How to Interview a Prospective Job Applicant 

Recruiting the right staff is one of the most important factors of running any business.  It’s like building a puzzle with every employee that is recruited forming a part of the puzzle.  If one piece is missing or does not fit properly the puzzle is not complete.


The recession has cost a lot of people their jobs and livelihood.  Businesses have become insolvent and had to close the door. Those businesses which survived have been adversely affected by huge drops in the demand for goods and services, but bills still have to be paid.  Employers are slow to re-hire.  Market share has to be regained through aggressive advertising campaigns which do not come cheap.  That is the short and sweet of it all.


The above scenario cause applicants to apply for every job, any job, in the hope that they will be employed.  Problem is; it makes recruitment of staff difficult and laborious.  Instead of sifting through the Curriculum Vitae of truly qualified applicants to evaluate which candidates will be offered an interview, the interviewer is faced with hundreds of applications, most of which has nothing to do with the advert placed.   Keep in mind that if a company has lost some employees due to re-structuring and retrenchments, the situation will be that of a few people doing the job that was previously done by many.


During tuff times, interviewees might not always be honest and forth coming with information because they so desperately need a job. The interviewee might not be honest about their job experience or ability to get to and from work for example.  Given that the labour laws makes it difficult for an employer to ask such an employee to leave, desperate prospective employees are more  prone to take chances.


The main objective of interviewing the few chosen prospective candidates, are to find the most suited candidate for the job.  Obviously the Recruitment Officer has prepared for the interview in advance.  The job interviewer must make sure that he or she will not be interrupted during the interview with each candidate.


The Recruitment Officer should be armed with a complete, extensively researched and compiled job description.  A pre-compiled list of questions, considerations and employee characteristics that would be important for the employee to fulfil duties and to fit in with the rest of the employees in the company is compulsory. 


The interviewer must make sure that the job applicants are clear about the scope of the vacant position and if applicable any special requirements of the job. 


The Job Interview

Introduce yourself to the interviewee by name and title.

Explain the interview process to the job applicant to increase understanding of company processes. 

Make sure that you move through every section of your pre-prepared questions while taking note of the person’s body language, appearance and grooming.


Take note of the prospective employee’s answers to your questions. Is the person eager to get the job?  Invite the applicant to ask questions.


On completion of the interview, thank the person for coming for the interview.  Inform the applicant on the process that follows the interview.  The first interview should ideally never end with a job offer.


Before deciding on the best candidate for the job, take time to research all the qualifications and other items of importance to the company.  Verify everything to make sure that the candidate has been honest and forthcoming with all relevant information.  Consult with other managers to get their input and to verify that the prospective candidate would fit in with the present company culture.


Compile a short list of suitable candidates and inform these candidates that a second interview will take place.   


When all is done and said, select the best candidate and provide the candidate with an offer of employment.