The recruitment interview

The recruitment interview

How to prepare your interview and recruit the best candidates?


  • Mastering recruitment techniques
  • Select the right candidate with the greatest possible objectivity.


The recruitment interview is an important part of the manager's HR function.  Recruitment is expensive and it is necessary to be able to evaluate the candidates and the means used to select the best profile. Furthermore, a lack of recruitment or a failed recruitment can have a strong impact on the team and on performance.

Some companies rely on external firms for a large part of the recruitment process, sorting out CVs, implementing tools such as Serious Games (Assessment Centres), analysing psycho-technical tests, personality inventories or even initial interviews. The more extensive the services, the higher the cost of recruitment.  However, it is sometimes imperative to use them, particularly for complex profiles or those that are rare on the market.

The fact remains that when it comes to defining the need at the final stage, the manager is a key player in recruitment. Several aspects collide: the timeframe for recruiting (increasingly short), the consideration of know-how and interpersonal skills (which is less easy to detect)...

Pitfalls to avoid:

  • Looking for the "five-legged sheep".
  • Try to find a profile that is identical to the previous one.
  • Take on a candidate because he/she went to the same school as you: prefer diversity and creativity to conformity.
  • Recruit a candidate because you like them: Be objective!
  • Take into account only the "technical" skills - know-how: the candidate is above all a human being who must also develop "soft skills" and integrate into the team.

As you can see, it is imperative to remain objective!


1. Upstream:

  • Participate with HR in defining the skills based on the job description and also on the integration into the team.
  • Draw up a grid of criteria for reading CVs and comparing candidates with each other.
  • Prepare the points for deepening the skills.
  • Social networks are a source of information but not necessarily objective.
  • Make sure you are available - Avoid making one appointment after another to remain objective.
  • Carry out a pre-selection by telephone or video conference to validate the essential criteria of status, salary or geographical mobility.

2. During (Course of action)

  • Welcome the candidate by name and on time, make him/her feel at ease.
  • Introduce yourself, name, position in the company, role in the recruitment process. - Introduce the interview process and the time allocated.
  • Ask the candidate what he/she retained from the job (if a second interview, what he/she retained from the first)
  • Explore the application (ask questions, rephrase - have them clarify).
  • Evaluate motivation.
  • Answer the candidate's questions.
  • Summarise in 3 or 4 points what you have retained from the candidate or have him/her summarise what he/she retained and/or was interested in during the interview.
  • Conclude by thanking the candidate and presenting the next steps in the recruitment process ("I still have a few interviews left, we will make a decision in X days, and give you feedback in the meantime"). At this stage, do not give the answer.
  • Remain vigilant until the candidate leaves, they may "drop" information.

Be aware of your own frame of reference. Everyone has their own frame of reference, which is made up of their culture, training, experience and background. The frame of reference is unique.

Good practices

  • Knowing how to listen without judging: It is therefore important to ask many questions on the same criteria. And prefer open questions (how, what, why?) which allow the candidate to express himself/herself rather than closed questions which are always directed and do not lead to major developments.
  • Reformulate as often as possible. Rephrasing means giving back to the other person what they have just said. This is different from going into detail.
  • Remain objective, avoid judging.
  • Limit note-taking to observe congruence between what is said and what is expressed.
  • Try to check all the criteria required for the job, for example by using role plays.
  • Do not ask questions about private life such as children, spouse, hobbies (unless indicated in the CV), religion, ethnicity or union membership.
  • Remain vigilant from the beginning to the end of the interview and even until the candidate leaves the company.
  • In addition to "technical" skills/know-how, also explore interpersonal skills and the ability to integrate into the team.

Examples of questions to check adaptability:

  • What do you do to integrate into a new team?
  • How quickly do you feel at ease?
  • What are the elements that would allow you to say that you have adapted, invested or even identified with your new environment?
  • What makes it easy for you to integrate?
  • In other positions, how did you work in a new environment?
  • What does adaptability mean?
  • How can you illustrate this in your previous experiences?
  • You learn that a project you started to work on is no longer the company's priority, how do you reinvest yourself in a new project (for yourself and/or to motivate the team).

To ask behavioural questions, use the STAR Technique: A behavioural question is an open-ended interview question that prompts the candidate to share a work experience and how the situation was handled.  They help to understand how the candidate has behaved in the past.  Indeed, past behaviour predicts future behaviour.

They often start with "Tell me about a time" or "Can you tell me when...". Guide the candidate to answer your questions using the STAR method.

The candidate should answer the questions using the STAR method:

o S - Situation: what was the situation - the context - when - what position - what year - what project - who was involved.

o T - Task: what was the task?

o A - Action: what action did you take?

o R - Result: what was the result?

3. Afterwards:

  • Take stock very quickly, taking into account the desired criteria.
  • Argue to remain objective: example "candidate X meets the adaptability criterion because".
  • Complete with the motivation.
  • At the very end, note your general impression.
  • Compare your points of view with those of human resources.
  • Build your integration plan.