You will be surprised as to exactly how many senior Managers and Directors of business’ don’t maximize a meeting when interviewing potential employees.  In all honesty it’s quite understandable as you’re not typically trained in the process nor in a position to interview regularly enough to have a significant amount of experience in this area.  However, conducting a poor interview can have extremely costly consequences to you and your business.

Below are some of our tips on how to maximize a meeting when interviewing for potential new employees.

Setting the scene.
Don’t forget the candidate is making a life changing decision about their future career. First impressions of you and the business count. Too often we hear stories of candidates not wanting to progress to a second stage or accept a role based upon the interview experience they received.

Below are a few tips on creating an impressive first impression.

  • Don’t be late. If the meeting is at 10:00am, don’t leave them waiting in reception after 10:00am.
  • Have a private room pre-booked or office available to interview. Clients who show preparation give a positive first impression.
  • Have water or refreshments already available to offer, again showing preparation.
  • Turn your phone off or to silent and make sure you have no interruptions. (we appreciate you’re a busy person but constant interruptions create a very negative impression about you and even your management style).
  • Collect them from reception and engage in some ice breakers eg, weather, journey etc etc. This really helps in building rapport.
  • Have a copy of their CV to hand plus any notes from having pre-read their CV. If you’ve not looked at their CV before the interview, you’ll be surprised how obvious it looks. Again, first impressions.
  • Most people will go back over the last 5 years of their career when questioning, any further is normally irrelevant as the market changes so fast and can also be time consuming.
  • Ask probing questions and make notes (see below). If you’re interviewing a few people during the course of the day, you don’t want to get the candidates answers confused with others ~believe us, it happens.  Furthermore, making notes gives a positive impression that you are showing interest.
  • Once you’ve found out about them, SELL your business and opportunity. So many companies think it’s all about them and not a 50:50 scenario.  Talk them through the company and the opportunity. If you have handouts or documents to support what you say that they can keep and take away, then even better. 10minutes on the company and the role should be sufficient.  Conversion rates of candidates accepting invites to 2nd stage and ultimately accepting an offer is significantly increased by Interviewers taking the time and the preparation to focus on selling their business in the interview itself.

Setting the Scene ~Summary:

  • Don’t be late
  • Make sure a meeting room is available
  • Don’t get distracted in the meeting (turn off your phone)
  • Create a warm and friendly welcome
  • Plan: read the CV in advance –have notes ready, prepared questions
  • Make notes
  • SELL the role and opportunity

The interview itself:
When undergoing any interview you have to think about what exactly you are looking for.

  • Personality fit within the business
  • Presentation skills (could you see this person representing the business?)
  • Knowledgeable
  • Organised
  • Ability to go that extra mile
  • Entrepreneurial and ability to think ‘outside the box’.
  • Ability to be autonomous and work as part of a team
  • Motivated to succeed plus genuine enthusiasm
  • Longevity mindset
  • Ability to adjust quickly to moving to a new company
  • How much money can this person generate or bring to the business?
  • What impact could this person have on the business?

You will know what personality of individual will best suit your business and team.  The skill is being able to bring this out in the pressurized and unfamiliar surroundings of an interview. Don’t forget, you’ll be spending a lot of time with this person if you employ them and if you actual like their personality, this is only going to make your life more enjoyable.

The ice breaker –By meeting someone at reception and walking with them through to the interview room creates a much more friendly approach thus relaxing the candidate of interview nerves. It sounds cheesy but discussing the weather or how they found the journey is a nice easy way to make them more relaxed and allow their true personality to start to come through.

The ending –Walking with them back to reception or the car park also helps in creating a relaxed opportunity for their true personality to come through.

Interests –Most Cvs will have ‘Interests’. Always a good thing to bring up and you may even have things in common that you didn’t realize.

Could you see this person representing your business?
The best way to look at this is from your Buyers eyes.  If this was a tender meeting how would they come across what do they do.  Key things to look out for in the meeting would be:

Have they come prepared? Have they made notes? Have they done some research on your business? Do they have pre-prepared questions to ask? Do they look and act professional?

How good are they?
Great ways to approach something like this is to ask good open questions:

  • Can you give me an example of when you showed …………
  • Talk me through an occasion where you illustrated………….

How good are they…… really?
Everyone in an interview will say how good they are and make out as if they are the best thing since sliced bread.  They test is to probe deeper and generate facts to measure performance.  Therefore probe for specific figures on the impact they made eg, what % increases did they generate, what is that in actual monetary terms and so on.

They’re impact.
SO they have given you great examples of their successes and the results that were generated. To measure the impact they’re likely to have on your business, you need to ask HOW they went about these achievements.  This will highlight if they are part of a team (in which case how influential a part) or if they used their initiative and can roll their sleeves up and work of their own initiative.  Ideally you want the examples they give to highlight both “what WE did…” and “what I did…”.


  • Set the scene
  • Build rapport
  • Probe
  • Probe further
  • Sell the role and business

Example Interview Questions

****Warm friendly Introduction****

Employment /Role Specific (c30mins)

Go back c 5 years in their career.

Ask about:

  • Role:
  • Responsibilities
  • Achievements
  • Facts & Figures
  • How they were achieved
  • Questions in line with your requirement.


  • Talk me through what your were brought on to specifically do when you were an (X) at (Y company) if you would?
  • What was the size of the responsibility when you joined?
  • Have you got specific figures for that success?
  • Talk me through processes you put in place to get this achievement?
  • What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
  • What did you learn from working in that capacity/company?
  • Why did you leave?

*****Continue this process till you have effectively covered the last 5 years*****

Generalist Questions: (c20mins)

  • Can you give me an example of where you’ve shown autonomy?
  • Talk me through a scenario where you illustrated your ability to work in an effective team
  • What is your greatest working achievement to date and why?
  • Tell me about a time where you had faced a lot of internal conflict and how did you manage this?
  • What would be your management style?
  • Tell me a little more about you as a person outside of work.
  • How would your best friend describe you?
  • How would those colleagues beneath you describe you?
  • How would those colleagues above you describe you?
  • Company Related (10mins -20mins incl.talking about your business/opportunity)
  • What do you know about us?


  • Why would you want to work for us?
  • What do you feel you could bring to our business?

Final questions? (5-10mins)

  • What has been your impressions of our business based upon this meeting?
  • Do you have any questions, you’d like to ask?

Walk them back to Reception and thank them for their time