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How to Interview a Job Candidate

An applicant may look like the ideal job candidate on paper, but you need a face-to-face interview to get a sense of whether this is the right person for the job.


  • Step 1: Give the candidate an overview Start the interview by introducing yourself, giving the candidate a description of the job and your company, and telling them how the interview process will be carried out.
  • TIP: Give the candidate a fact sheet about your company. List statistics that might be of interest to the person who will be filling the position.
  • Step 2: Ask the candidate to tell you about themselves Ask the job candidate to tell you about themselves and to explain why they are interested in the job.
  • Step 3: Ask experience-based questions Ask the candidate questions about their experience and how their past experiences can be applied in the job. Ask about recent accomplishments, projects, group work, and critical decisions.
  • TIP: Avoid asking questions that require a simple "yes" or "no" answer -- these won't give you much insight into the candidate.
  • Step 4: Ask about the candidate's work style Learn about the candidate's style of working to help you figure out if they will fit into your work environment. Ask about what they enjoy and dislike about their current or past jobs.
  • Step 5: Ask behavior-based questions Ask questions that can help you learn more about the candidate's temperament and behavior in specific situations. Learn how they reacted when their work was criticized, or how they managed difficult employees.
  • TIP: Call your candidate's references and confirm the information they gave on their resume and in the interview.
  • Step 6: Avoid asking about race, religion, disability, or other illegal topics Don't ask the candidate questions about their age, race, religion, disabilities, marital status, or other topics that are not directly related to the job.
  • Step 7: Let the candidate ask you questions Wrap up the interview by allowing the candidate to ask you questions about the job or company. Let the candidate know the next steps in the process and when they can expect to hear from you.
  • Step 8: Select the best candidate Think about how the candidate will perform and how they will fit into your company, and select the best candidate for the job.
  • FACT: The U.S. Commerce Department's Minority Business Development Agency estimates that minority-owned businesses employed 5.9 million people in 2007.

You Will Need

  • Job description
  • Experience questions
  • Style questions
  • Behavior questions
  • Fact sheet (optional)
  • References (optional)

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