Interviewing: The essentials

Startups looks at how you can get the right person for your small business

The interviewing process is vital to ensure that you choose the best person for the job, but you may have very little experience of the process itself. Whereas personnel managers arrange and conduct interviews everyday, you will probably face the task once or twice a year at the most.

So where do you start when you need to choose just one employee from hundreds of hopefuls? The first thing that you need to do is draw up a shortlist.


Drawing up a shortlist involves cutting through the pile of applicants until you have a selection of candidates that you would like to request for interview. If you have stipulated a level of qualification, skill or experience in the job advertisement, you should be able to reject some candidates out of hand – you’ll be surprised how many people apply for jobs that they are obviously under qualified for.

To reach your final selection, read the CVs and covering letters and pick the best ones. If the job involves a particular skill, it might be worth arranging a test for around 10 candidates to demonstrate their skill levels.

Eventually you will have a final shortlist of those that you would like to interview. A shortlist of five or six should be enough and you’ll need to set aside a day for the interviews as well.

When you contact the prospective interviewees, provide clear instructions covering:

  • where you are located and how to get there
  • what they should bring with them
  • who they should ask for
  • how long the interview is likely to last
  • whether they will be reimbursed for travel expenses


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