How NOT to interview candidates

I was having breakfast with my family the other day and as we sat I looked across the café to the end of the table where I saw a lady holding a clipboard, glasses half way down her nose with her beady eyes peering down at an innocent victim. The girl quivered in her boots as the lady asked short and sharp questions that both cut and stung. Like a deer caught in the headlights she looked at her fidgeting hands as she answered the questions, clearly intimidated. I immediately knew what was happening.

A job interview!

To have a successful interview, an open and inviting environment needs to be created. The interviewer should be non-threatening and very friendly, this will create a relaxed environment and allow the candidate to overshare and tell you their best and worst. The aim of the initial interview is to listen and not to talk. The few questions that are asked should be very open ended, and careful attention must be paid to:

  • Punctuality
  • Dress code
  • Body language (especially facial expressions)


Remember the golden rule, past behaviour predicts future behaviour. Focus questions on their past work experience on how they coped with tough situations. Have them share their future aspirations, can you meet their expectations?

Recruitment is a marriage, each person expects the world from each other. After a few months the honeymoon phase ends and the real work begins. Search for the candidate’s weaknesses and strengths – remember that no one is perfect and you will never find the ideal candidate – just like the perfect partner doesn’t exist. You need to be able to cope with their weaknesses and allow their strengths to compensate. The perfect employee is one that meets most of your criteria most of the time and brings in the cash flow without compromising on your company values.

Would you prefer the professionals to help you find the right staff? Call us on 031 265 2000 or email


Written By: Nicky Henderson