10 Best Interviewing Techniques for Employers (2024)

Mike Dalley
Mike Dalley

HR and Learning & Development Expert

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Interviewing Techniques for Employers

Conducting a job interview can be just as nerve-wracking as being interviewed.

Interviewing effectively is an important leadership skill and does more than just enabling managers to find the right candidates; good interview practices can have long-lasting benefits for organizations.

This article covers how to interview effectively. We discuss why good interviewing is important, different types of job interviews, and the best techniques, strategies and tools to interview effectively in order to find the best candidates and enhance your employer brand.

The importance of good interview techniques

Good interview techniques are crucial for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, they enable employers to make informed hiring decisions, selecting great candidates who not only possess the necessary skills but also fit well within the organizational culture.

Furthermore, good interview techniques ensure fairness and minimize bias, promoting diversity and inclusion within the workplace. They help interviewers avoid making snap judgments based on superficial factors, leading to more equitable hiring practices.

Lastly, well-conducted interviews enhance the candidate experience, leaving a positive impression of the organization, even if the applicant is not selected. This reputation can attract top talent in the future, contributing to long-term success.

The different types of job interviews

There are various types of job interview, each with a particular benefit and use in helping you identify the right candidates. In this section, we’ll discover the different types of job interviews that you can incorporate into your recruitment processes.

Behavioral interviews

Behavioral interviewing focuses on past behavior as a predictor of future performance. Instead of theoretical questions, ask candidates to provide specific examples of situations they’ve encountered in the past, their actions and the outcomes. This approach helps you assess their problem-solving skills and behavior in real-world scenarios.

Case studies

Commonly used in industries like consulting, case interviews require candidates to solve a real or hypothetical business problem. They’re excellent for assessing analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to think critically and logically under pressure.

Competency-based interviews

Competency-based interviews focus on specific competencies or skills required for the job. Develop a list of key competencies, and ask candidates to provide evidence of their proficiency in each area. This approach helps you assess whether candidates possess the essential skills to excel in the role.

Follow-up interviews

Follow-up interviews are a crucial part of the decision-making process. After initial interviews, consider conducting follow-up interviews to delve deeper into specific areas or clarify any remaining questions. These conversations allow you to gather additional information and ensure a comprehensive assessment of the candidate.

Group interviews

Group interviews involve assessing multiple candidates simultaneously, often through group discussions or activities. This technique helps you observe how candidates interact with others, their communication skills, leadership potential, and their ability to collaborate as a team.

Panel interviews

In panel interviews, multiple interviewers from different departments or levels of the organization participate. This technique provides diverse perspectives on the candidate and ensures that different aspects of their suitability are thoroughly evaluated. Panel interviews can also help reduce individual biases.

Phone interviews

Phone interviews are often used for shorter interviews like screening calls or “getting to know you” discussions. They can also be used to engage with candidates when distance or time is an issue. Be sure to create a structured format for these interviews to maintain consistency.

Screening calls

Screening calls are often used at the start of recruitment processes to discuss basic information regarding the job, as well as clarify potential sticking points like notice periods, working patterns, salary expectations and legal right to work. If it goes well, a screening call often closes with an invite to a more structured interview.


Trials are used for more practical roles to assess capability in a live setting. Some examples of trials could be live coding assignments for software engineer candidates, asking chef candidates to cook food in a kitchen, or typing tests for secretarial positions.

Video interviews

Video interviewing can be used in similar situations to phone interviews, such as long-distance recruiting, but has the added benefit of enabling face-to-face engagement with candidates. Therefore, it can be used for longer interviews, such as behavioral or competency-based discussions. It’s important to be mindful of candidates’ varying levels of IT literacy when considering video interviews.

10 best interview techniques

Effective interviewing is an essential part of human resources management and can impact many areas of work. Here are the 10 best interviewing techniques to use:

1. Listen actively

Actively listening involves demonstrating to candidates that you are attentive to them. This can be done by asking the right follow-up questions, paraphrasing, nodding your head, making eye contact and facing the candidate.

Active listening is important for interviews, as it drives engagement and trust. Candidates are more likely to provide good answers if they feel comfortable in the meeting. It also improves your chances of correctly interpreting what the candidate is saying.

2. Ask open-ended questions

The cornerstone of effective interviewing is asking open-ended questions. This one technique can singlehandedly transform the whole way that you interview. Open-ended questions elicit more than a one-word answer or a simple “Yes” or “No”, and are essential for obtaining meaningful, detailed information from candidates.

Open-ended questions can be used in various types of interviews. For example, in behavioral interviewing, instead of asking if a candidate is a good team worker, you can ask them to provide an example of when they worked effectively as part of a team.

3. Be consistent

In a typical recruitment process, you may meet many different candidates. It’s essential to provide them all with the same candidate experience. This goes beyond treating them all the same way; it involves asking them the same questions.

Prepare an interview script before the meetings, and stick to this script for every candidate. This ensures fairness and eliminates bias and favoritism from the interview process. Allocate the same amount of time for candidates to ask questions, and consider holding interviews at the same time of day to ensure consistent energy levels during the meetings.

4. Build rapport

It’s your duty as an interviewer to get the best out of all candidates. To achieve this, you must build rapport with them and display good interview etiquette. When the candidate arrives, relax them by engaging in small talk and explaining how the interview will proceed. Be hospitable, offer refreshments and keep them updated if the interview is delayed or you are running late.

Ensure you treat candidates in line with your organizational values, and do all you can to bring this culture to life during the meeting. Building rapport puts candidates at ease and in the best frame of mind to answer questions. It also contributes to a fair and inclusive hiring process.

5. Conclude effectively

Conclude the interview in the right way. First of all, thank the candidate for attending, and tell them how much you enjoyed getting to know them. Allow the candidate to ask questions, if they have any, and give them the opportunity to share any additional skills or information relevant to the job.

Ensure you follow up and respond to the candidate after the interview if there are any unanswered questions, as well as to inform them of the next steps and when they can expect to hear back from you.

6. Follow the 70-30 rule

A common mistake made by interviewers is talking too much. It’s easy to fall into this trap, especially when dealing with candidates who don’t offer much information or take time to think before answering questions. Ideally, 70% of the interview’s time should be the candidate talking, while the interviewer accounts for the remaining 30%.

Embrace the 70-30 rule by allowing candidates time (or silence) to think about their responses and actively listening to absorb all the information without feeling the need to interrupt or move on to the next question too quickly.

7. Know the basics of human psychology

While you don’t need to be a psychologist to conduct interviews, having a basic understanding can be very helpful. Familiarize yourself with principles related to bias, nonverbal cues, emotional intelligence, motivation, stress and anxiety, cognitive ability, recall, stress, and decision-making processes.

You can use these principles to build rapport and gain a deeper understanding of candidates’ answers. In addition, behavioral psychology can be used to develop questions that delve into information relevant to the role you’re interviewing for.

8. Manage time effectively

Interviewers must control the interview process. Not doing this means that you risk missing out vital questions or asking the wrong ones entirely.

Ensure this by adhering to the four pillars of interviewing: Timing, Tone, Content and Control. Stick to the allocated interview time, and allocate some time at the end of the interview for candidate questions. Be prepared to politely redirect candidates if they wander off topic or take too long to answer. Maintain interview relevance by following the content of your script.

9. Probe into responses

Candidates may sometimes provide less than adequate answers to interview questions. Responses may be vague, theoretical (as if recalling information from a textbook) or incomplete. It’s your duty as an interviewer not to accept superficial answers and to give candidates the chance to provide more detailed information. By doing so, you help them present their best selves.

Asking questions that begin with “Who”, “What”, “Where”, “When”, “Why” and “How” can help you dig deeper into information. Be firm but not too harsh when probing; leaning into candidates too much will be counterintuitive.

10. Seek examples

When it comes to interviewing, the saying “Past performance is the best indicator of future performance” holds true. The most effective way to predict how a candidate is likely to act in various situations is by seeking examples from them. This is where behavioral questions shine, but asking candidates to provide examples can be effective in any kind of interview.

When asking for examples, use the “STAR” model to extract information: ask the candidate to describe the Situation and Task, explain the Action they took, and detail the Result of their actions. This response will reveal a lot about how the candidate works.

Another technique is “SMART”, encouraging candidates to share stories that have a Situation, Metrics, Action, Results and Tie-in.

Tips for conducting interviews

In addition to knowing and using effective interview techniques, there are some best practices for employers that can be employed throughout the interview process, from before the meeting starts to after it ends:

  • Avoid bias. Be aware of biases that can influence your judgment, such as confirmation bias, halo effect or affinity bias. Focus on objective criteria and evidence when evaluating candidates.
  • Be prepared. Don’t just create an interview script. Review the candidates’ résumés or CVs before the interview, and ensure your diary is blocked and free of interruptions for the meeting.
  • Don’t look for “perfect”. The perfect candidate does not Match your candidates to the job description and organizational values, seeking the best fit from the pool of individuals you have met. Avoid rushing into decisions.
  • Focus on the candidate experience. Your goal is for every candidate to leave the office hoping for the callback saying they are hired. Achieve this by respecting candidates, building rapport, treating them fairly, providing a motivational experience and giving an excellent impression of the company.
  • Train your team. Ensure your hiring managers and recruiters are trained in the same skills and interview in a consistent manner. This way, you’ll maintain a cohesive and effective interview process across the organization.
  • Use the five Cs. A handy model to tie these tips together is the five Cs of interviewing: Read the CV (or résumé), understand the key Criteria you are looking for, consider the Competencies, Consult with key stakeholders, and keep in mind the Company image.

Key takeaways

Interviewing effectively brings a lot of benefits for organizations. That said, effective interviewing is not an easy process and requires careful preparation and thought. Here are the key points to keep in mind for interviewing effectively:

  • Effective interviews bring plenty of benefits, from finding great hires, and being fair and consistent, to enhancing your organization’s reputation.
  • There are many different types of interviews, some of which can be used together in the same recruitment process.
  • Relax the candidate and do all you can to support them in providing the best answers they can.
  • There are plenty of great techniques to help you interview effectively. Ensure these are used alongside good practices such as avoiding bias, training interview teams and prioritizing the candidate experience.

If you implement the interviewing practices from this guide, you will reap the benefits of this — not just in terms of immediate hires but also for the long-term success of your business.

Originally published on December 6, 2019.