Your guide to interviewing top talent

You’re squirming in your chair, hands sweaty, mouth dry, mind racing – you’re about to have an interview. Trouble is, you’re the one doing the interviewing! Sound familiar?Interviewing tends to be one of life’s necessary evils, but with a little planning, you might even enjoy it…

Confidence comes from being prepared 
At interview stage, candidates will be familiar with your brand, having responded to an advert or spoken to a recruiter, visited your website and reviewed your social media presence. These hyper aware applicants have already sold your company to themselves and now want to test their assumptions. That’s why the interview process is so important.

Do: Make the best the possible first impression by being candidate-centric. Behave as you would when meeting a client.

Don't: Use this as an information dump about your company, or worse still the office politics within.

Getting to ‘yes’ 
The best applicants will have other offers, so help them choose your job over the alternatives, by creating a positive interview experience.

Just as you would when selling a product, you first need to build trust, then position your offering and finally make the sale.

Building trust is about being consistent. You, the interviewer, must reflect the brand's personality so that you confirm the candidate's preconceptions.

Do: Focus on what’s valuable to your candidate in their terms e.g. younger people might appreciate the chance to travel, access to training and career development, while older people are likely to rate benefits such as healthcare, pension and holiday entitlement.

Don't: Set unrealistic expectations or you could be in the same position in 6 months' time.

Positioning the role effectively means showing how it fits into the wider organisation, but also how it compares to similar jobs in the industry.

Find out their motivations in applying for this role. How are these addressed by your vacancy?
What’s in it for them? Show how this job fits with their goals for the future.
Determine their ideal working environment and highlight matching aspects of your business. Help them see themselves on site.

Selling the position is giving the candidate an authentic view of working life in your company so that they can make an informed choice.

How much autonomy will they have? Some people love freedom, others crave guidance and structure, it’s all about choosing the right fit.
Which other individuals and teams will influence this position? You might consider making brief introductions to your strongest candidate(s).
Remember that your company reputation and factors such as job security and culture, will also have an influence on a applicants decision, so give them fair weighting when describing the benefits of your role.

Put yourself in their shoes
People buy from people and candidates are no exception. How does this role look to them? What questions are they likely to have? Are you telling them what they need to know? The Complete Interview Guide may give you some pointers, too.

Talk to Denholm

We are a search, recruitment and employer brand consultancy that specialises in commercial marketing, sales & digital opportunities. If you'd like to find out more, call us on 0131 554 6191 or email