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Five ways to smash a candidate interview


16 August 2019 at 4:31 pm
Maggie Coggan
If you’re struggling to make the most out of your candidate interviews, then you’re not alone. Getting the right structure and asking the right questions takes practice, so we sat down with Nina Mapson-Bone from Beaumont People for a couple of tips. 


Maggie Coggan | 16 August 2019 at 4:31 pm


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Five ways to smash a candidate interview
16 August 2019 at 4:31 pm

If you’re struggling to make the most out of your candidate interviews, then you’re not alone. Getting the right structure and asking the right questions takes practice, so we sat down with Nina Mapson-Bone from Beaumont People for a couple of tips. 

Build a rapport 

Before you get into any of the heavy questioning, try and lighten things up with some general chit-chat. Because no one actually likes talking about the weather, take a look at their CV before the interview to see if you have any hobbies in common.         

“If the candidate is relaxed, you’re much more likely to get a sense of who the real person is,” Nina explains. 

Give them some direction

Outlining the interview so the candidate knows what’s coming will put them at ease.  

“If you make the transition from building rapport to asking them questions by explaining what the structure of the interview will be it really helps the candidate relax because they know they are going to get a chance to ask questions at the end and the general flow of it,” she says. 

Throw them a hypothetical  

Understanding what sort of soft skills a candidate has is really important, but they are also the hardest to uncover in an interview. You can try asking them about a hypothetical situation.

“This can be something like getting them to tell you about a time when they had a disagreement with a peer or a boss in their workplace that really got them fired up, and how they resolved it,” Nina says.  

Know when it’s your turn to talk 

Giving your candidate breathing space to answer your questions properly is important. 

“If you jump in too early, you’re pretty much giving them the answers, and then they say what they know you want to hear rather than getting a sense of them as a person,” she explains.  

Get the setting right 

This job interview might be one of 1,000 things on your to-do list that day, but not having the right place to conduct the interview will make you look unorganised and leave you feeling flustered. 

“Make sure you book a room in the office, or in a coffee shop where you know there will be a quiet corner to sit in and have a private conversation,” she says.  

“You have to get the environment sorted out because there’s nothing worse for a candidate if they turn up to meet you and their first impression is of you running around trying to work out what you’re doing.” 


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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