Tips on How to Conduct a Successful Interview

June 28, 2013

A View from the Other Side of the Desk

As an interviewer, what should you be thinking and asking?

Conducting a professional and beneficial interview as an employer is equally as stressful and important as making it through one as an interviewee. Here are a few insights to consider when deciding who makes the cut for your company’s A-Team.

Punctuality & Preparedness

Promptness is an indicator of reliability; both are desirable traits in an employee. Though unforeseen circumstances may arise, potential candidates should exhibit a notable effort in keeping you informed if the agreed-upon meeting time becomes an issue. Following their timely arrival, ask applicants a simple question about the company. Expect them to know who your organization is and what it does, as well as how this fits in with their employment plans.

Objectivity & Responsibility

Remember this is an interview, not a test. Do not purposefully attempt to trip up your contenders with tricky questions and “right or wrong” answers. Instead, plan objective inquiries with structure that invite the interviewees to reveal their thought processes and priorities.  You are not required to evaluate a person’s individual worth, but rather his or her worth and fit for the company.  Also, remember to ask about specific past responsibilities, and more importantly the accomplishments that accompanied those responsibilities. Responsibilities alone do not differentiate you from others; successes do.


As the person in charge of hiring, you will be held liable for any rising stars or falling duds. With that in mind, be sure to ask yourself a few questions following each interview.

Interview Questions

According the U.S law and professional business practice, which of these questions would be considered appropriate or inappropriate for you to ask a candidate during an interview?

  1. Can I call you by your first name?
  2. Could you attach a picture of yourself to your resume?
  3. Are you a citizen of U.S.?
  4. What languages can you speak/write?
  5. What is your reaction to entertaining clients in the evening?
  6. Who is planning on babysitting your kids?
  7. Will you need to have religious holidays off?
  8. What kind of discharge did you receive from service?
  9. Are you married or do you live with someone?
  10. Where do your parents come from?
  11. Have you ever been arrested?

Answers: 1. Appropriate 2. Inappropriate 3. Appropriate 4. Appropriate 5. Appropriate, only if this could be considered a job requirement 6. Inappropriate 7. Appropriate 8. Inappropriate 9. Inappropriate 10. Inappropriate 11. Inappropriate, but you can ask if the candidate has ever been convicted.


Adapted from a lecture by Karl Kuhnert, professor in psychology and program chair of the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Georgia

   Back to Insights