Many times when faced with the task of interviewing candidates for a specific role, the interview is sometimes accompanied with unplanned questions, inconsistent questions between the different candidates who have applied for the same role and or even questions that are not relevant to the position that the candidates are being interviewed for.

The importance of conducting fair and effective job interviews is applicable to all who are tasked with interviewing candidates for a particular role, this could be Recruitment Managers, HR Personnel, Hiring Managers and Supervisors.

In this article we will be covering questions that are inherent to the job requirements as well as competency-based interview questions.

What is a job interview and why does it matter?

“A job interview is an interview consisting of a conversation between a job applicant and a representative of an employer which is conducted to assess whether the applicant should be hired. Interviews are one of the most popularly used devices for employee selection”. – Wikipedia

How to effectively interview a job applicant

Firstly, it is important to make the job applicant feel welcomed and at ease prior to the commencement of the interview.

It is also important to keep the questions relevant to the position that you are interviewing for. For example, some questions that you may ask, which are not inherent requirements of the job might be seen as discriminatory, for example, asking a female employee if she is pregnant or planning to fall pregnant anytime soon might be considered to be discriminatory.

When assessing the job applicant’s behavior during the interview, it is best to ask situational questions, in which the applicant tells you what they have done previously in a similar situation. Remember the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

The hiring manager would be the best person to ask technical related questions, meaning, assess the applied knowledge of the job.

The interview is also an important opportunity to assess development opportunities and aspirations of the applicant, which can be useful should the applicant be successful in the job application and get hired.

Tips and Reminders for conducting interviews

Keep the questions standardized

Meaning when candidates are applying for the same job, what you ask one candidate should be the same as what you would ask the next candidate. This will help to keep the interview fair and objective so that one candidate is not advantaged over another candidate.

In order to be able to keep the questions standardized, you would need a comprehensive interview guide that you would use for all candidates.

Keep notes of all the interviews

It is not unusual for job applicants to be disgruntled should they not be successful in an interview. Should the interview process be challenged, you would need to be able to prove that the interviews were all fair and objective.

Remember not to discriminate unfairly

No person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee, in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnical social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscious, belief, political opinion, culture, language, birth or on any other arbitrary ground. Unless, it is an inherent job requirement.

Outcomes Based Interviews

When assessing the suitability of the applicant in terms of behavior remember to ask Outcomes Based Questions. Our Workforce Optimization System can also assist in generating Outcomes Based Interview questions. To sign up for a free demo of our Workforce Optimization System please click the following link

So, when conducting interviews, remember that they must be fair and unbiased. They need to be structured in such a way that they will put you, as the employer, in a position to hire the best applicant out of the number of applicants that you will be interviewing.

Keep the questions standardized, targeted and non-discriminatory. Don’t forget to keep record of each interview that you will be conducting.

For a free recruitment and placement policy, please e-mail We also have a Workforce Optimization System which assists companies and recruiters with outcome based interview questionnaires. For a free demo of our Workforce Optimization System, please e-mail:

Should you require more information on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Landline: 010 007 5245
Mobile: 072 511 3353
Social Media: @nxusahr

Author: [Phumzile Msiza, Director of NxusaHR]
Publish Date: [23 August 2019]

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