ask if the candidate can legally work in the US.

5. Checks and Screenings

.      If doing background and drug screens, let the candidate know when and what point in time these will be done. And, you can ask if there is anything that should be noted. For example, we will be doing a background check, anything that we should know about before?

6. Expectations

      Finally, let the candidate know what to expect next.

Things We Do Not Discuss

There are a few big things not to ask:

  • Do not ask about religion unless there is a religious reason to do so. Of course, the line of questions would already indicate such.
  • Do not ask about activities outside of work (hobbies or interests) as they may indicate more than what you are prepared to know about at this moment.
  • Do not ask about a candidate’s home life.
  • Do not ask about marriage or children or any plans to have children.
  • Do not ask about plans regarding retirement.
  • Do not ask about spouse or spouse’s job.

So you did not ask about children, but information was volunteered and the subject was brought up.  First, do not write any portion of that information down. Secondly, try and steer the conversation immediately back to the task at hand and job performance.