Employer's Interview Guide: What You Need to Know

June 3, 2021
By Clea Badion

You’ve created a great job description and collected resumes. Now you are ready to begin interviewing the most qualified candidates.


Finding the ideal person for a position takes time, and your next step — interviewing candidates — is the most important one in the process. You’ll determine whether a candidate is not only a fit on paper but indeed possesses the interpersonal and technical attributes to do the job.


Our employer’s interview guide offers suggestions on how to conduct an interview. Read on to discover the interview types that best fit your process, advice on what you can (and can’t) ask during an interview, and how to gather the most helpful information from each candidate.


Interview types


Whether you’re conducting an interview over the phone, on a video call, or in person, there are several different interview formats to choose from. It depends on your company and the job requirements, for example, a remote vs. in-person position.


Here are four popular interview types:


1. Screening interviews


After determining which candidates you’re most interested in speaking to, your first step is setting up screening interviews. A recruiter or human resources specialist often conducts these initial interviews. They’re brief — 15 to 30 minutes — and meant to confirm a candidate’s:

  • Interest in the job

  • Salary requirements

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Qualifications

A screening interview is also the time to ask any questions you have about the candidate’s resume. The candidate’s answers and performance will determine whether they advance to the next round of interviews.


2. One-on-one interviews


This is the most common interview type, and the one hiring managers typically conduct after a promising screening interview. One-on-one interviews are more in-depth — often 30 minutes to an hour — and usually are designed to determine whether the candidate is an excellent cultural fit for the company and would work well on a team.


Always make sure to prepare before the interview by reviewing each individual’s resume and creating a list of questions to ask every candidate. It’s essential to be consistent with your interview questions so you can compare each person’s answers.


3. Group interviews


This type of interview works well when considering multiple candidates, and you want to see how they perform in a team environment. The hiring manager might ask candidates one question at a time, but most often, it’s a group conversation and a way to see potential hires interact with each other and the person asking the questions.


Prepare for this interview beforehand by coming up with questions to facilitate conversation among the candidates and with you.


4. Panel Interviews


While panel interviews seem similar on the surface to group interviews, they’re a different format entirely. In this scenario, a candidate is interviewed by multiple people from the company, each asking questions to gather a wide range of feedback on a person’s fit for the job.


To avoid repetition, talk to each panel member beforehand to confirm you’re all asking different questions.


There are many other types of interviews, including behavioral and technical, that you may want to research further.


Questions to avoid during the interview


Knowing what’s okay to ask a candidate can be tricky. For example, while you can’t ask if someone is a U.S. citizen, you can ask if they’re legally able to work in the U.S. You can’t ask if a candidate has a disability, but you can ask if they can perform all the job functions. You can’t ask what year the candidate graduated from high school or college, but you can ask if they graduated.


You should avoid questions related to age, race, gender, and religion. Make sure you thoroughly review the questions you aren’t able to ask before the interview.


Make the most out of each interview


Interviewing candidates is both an art and a science. While you’ll assess both the technical and interpersonal skills of each individual you talk to, you may end up with a few equally qualified candidates who fit the job and your corporate culture. Your expertise in assessing candidates comes into play at this point. There’s often an indefinable quality to a particular candidate that distinguishes them from the rest, and that’s when you know you've found your top choice for the position.

For help with your hiring needs, contact the recruiting and staffing experts at Nelson.



Clea Badion is a copywriter, social media manager, and corporate blogger from the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s been writing about career and workplace trends for over a decade, specializing in blogging, website content, ghostwriting, thought leadership pieces, executive speeches, and presentations.

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