Talent Acquisition

How to Interview Someone Like the Boss You Are

Building your dream team isn’t a quick fix; it’s a journey that requires a strategic approach. One of your most valuable tools in this endeavor is conducting an interview. It provides helpful insights into job seekers’ qualifications, thought processes, and potential fit within your company. Here’s how to interview someone like the boss you are.

Why Do Employers Conduct Interviews?

Interviews help employers assess how well a candidate’s skills and qualifications fit within the company’s fundamental goals and objectives. It’s the primary reason for learning how to interview someone.

  • Assess qualifications: Interviews allow employers to assess a candidate’s qualifications, skills, and experience in more detail than what’s on a resume.
  • Cultural fit: The process helps evaluate a candidate’s fit with the company’s culture, values, and team dynamics, fostering a harmonious work environment.
  • Communication skills: Employers can gauge candidates’ communication skills, including their ability to articulate ideas, listen actively, and interact with others.
  • Behavioral assessment: Hiring managers can assess a candidate’s behavior, problem-solving abilities, and how they handle various situations, providing insights into their suitability for the role.
  • Clarify information: Employers can seek clarification on a candidate’s resume, qualifications, and previous work experiences to ensure accuracy and truthfulness.
  • Motivation and enthusiasm: Interviews help stakeholders gauge a candidate’s motivation and enthusiasm for the role, which indicates long-term job satisfaction and performance.

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Preparing to Interview Candidates

Being well-prepared contributes to a smoother and more efficient interview process. Consider it a game plan that helps you focus on relevant questions and topics related to your open role.

Start With Research

Before meeting face-to-face, take some time to acquaint yourself with the candidate. Review their resume to gain insights into their background, career accomplishments, and any relevant awards or certifications. Make sure to jot down any questions you want to ask during the interview.

Next, review the candidate’s LinkedIn profile if they have one. Check its currency and whether it includes recommendations, skills, certifications, and work samples. Many job seekers maintain professional websites highlighting their achievements, skills, and know-how. As with LinkedIn, it could give you a better sense of the person you’ll be speaking to.

It’s always tempting to google a job candidate. You can search for blog posts or publications written by or featuring the candidate in professional contexts. They may also have profiles on professional networking sites. When reviewing search results, stay focused on job-related information.

  • Remember not to base your hiring decisions on protected characteristics (for instance, race, religion, age, and gender).
  • Apply the same thorough online research process to all candidates to ensure fairness and avoid any potential bias.
  • Avoid invasive or overly personal searches that intrude on a candidate’s private life—reconsider if you really need to view their Instagram.

Create a Fair Interview Structure

Following the same structure when interviewing multiple candidates for the same role is your secret weapon against bias. It creates a level playing field for all candidates, prevents discrimination, aligns with equal employment opportunity laws, and fosters equitable treatment for all candidates, regardless of personal characteristics.

Fairness also leads to better hiring decisions, a positive company image, and a diverse workforce, ultimately contributing to long-term success. Bonus: it’s a time-saver, making interviews more productive and focused.

1. Introductions and Icebreakers

Start the interview by being welcoming. It puts candidates at ease and encourages open and honest communication. Consider kicking off with an icebreaker question to help them relax and open up. Keep it simple; you can ask about their day.

2. Share Your Brand Story

It helps candidates understand what the company does and why it exists. Also, once job seekers understand the organization’s origins, company culture, and values, it helps them align their responses with the company’s vision.

3. Review Career Highlights

Ask the candidate to walk you through their career highlights related to the role you’re trying to fill. Encouraging candidates to share is a strategic move that adds depth to the conversation. It sets the stage for a meaningful dialogue, allows candidates to showcase their achievements, and gives them control over their narrative. 

4. Ask Behavioral Questions

Many hiring experts, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to ask behavioral questions. The intention is to explore your candidate’s past experiences and skills. Sample things to ask include:

  • Describe a challenging project you worked on and how you overcame obstacles.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with a difficult team member.
  • Share the kind of work environment in which you thrive.
  • Describe a situation where you had to uphold company values.

5.  Let the Candidate Ask Questions

Interviews are a two-way street. While you assess the candidate’s fit for the role, candidates also evaluate whether the company aligns with their career goals and values—so encourage questions. Remember, questions are a great way to gauge critical thinking and communication skills, which may reveal red flags.

6. Concluding the Interview

As you wrap up the interview, express gratitude for the candidate’s time and encourage final questions. Then, share the next steps in the hiring process, including when the candidate can expect a response. Remember the value of kindness throughout this process; even if this opportunity doesn’t align, the candidate could become a future colleague or hiring manager.

7. Ask for Feedback

One of the best ways to evaluate and improve your interviewing skills is to ask for candidate feedback. It doesn’t have to happen in person or on Zoom; you can follow up with an informal email or survey.

  • General impression: What was the job seeker’s overall impression of the process?
  • Clear communication: Did the candidate feel their questions were answered adequately?
  • Cultural fit: Based on the information shared, did the candidate feel like a good fit for the role?
  • Additional insights: Ask for any other feedback or observations about the process.

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Does Interview Attire Matter?

As with your attitude, attire sends signals to candidates. If your workplace leans toward a more casual dress code, no problem. But do your best to strike a balance. While you don’t need to wear a tuxedo or conceal your personal style, dress neatly. Remember, a fresh appearance goes a long way in making a positive impression.

How to Conduct a Virtual Interview

Virtual interviews have become the new standard. For recruiters and hiring managers gearing up for a Zoom or Outlook interview, you’ll want to remember several steps to make the experience smooth and effective. 

  • Test technology: Before the interview, ensure your internet connection, camera, microphone, and conferencing software are working correctly.
  • Choose a quiet location: Find a quiet, well-lit space to interview to minimize distractions.
  • Maintain eye contact: Look into the camera to simulate eye contact with the candidate.
  • Be punctual: Start the interview on time and send meeting invitations well in advance.

In-Person Interviews

There are special considerations to remember for in-person interviews, mainly around time and health concerns. Questions to consider:

  • How many people on your team are involved in the hiring decision, and who should meet the candidate?
  • Can all the interviews be scheduled in a single day so the candidate doesn’t have to keep coming back?
  • Does it make sense to have a panel interview where all stakeholders interview the candidate simultaneously?
  • What precautions should everyone take because of COVID-19 and other viruses that may be spreading?

EEO Laws and the Interview Process

You can ask many great questions during an interview. However, it always bears repeating that a fair and non-discriminatory hiring process is the law. 

Employers are required to comply with Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age. So remember, avoid questions that might be biased or unfair due to these factors.

Your Interviewer Cheat Sheet 

10 Things for Hiring Managers to Remember

  1. Start with a welcoming intro: Use icebreakers to put candidates at ease and encourage open communication.
  2. Share your company’s story: Help candidates understand the company’s mission, culture, and values.
  3. Clarify resume details: Evaluate your candidate’s qualifications, skills, and job experience in detail.
  4. Ask behavioral questions: Gauge the candidate’s problem-solving abilities and how they handle various situations.
  5. Check communication skills: Note your candidate’s ability to articulate ideas, listen actively, and interact with others.
  6. Evaluate cultural fit: Assess how well they align with the company’s culture, values, and team dynamics.
  7. Gauge motivation: Evaluate your candidate’s enthusiasm for the role as an indicator of long-term job satisfaction.
  8. Encourage candidate questions: This helps assess their critical thinking and their understanding of the role and company.
  9. End with next steps: Clearly communicate your hiring process timeline and thank the candidate for their time.
  10. Ask for candidate feedback: This can help improve future interviews and your overall hiring process.

Wize Words

Approach the interview with curiosity and a willingness to learn. It is a pivotal moment in the hiring journey and a window into the individual you’ll welcome to your team. You got this.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should interviews last?

Whether in-person or virtual, candidate interviews typically last between 45 and 90 minutes. However, the duration may vary depending on the topics covered during the session. It may take longer if the interview requires a skills assessment or presentation. Alternatively, each session can be shorter if you intend to conduct multiple interviews with one candidate.

What if a candidate is not able to answer a question?

It’s common for a candidate to experience nerves or not know the answer to a question. Consider their reason for not answering or if they understood your question. If they seem to be avoiding the question entirely, it may be a good idea to rephrase it differently. If they continue to avoid a topic, this may be a red flag to consider in your hiring decision.


  • Deirdre Sullivan

    Deirdre has more than 20 years of experience in content creation, leading creative teams and producing engaging online experiences. With a strong background in content marketing, she is committed to delivering valuable and captivating content to Wizehire's audience, going beyond recruitment tips.

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The article was reviewed by Marisa Ramirez

Deirdre Sullivan

Deirdre has more than 20 years of experience in content creation, leading creative teams and producing engaging online experiences. With a strong background in content marketing, she is committed to delivering valuable and captivating content to Wizehire's audience, going beyond recruitment tips.

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