Interviewing - Successful Selection

by Jane Tredgett

The overall recruitment process

Interviewing is just one aspect of a complex jigsaw of pieces which form the recruitment process and which ultimately determine whether or not an appropriate candidate is appointed. This process involves

  • Defining what the appropriate candidate will be like – what qualities they need to meet the demands of the job/what experience is required
  • Advertising appropriately (right place/right time/right method) to attract the right candidate
  • Sorting the applications and selecting who should be interviewed
  • Informing the candidates of your decision
  • Organising the interviews – venue/time/date and so on
  • Running the interviews
  • Following up appropriately.

In this article, we focus primarily on the process from the point when the manager sorts the applications, as prior to this the manager may not be directly involved.

Drawing up the list of key qualities

We would, recommend, however, that as the manager who will be working with person selected you do get involved in drawing up the list of qualities if at all possible.

One way of approaching this is to consider all the key qualities and then decide which of those qualities are essential and which are desirable. It is also useful to identify which qualities the candidate should come with and which you would be prepared to train them in once they are in situ.

Job descriptions and lists of job competencies are helpful tools when you are drawing up the list of qualities you are looking for. Other helpful sources of information are people already doing the job successfully – what skills or traits do they have that you need to look for? Conversely, if someone has struggled to do the job before – why was that and what skills did they lack?

This list then forms a good starting point from which to identify relevant questions to ask during the interview process itself.

A few hints on advertising

If you are drawing up the advert for the vacancy, check out HR guidelines on what you can and cannot say (some examples of these are included in the topic on Recruiting). Make sure the advert does not over-glamorise the job or misrepresent the tasks the applicant will be required to do. With these constraints in mind, make sure the advert is still eye catching and interesting.

Look at a range of ways for getting word of the vacancy out to appropriate candidates, including radio, newspapers, trade journals and trade shows. In addition, don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth advertising by existing employees.


Be aware of the danger of discrimination (see also Recruitment – Short Guide to Discrimination). Do not include qualities that are not necessary for the job and that might exclude certain people: unnecessary literacy qualifications, for example. Also, if your employees are all from a particular racial background, you might be accused of racial discrimination if you advertise solely by word of mouth.