Conducting a successful interview is a learned art. It’s a careful balancing act between satisfying your curiosity about a candidate and determining whether they would actually be able to perform the duties of the role.  Whether it’s your first time conducting an interview, or it’s been a while and you could use a refresher, here are 9 basic tips for interviewers to make your next hire better.

  1. Know Your Legal Limitations

Before you prepare for an interview, you must know which questions you cannot legally ask. Typically, these will fall along the lines of personal information, such as whether or not a candidate is married, has children, or is of a particular faith. The easy way to avoid these situations is to frame every question you consider asking with a professional context.

  1. Take Time to Prepare

Before the interview, take a few minutes to sit down with the candidate’s resume, cover letter, and any other information you may have received about them from their recruiter. Come up with questions that are specific to the candidate and their experience that you can ask in addition to standard questions for the position. These questions can help you to better understand the candidate as a whole so that you can make a more informed decision.  They can also help you more clearly distinguish each candidate from their peers, which may ultimately make your decision easier.

  1. Extend Professional Courtesy from the Start

Make an effort to start the interview off well by extending basic professional courtesies to the candidate. Show up on time, turn off your cell phone, and be fully present in the interview. Have bottles of water available in the room ahead of time and offer one to the candidate. Simple professional courtesies like these show the candidate that you are invested in the success of the interview and in their potential future with the company. Remember, you are representing what their time at your company may be like, and you want to make a positive impression. After all, truly great candidates choose you as much as you choose them.

  1. Explain Your Role

As you begin, take a minute to introduce yourself to the candidate and explain your role within the company. If you will be working closely with them, explain how your role relates to the position they are interviewing for. People feel more relaxed when they know something about the person they are speaking with, and this is a great way to help to ease yourself (and the candidate) into the interview.

  1. Focus on Open-Ended, Action-Oriented Questions

Nerves can get to even the best candidates during the interview process. Avoid getting one-word responses by asking open-ended and action-oriented questions. For example, you could offer them a typical but hypothetical scenario involving an issue that they might face in the role and ask them how they would solve it.

  1. Encourage Discussion

Interviews are worst for everyone when they end up feeling like an interrogation. To get the best out of candidates, take steps to transform the interview into a discussion instead of a question-and-answer session. Listen closely to their responses and ask further questions related to what they have said.

  1. Avoid Being Too Friendly

You should never be cold in an interview, but you must also avoid being overly friendly. If you are excessively friendly, you may inadvertently pick a candidate because you like their camaraderie, not because they are actually the best person for the job. The personality fit of the candidate is important, but stick to a personable but professional demeanor to avoid clouding your judgment.

  1. Ask If They Have Questions

As the interview comes to a close, always offer the candidate a chance to ask you any questions they may have. They may surprise you with insights you never considered or they may confirm the impression they have already given you.

  1. Follow Up

After the interview is over, follow up immediately with the recruiting contact you are working with to let them know the results of their candidate’s interview. This can be as simple as a quick email detailing what the candidate was missing, or a phone call to discuss the terms of their offer. Either way, it’s important to follow up with the recruiting team so that they can either continue to narrow the pool of candidates to only those with the right qualities or prepare the candidate to accept your offer.

For additional interview tips that relate to hiring for specific roles, such as IT or technology positions, reach out to JDC Group’s Business Development Team at  We’re always happy to provide suggestions, and can facilitate a “practice interview” for new hiring managers if needed.

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