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Interviewing job candidates

Original author: Lynda Macdonald

This line manager briefing can be adapted for use in your organisation, subject to the XpertHR terms and conditions of use.

The relevance of this briefing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, recruitment and interviewing processes have had to change significantly. For example, traditional recruitment models along the lines of a CV sift, telephone filtering and face-to-face interview, have been replaced by remote, digitalised processes where interviews take place via video-conferencing platforms and online assessments.

This has created challenges as well as opportunities to change old ways of working. Many organisations are likely to continue to use technology in the interview process beyond the pandemic where it poses an advantage to the candidate or interviewer, for example where the candidate lives further afield or because it allows more initial screening interviews to be conducted in a day. This might be on a hybrid basis, combining virtual and face-to-face elements.

In this briefing, while we cover some of the practicalities of the new ways of interviewing, the focus is on the core principles of interviewing candidates so that you get the right person for the job.

In addition to adaptations to the recruitment process, the recruitment landscape and candidate pool have undergone change. A reduction in job vacancies in certain areas and sectors has intensified competition for roles. Conversely, there may be a lack of candidates for other vacancies, as people may be reluctant to give up existing job security, particularly where they enjoy employment protections through length of service. Both scenarios heighten the need to get the recruitment process right from beginning to end.


This briefing will help guide you, as a line manager, through a good interview process that will enable you to find the right candidate for your vacant role. It will take you through how you can prepare for and structure an effective interview, along with guidance and "dos and don'ts" on what you should and should not ask. As well as the practicalities of interviewing, we explain how to safeguard against discriminating during the interview process or allowing unconscious bias to influence the outcome.