Everything you need to know as a first‑time interviewer

Did you know that 96% of job seekers say that it's important to work for a company that is transparent? *

Last week we showed you how to create or improve your job ads

Which means the next step is to start the interview process. 

But what if you've never hosted a job interview?

Oftentimes as managers or team leaders, you're thrown into the deep end when it comes to recruiting for a new position. And it's normal to feel a little overwhelmed, nervous and unsure where to start.

But Breakroom can help you.

More than 200,000 people have told us the things they wished they knew before starting a job, what they value and what's important to them. We've taken this information to help you as an employer, conduct better recruitment processes right from the beginning.

Getting it right at the interview stage and being upfront with your candidates about what the job really entails is essential. There should be no surprises once they're hired. This way you'll have a happier, and more well-informed team. Meaning better retention.

When it comes to holding a successful interview, preparation is key. If you’ve covered the basics ahead of time, including choosing your questions and setting out the timing and flow, it will make it much more efficient for them, and you. 

And remember, it's completely fine to be nervous when conducting your first interview, or even your first few interviews. But the more you do them, the easier it gets.

Now, let's go through the interview process:

First, get to know the candidates

Don’t waste time with questions the candidate has already answered in the application process. Instead, spend some time looking at their skills and experience. Make notes on anything you’d like them to elaborate on. 

For example:

  • Any anomalies on their CV 

  • Anything interesting you’d like to highlight 

  • To check the validity of anything 

The best thing to do is to make some notes about the candidate beforehand, so you have them to hand when you meet them. Remember, you’re looking to make a good impression too. 

Plan your time and agenda 

You don’t want to give the candidate a bad impression by being late. Clear 15-minutes on either side of the interview, in case things overrun too. 

Make a rough plan for the meeting and try to stick to a set time frame. If you have a set agenda you’ll ensure that you get all your questions answered and get the information you need. 

Figure out how you want to start and end the interview. You’ll want to start with a little small talk at the beginning, ask about their journey or how their day has been, this will help you both settle into this interview.  

You’ll also need to figure out an effective sign-off. A good closer is to discuss the next steps of the application process and offer your contact details if they have any further questions.

Prepare your interview questions

Of course, each industry is unique. Make sure you cover the important industry-specific questions to cover the technical side of the role. 

However, what you’re also trying to do is understand what kind of person they are in just a short amount of time. 

But there are some general questions that you can use to get the conversation going and get to know your candidate.

Common questions that you can ask

As it's your first time conducting a job interview, it's hard to know what type of questions to ask. We've put together a list of common interview questions that you can use or adapt to your business in order to get to know your candidate

Competency-based interview questions (3)

You should try and use the same questions so that you are giving each candidate the same chance.

Tell them what the job is really like

During the interview is a great time to reaffirm what the employee will be doing on a day-to-day basis. You should go through those duties with the candidate and explain how much and how often they will be performing those tasks.

This gives the candidate the opportunity to confirm whether or not they are comfortable with it.

For example:

If you are hiring a barista, you could tell them 30% of their day is taking orders and payments, 50% of their day is making beverages and 20% of the day is cleaning. And let them know that they'll be standing for the full day except for breaks.

Our Breakroom community has highlighted that they wish they knew about what a job really entailed before they started. This includes shift patterns, notice of shifts, paid breaks, sick pay and the ratio of tasks that they would be performing.

By being upfront in the interview process, you will have better retention of employees.

Tell them about your company

It’s not just an interview for them, they are interviewing you too, they also want to find out if your business is a good fit. Be upfront and tell them what the company is really like.

Let them know: 

  • The company culture 

  • About anything new in the business or future plans 

  • How the business keeps its employees happy and motivated 

  • Any challenges the business faces and how you support them 

  • The business structure and the team dynamic 

Get ready to answer their questions 

It is likely the candidate will have questions at the end of the interview. This is usually good news and shows that you have an engaged candidate. 

Think about the answers to the questions they are likely to ask you. 

For example: 

  • Why do you like working here? 

  • What are some of the challenges you face?

  • What perks would I get? 

  • What are the next steps of the hiring process?

It’s ok if you don’t know these answers. You can offer to find out and get in touch with the answer.

Qualities you need to look for in a candidate 

It’s tough to really get to know a person in just 1 interview. So, here are some questions to ask yourself about them.

1. Are they passionate about the business? 

Ideally, the candidate asks more about the business. They demonstrate that they’ve researched the company. They can also explain why they want to work there. 

2. Are they keen to learn? 

Even if they don’t quite have all the skills needed for the role, do they want to keep developing their skill set?

3. Do they have ambition? 

You will see this if they express interest to grow and in moving up within the organisation. 

4. Are they likeable?

Most likely the role will be working with other people. You need to be sure that they will fit the team culture. 

Be quick! Make them a job offer 

You don’t want to lose great talent by taking too long to make your decision or getting back to them. 

They’re likely interviewing at other places too. If you find a gem, make them an offer as soon as you can. 

And lastly, remember diversity and inclusion

At Breakroom, we believe that a diverse and inclusive workforce makes stronger and better teams. Make sure you look for talent from all backgrounds, races, experiences and genders. 

In 2022, we will see companies becoming more accountable for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Find out what other trends we will see for frontline workers here

We believe to be a better employer, you have to put the needs of your employees first. It’s essential for the success of your business. 

Do you want to find out more about how to improve your hiring process? We’d love to talk to you.

Click here to tell us more about your business needs and we’ll get back to you asap.

*Did you know that 96% of job seekers say that important to work for a company that is transparent?

Published on 17 February 2022