The HR manager is leading their interview just right, talking to a job applicant in a professional way.In this article I will describe four basic techniques of interviewing job applicants.

Which technique is right for you depends on the position you recruit for (the more advanced the position, the more complex and sophisticated your interview should be), and your own interviewing skills (whether you can interpret the answers to some complex behavioral questions, the results of personality testing etc).

One way or another, you should remember that a bad choice of an interviewing technique (or a bad application of a chosen technique, or a wrong interpretation of the results) can result in a wrong hire. If you are not sure what to do, if you do not feel like leading the interviews, consider seeking assistance of a recruitment agency.

At the end of the day, working with an agency may prove more cost effective. If they know what they are doing, a risk of a wrong hire diminishes significantly (though it can still happen).


Four basic techniques of interviewing job candidates

Illustration of an interview in a Korean company, we can see two interviewers and one job applicant in a nice office.Template of interview questions.

To have a simple template of interview questions that target the education, experience, and personality of a job candidate is a good technique for a majority of basic jobs, entry level positions, and jobs in administrative or customer service.

You ask a question and each candidate answers the question. Their answers should help you to understand their motivation, attitude, as well as communication skills. To understand which question is a good one, have a look at this article.

Situational and behavioral questions (or a STAR interview)

If you hire for a managerial position, or for any role that requires some thinking and decision making, it is good to use behavioral and situational questions.

Asking about various work-related situations, you try to understand how the applicant will act in their new job, and what they really did before (anyone can write anything on their resume, but asking about particular situations from their past jobs or studies you can understand if they are telling the truth on their resume).


IQ tests and psychometry, case studies, practical tasks

Illustration of a talk in an interview, man is gesticulating with his hands and smiling. If you hire for a technical position (programmer, maintenance technician, process engineer, etc), or for a leadership role (executive, department manager, branch manager), try to include some tests in your interview.

An IQ test (you can find it online, or you can pay a company to prepare a custom IQ test for you) will help you to assess the intelligence of the candidate, and a personality test (one you can interpret) will show you whether they have the right personality for the job.

Practical tests and case studies will help you to understand their readiness for the job. What is more, you can observe their way of working (and their speed) while they work on a practical task, or try to solve a case study. Do they get nervous? Do they rush? Do they have a good system of work? You should take notice of such things….


Practical interview or a test day

Two girls are having a good time, checking their job applications before the start of the interview.An alternative way of hiring new employees consists in a test day, or in a practical interview.

For example, if you try to hire a new graphic designer, you can assign a design project to all candidates who sent you their job application.

Their task can be to design a new logo for your company, or it can be something more complicated. Only people who are serious about the opportunity will agree to do the work–this will help you to screen out those who do not really care about your offer and company.

Then you can compare the designs, and invite two or three people with the best works to an interview with you.


A test day

An even more extreme (and straightforward) interview technique consist in a “test day”, or a “test hour”. It is a great hiring technique for restaurants, fast food chains, language schools, etc.

After a short talk with the candidate (checking their references, experience, education) you let them to work for you, for one day (you will pay them for this day in job).

Let them cook, or serve the customers, or teach one lesson. Observe how they carry out the assigned duties, how they talk to the customers, and ask other employees to provide feedback on their attitude. Of course you should not expect them to be super fast and effective (it is their first day after all), but how they work and act (and deal with a pressure of the first day) should help you to decide whether it makes sense to hire them or not.



To recruit a new employee is not easy, and mistakes are plentiful. A good interviewing technique will help you to save time and money, and to diminish a chance of a hiring a bad person for the job. Choose one of the techniques, combine more of them, or hire a recruitment consultant to help you with the task


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