Interview Questions to Ask if You Want to Avoid Hiring Mistakes

We do interviews because job applications and CVs come in such weird and wonderful varieties that you need a reliable way of getting the information required. It also works the other way round: applicants get to meet you and experience the work environment and culture. Interviews are generally a win-win if you choose the right format.

Forget Game Shows and “Killer” Interview Questions

TV shows like The Apprentice are entertainment and nothing more, and they’re not something you should try to copy. Aggressive interview techniques and bullying have no place in business. A bad experience could mean that candidates will be less likely to buy your goods and services.

Avoid witty brain teasers and trick questions like, “Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?” or “What animal best represents you?” They’re annoying and useless, and only demonstrate a specific skill that can be practised, nothing more. I bet there’s even a book on how to give killer answers to these silly questions!

Using these sorts of tricks only makes the interview seem even more false than it already is, and can come across as patronising because they’re there to show how clever the interviewer is compared to the candidate. Often the impression given is the opposite – the candidate comes away thinking the interviewer and the company are complete clowns!

Avoid Competency Interviews

In simple terms, competency interviews require you to come up with questions that uncover a desired characteristic. The issue I have with competency-based questions is that they’re hard to frame correctly and can “lead the witness”. They encourage bland responses that don’t show the whole journey a candidate has been on.

Don’t misunderstand me: competency interviews can be useful if you ask the candidate to explain a situation they were in, what action they took and what the result was. For example, “Please tell me when something didn’t go well, what you did and what you learnt from that?”

You need to frame questions correctly, but interviewers often ask about simple situations without further explanation. For example, asking, “Give me two examples when you’ve been creative” won’t tell you much – I’d be worried if a candidate couldn’t! In answering, all they’ve done is remembered two examples when prompted. This doesn’t mean that they’re a creative person. If you asked my kids to give an example of a time when they cleaned their room, I’m sure they could – and you might conclude from this they’re very neat and tidy. But what they won’t tell you is that I was usually standing in the doorway, nagging them not to just shove everything in their wardrobes and confiscated their phones until I was satisfied! They’ve given you personal, specific evidence, not the bigger picture.

Crucially, context is often missing. The surest way to identify a candidate’s real behaviour is to spot the following:

  • Trends, such as salary always going up; consistent promotion; consistent personal accomplishments because they’re a Great Performer.
  • Patterns, such as being constantly overlooked for career progression or frequently leaving jobs due to redundancy.

To uncover trends and patterns, I recommend you use a Structured Interview.

Don’t ‘Wing It’

The worst thing you can do is fail to prepare.

Just recently I witnessed a new manager not be provided with any guidance or support and was simply told to interview a candidate. The meeting started with a clichéd question “so tell me about yourself”, rambled through the applicant’s CV and asked no insightful questions. Whereas the candidate was well prepared, corrected the interviewer when they got information wrong about the job (!), and asked some very good questions (many of which the interviewer did not know the answer to). It finally hit rock bottom when the interviewer explained a key reason for joining the company was a “fully stocked kitchen”.

From a commercial perspective this interview was a disaster. They gleaned very little information about the candidate, but the candidate got an insight into how badly the company was run. This was especially frustrating as the candidate was a Great Performer, easily in the top 1%, and very motivated to join the company. Inevitably when a job offer was made at 50% above the market rate, the candidate rejected the offer – I certainly didn’t blame them.

Great Performer, they will likely invest a lot of their time preparing for an interview. They will often go through mental anguish, winding themselves up about the questions you may ask and how the can best respond. Additionally a lot of well-meaning friends and family will be invested in the process, offer encouragement. For all these reasons, please show you respect the candidate, all they’ve done and all they’re going through - be prepared.

If you do nothing else, please visit, download and use the Structured Interview script.

Using Structured Interviews

Structured Interviews involve asking the candidate to tell you about their life in chronological order, from their formative years in education to their professional life. You’re building a road map of how they got to where they are today. By understanding the trends and patterns of someone’s life, you get to understand their character and competencies.

Below there’s a simple script to follow with a sequence of questions that elicit a lot of information.

The benefits of Structured Interviews include:

  • The candidate will be relaxed and you’ll get more honest answers – after all, people like talking about themselves.
  • You’ll find it easier to identify patterns and trends of behaviour that are likely to be the same in future.
  • It’s difficult for candidates to omit information or deceive you because otherwise their life story won’t make sense.
  • By asking everyone the same set of questions, you’ll be able to benchmark candidates against the Great Performance Profile more easily.
  • Having a structure makes it less likely that the interviewer will go off on a tangent and waste time.
  • You can focus on listening to the answers and then accurately benchmark applicants.
  • Throughout, we remind candidates that a Reference Call will be made, subtly encouraging them to provide honest answers.

The Structured Interview Script

It would be possible to write a book called 1001 Interview Questions to Ask for Every Scenario, but the modest list of questions given below will cover at least 90% of the scenarios you’ll come up against. Further questions are usually just variations on this core set.

Remember, the chronological running order will be:

  • Opening remarks.
  • Education.
  • Early career history.
  • Recent career history.
  • Passions and hobbies.
  • Reasons for joining your company and pre-close technique.
  • Candidate’s questions.

An interview is a two-way conversation which will sometimes deviate, but this structure will help get the conversation back on course.

<div class="grey-callout">
<p><span class="text-color-purple">Tip:</span> A printable version of the script is available at</p>
<p>You’ll notice the questions are labelled with a letter and number. When making notes, reference the questions using their labels.</p>
For example: “A1 – Proud of winning a rocket competition because I had to learn so much about rocketry and aerodynamics.”</p>
<p>There is more advice available on making interview notes.</p></div>

Most questions are applicable to all roles, but you’ll see that on occasion I include extra questions that I find helpful for specific kinds of roles.

Let’s look at each phase of the interview in detail.

Opening remarks

Building rapport with the candidate at the outset is very important. You want them to feel comfortable and give honest answers, and to feel excited about the job and your company. Offering them a drink, and asking how their journey was can break the ice. You might pick up useful information by asking, “I guess you’re rushing around doing a lot of these interviews at the moment?”

Some opening remarks to help set expectations might be along the lines of:

<div class="is-speech">
<p>“I appreciate your time today to discuss if you are going to be a good fit here.</p>
<p>I expect the conversation will last around 45 minutes depending on the level of detail we need to go into.</p>
<p>We’re going to start with your early education and move through your employment history. As we get to more recent and relevant experience we’ll slow down and go into more detail.</p>
<p>I’m probably going to have to interrupt you and this is purely so we spend time on the most important details.</p>
My colleague Frank will be taking notes.</p>
We have a thorough process which is in your best interests so we can find out if you’re going to be successful and happy in the job.</p>
<p>All I’d ask is that if your application is successful, before making an offer we’ll ask you to set up Reference Calls so we can get someone else’s opinion on whether you’ll be a good fit.</p>
<p>You’re welcome to ask questions throughout and I’ll allow time at the end for any final queries you may have.</p>
<p>Does all that sound ok?”</p>


Education is crucial for character and attitude development, and you’ll often find patterns here that continue into employment. When a candidate says that they didn’t work hard at school and partied a lot, that’s often an indicator of what they’re like now. Of course, people change as they grow up. You’ll be able to tell by looking for patterns once you’ve heard the full story.

As people gain more years of employment experience, education becomes less relevant. For entry-level roles, I ask about education in detail; for managerial roles, I might ask less; and for senior positions, or if the candidate attended school decades ago, I sometimes skip it altogether.

For entry-level jobs

Applicants for entry-level jobs won’t have much work experience so focus more on their education to identify patterns and trends. You could ask:

A1 <span class="is-speech">“What school accomplishments are you most proud of?”</span>
Were these individual or team achievements?

A2 <span class="is-speech">“Who was your form tutor?”</span> (ask them to spell unusual names); <span class="is-speech">“When I speak to them, what would they say you were like back then?”; “What would they say you could have improved?”</span>
Choosing a form tutor is best because they’ve usually had more contact with the candidate and have an overview of academic and pastoral care.

Writing down the name and asking them to spell it out sends a message that you’re going to call and encourages them to be truthful.

A3 <span class="is-speech">“When you got detentions, what were they typically for?”</span>
Bad behaviour and failure to bring in homework are common answers. Can you spot any trends that suggest they failed to learn their lesson?

A4 <span class="is-speech">“Did you ever get suspended or expelled?”</span>
You’d be surprised at how many people have been suspended or expelled. They’ll have their excuses, but the school will have had good reason to take this step. Therefore, this is a red flag for many employers.

A5 <span class="is-speech">“What clubs or associations were you a member of?”</span>
An education isn’t just the subjects they studied but the broader interests and life skills they developed.

You can get a lot of insight from extra-curricular activities because these are things they wanted to do. Some groups, such as the Scouts, Guides and Cadets, provide all sorts of leadership and development opportunities.

Sadly, some socially disadvantaged children may not have these opportunities, while some parents may have shown the initiative in finding opportunities for their children. Don’t jump to conclusions, and consider the context before forming an opinion.

A lot of the answers you receive may be unverifiable. I find that reminding candidates of the PORC carried out with their form tutor encourages candour.

For experienced hires

Start with: <span class="is-speech">“Although we’re going to focus mainly on your employment history, it’s helpful to start with your education and move forward.”</span>

A6 <span class="is-speech">“How did you choose the courses you wanted to study?”</span>
Most people chose courses they enjoyed or were good at. Sometimes they just fell into a subject, sometimes it gave them a sense of purpose and direction.

A7 <span class="is-speech">“Did you study hard or pick it up quite quickly?”</span>
This will provide insight into their intellect and how quickly they learn, which is important if you need to make a significant investment in their training.

A8 <span class="is-speech">“How happy were you with the grades you received?”</span>
A grade isn’t always a true reflection of someone’s ability, and this question may provide useful context.

A9 <span class="is-speech">“What were some of the high and low points during your education?”</span>
Highs are typically performing well, but how did they handle the lows?

A10 <span class="is-speech">“What clubs or associations were you a member of?”</span>
An education isn’t just the subjects they studied but the life skills they learnt.

A11 <span class="is-speech">"Who influenced you and contributed to the person you are today?”</span>
This may reveal something about their identity and values.

Mistakes to avoid

  • Asking for education dates might be considered grounds for age discrimination.
  • When they describe traumatic experiences and negative influences, don’t conclude they aren’t mentally resilient. Empathise with what they’re saying, as school isn’t a positive experience for everyone.
  • Don’t skip education. Reassure candidates that their employment history will make up the bulk of the interview, but finding out about their education is a useful way to get to know them better. You might say, “I’m just trying to understand the road map that has made you the person you are today.”

Employment history

There’s nothing more frustrating than going through a CV in chronological order only to find pieces missing. So ask, <span class="is-speech">“Is there any employment not on your CV? Have you left out short periods of employment or things you felt were not relevant?”</span>

If you check this information during the Reference Call and find it’s untrue, you know the person isn’t to be trusted.

Now go through every job the candidate has had since starting work.

Some more experienced candidates remove earlier jobs that may have less relevance to your role or because they don’t want to be indirectly discriminated against for age. Nevertheless, it’s still important to ask about these.

Move quickly through early jobs, asking at a minimum the questions used in screening script given below. Slow down and go into more detail when you get to the most recent and relevant five- to 10-year work history.

Treat every promotion where there was a significant change in responsibility as a separate job. Moving from junior engineer to engineer might be a minor change, but if they became an engineering supervisor, that’s a significant increase in responsibility.

General employment questions

B1 <span class="is-speech">“Why did you take the job?”</span>
This may reveal a pattern of expectations and if these were actually met.

Be concerned if someone consistently takes new jobs for a salary increase. There should be other reasons, such as the opportunity to take on new challenges, learn a skill or have fun.

Don’t be too impressed if they were headhunted. Some headhunting is very unsubtle and not much more than money-driven overselling.

B2 <span class="is-speech">“What did the organisation do?”</span>
This provides useful context about the candidate’s responsibilities.

B3 <span class="is-speech">“What were you hired to do, and what were your key responsibilities?”</span>
You’re seeing what their Great Performance Profile was and if the outcomes match yours.

B4 <span class="is-speech">“What did you like most about that job?”</span>
This ensures that your role is aligned with their requirements.

B5 <span class="is-speech">“What did you dislike about that job?” or, “What could have been improved about it?”</span>
Some people like everything, and that’s fine, but the candidate may reveal things they don’t like which are part of your job.

B6 <span class="is-speech">“What accomplishments are you most proud of? How did you achieve them?”</span>
When you ask what accomplishments they’re most proud of, it’s important to probe the how. If the candidate uses phrases beginning “we did”, interrupt them and ask, “you mention ‘we’ – who is ‘we’, and what role did you play?” You may find they’re talking about a team accomplishment that they had little involvement in.

It's important to ask about strengths first and mistakes later. Top performers rarely list lots of strengths because they’re often humble and know other people will sing their praises. Poor Performers tend to put down many strengths because they’ve been coached to.

B7 <span class="is-speech">“What were some of your low points during that job?”</span>
Candidates often try to dodge this question or say there were no low points. Everybody has low points so don’t let them off the hook. Try reframing the question by asking, <span class="is-speech">“What would you have done differently or improved?”</span> or, <span class="is-speech">“What part of the job was your least favourite?"</span>

B8 <span class="is-speech">“How did your performance compare to your colleagues?”</span>
This probing question provides context about whether they were a Great Performer in an earlier job.

B9 <span class="is-speech">“Who was the best performer?” and, “In your opinion, what made them the best performer?”</span>
These questions help you understand if the candidate is aware of important competencies and give you the name of a person to potentially headhunt.

Make sure to ask this after identifying how their performance compared (the previous question), otherwise they may project characteristics of the best performers onto themselves.

B10 <span class="is-speech">“What’s the name of your supervisor?”</span> (Ask them to spell unusual names.) <span class="is-speech">“Where are they working now?”</span> (This is asked for the purposes of the PORC.)
Making a point of writing down the name and clarifying spelling sends a message that you’re going to call, so they’d best tell you the truth.

B11 <span class="is-speech">“What’s your best guess as to what that supervisor would say about your strengths and points to improve, and your overall performance?”</span>
Asking what their supervisor would say about them is the most important question. If I could only ask one question, it would be this one.

We use the phrase <span class="is-speech">“what’s your best guess”</span> because otherwise candidates say that they have no idea.

When they talk about what it was like working with their boss, they may heap praise on them, be neutral or show disdain. Pay attention and notice patterns. When you make Reference Calls, knowing their boss’s commercial aptitude will provide useful context for the reference. (Hostile references are covered in an separate article).

It's always bad when candidates criticise a boss or a former employer and fail to make the connection that one day you might be their boss.

On a more serious note, I’d be concerned about someone who speaks poorly of every boss. Some bosses are a nightmare. But if an applicant keeps blaming everyone else, this might be because they create conflict, can’t handle feedback or require a unique management style. Whatever the case, dig deeper.

B12 <span class="is-speech">“Why did you want to leave this job?”; “Why else?”</span>
This final question can be very helpful in identifying patterns. Were they promoted, fired, made redundant or did they resign?

For managerial jobs

M1 <span class="is-speech">“How many people did you have in the team?”</span>
Some people are called managers (e.g. customer service managers) but don’t actually manage anyone. This question checks this. You want to ascertain how much responsibility someone actually has.

Be concerned if it’s a low number (under three). Equally, a high number (more than 20) may indicate they had no real control.

M2 <span class="is-speech">“How many were Great Performers?”</span>
When discussing their colleagues, take note if they make derogatory or sarcastic comments – they’re likely to be bad for your team’s morale.

But be suspicious if they describe everyone in their team as Great Performers as this may show a degree of naivety. If appropriate, probe how team performance was measured.

M3 <span class="is-speech">“What were their names? Why did you consider them a Great Performer?”</span>
Knowing the names of Great Performers at a recent employer may be useful for headhunting purposes. Additionally, understanding why they were Great Performers gives clues about what the candidate thought was important.

M4 <span class="is-speech">“Who came and who went, and why?”</span>
It’s useful to know how much staff attrition the candidate had while they were a manager. Some roles have high natural attrition (e.g. call centres). But some people leave because of bad managers, so how 'bad' was this manager?

M5 <span class="is-speech">“What’s the best idea you came up with to improve the business?”</span>
This answer will help you see if you have someone that just manages or strives for leadership. But if they’re coming from a culture that discourages new perspectives, take this into consideration.

M6 <span class="is-speech">“How do you plan your day?”</span>
Do they know how to make the most impact?

For sales jobs

S1 <span class="is-speech">“Describe to me how you normally get new customers.”</span>
This is a critical question. Some sales people rely on marketing to generate and warm up leads. Others may rely on the prestige of a well-known brand. These factors make it easier for sales people to sell, and they may struggle in a business without these resources.

S2 <span class="is-speech">“Explain how you develop and retain existing customer accounts?”</span>
I’m sure we’ve all had calls from sales people “checking to see if you have everything you need?” Such calls add little value. Does this candidate waste time on these?

S3 <span class="is-speech">“How do you define success?”</span>
I ask this question because I like to understand whether they’re intrinsically motivated (“I know I've done a good job”), or externally motivated (“My manager tells me I’ve done a good job”). It can also help to understand if they define success as “caring about customers” or “making a lot of commission”.

S4 <span class="is-speech">“Where do you see yourself in three to five years?“</span>
It sometimes feels like this question has been done to death, but successful sales people usually plan their lives. Does this person have an idea of how they want their life to turn out? Is the role consistent with their long-term goal?

S5 <span class="is-speech">“How do you know when you’ve done a good job?”</span>
Do they know this internally (“I know that …”) or externally (“they told me that …”). You need “external” people for this sort of role.

S6 <span class="is-speech">“What have you done in the past year to improve yourself?”</span>
Top sales people engage in self-development, so you want to find out if the candidate does this.

S7 <span>“If you struggled to reach a prospect, how would you get to talk to that person?”</span>
Do they keep going, politely but doggedly, until they get through? Or do they just send an email and leave it at that?

Passions and hobbies

I recommend opening up a discussion about their passions and hobbies at this stage to relax the candidate. They’ve just had a lot of questions that took a lot of energy. Before carrying on, it can help to lower the tempo a bit.

I’m always suspicious of candidates who are workaholics. I find that, in the long term, people with lives outside of work are usually the best. So take time to find out about their hobbies, passions and leisure interests.

Simply ask, <span class="is-speech">“What do you do with your spare time?”</span>

I don’t ask anything about their relationship status or whether they have kids. If they volunteer the information, it’s better not to write it down.

You might find some very admirable qualities. They might have to work a few jobs to make ends meet, be a carer for a relative or be a sports champion.

Often candidates are stumped when I ask them about their hobbies. If they say they like books and I ask them about the last one they read, they often can’t give a convincing answer. If they go to the cinema, can they tell you about the last film they saw? You might find that it was one released ages ago. Beware of people who like to just “socialise with their friends”. While I might not put too much weight on all of this in the final decision, it does give me a sense of whether the candidate is falling back on bland “interview answers”.

Reasons for joining your company and pre-close technique

Now you’re moving into the final few questions that involve a crucial pre-close technique. If someone declines a job offer, it’s likely that this wasn’t done correctly.

X1 <span class="is-speech">“Why do you want to work for this company?”</span>
How prepared are they for this question? Can they give you a clear, concise answer that applies to your company? Can they say why they want to work for you rather than one of your competitors? Is their answer consistent with what they’ve said about their aspirations?

They may play devil’s advocate and say, “I haven’t decided yet. I came here hoping that was the question you were going to answer for me.” (This is why I emphasise the importance of selling your job).

X2 <span class="is-speech">“What concerns do you have about joining us?”</span> or maybe (with a smile), <span class="is-speech">“What would stop you from joining us?”</span>
Though it’s rare for applicants to tell you their concerns, when they do it’s helpful to address them as they’re often the result of misunderstandings.

X3 <span class="is-speech">“As you know, the salary has been advertised between X and Y. If we were to offer you a job in that salary range, is that something you’d be comfortable with?”</span>
It can be hard for candidates to know where to pitch their salary. If you ask them how much they want, they’ll often clam up and say they don’t know. The term “salary range” is therefore critical.

Expect the candidate to tell you their expectations, usually aiming at the higher end of the range.

X4 <span class="is-speech">“If I could offer you a salary in that range, would you take the job?”</span>
Though you are not offering, it’s useful to know this and not waste your time.

Don’t be alarmed if they say they want to “think about it”. They may have concerns, and this leads on to the next question.

X5 “Don’t feel obliged to name names unless you want to, but to help me understand timings, what other jobs have you applied for and what stage are you at with them?”; “How do we compare to them?”</span>
Notice any inconsistencies, such as someone interviewing with you for a sales job but applying for customer service roles elsewhere.

You can get an idea of how competitive your marketplace is, how quickly you need to reach a decision and your chances of an applicant agreeing to join you.

It also makes it harder for an applicant to negotiate better terms by saying that they’re considering other offers if they don’t mention them here.

X6 <span class="is-speech">“If we offer you a job, how do you think your employer will react and what will be your likely response?”</span>
This question pre-empts counteroffers which usually come when hiring Great Performers.

Managing counteroffers is an important topic I cover in more detail.

X7 <span class="is-speech">“Is there anything we should know now that you wouldn’t like us to be surprised about later on?”</span>
You’d be stunned by the sort of responses I’ve had to this one. The best was from a candidate who said he might not be able to start the job on time because he’d been arrested for grievous bodily harm and had to appear in court. As it turned out, he was right about not being able to start on time – he went to jail!

Candidates’ questions

You should have allowed candidates to ask questions throughout the interview, but this is another opportunity for them to raise anything. Don’t skip this. An interview is as much an opportunity for the candidate to get the information needed to make the right decision as it is for you to find out about them. You must give honest, unvarnished and complete answers. This not only ensures a better match, it helps differentiate you from competing employers.

Always give candidates a chance to ask their own questions at the end by asking:

<span class="is-speech">“Thank you for answering my questions. Now it’s your turn – do you have any questions you’d like to ask us?”</span>

Consider it a bad sign if a candidate has no questions at all on their first interview. You’re never going to have an interview that answers all their questions about a job. If they don’t have questions, it’s either because they haven’t been listening, they’re not interested or they aren’t taking their career seriously. In a second interview, I’d be less concerned if they didn’t have questions.

I usually give trainees the benefit of the doubt if they don’t have questions. They’re often significantly influenced by their parents and peers, and they’re usually hugely relieved the interview is ending and don’t want to prolong it.

Candidates seeking shift work often ask about actual hours, breaks, weekend working etc.

Senior people often have thought-provoking questions. Be prepared for some tough ones. I’ll never forget being asked, “What’s your vision for the company over the next three to five years”, followed up with, “So if someone offered you a lot of money, would you sell?”

Be concerned if the only question is about holiday entitlement or sick leave. Are you getting someone who really wants to work, or are they already thinking about taking a break?

Reflect on Your Interview Performance

When you’ve finished an interview, reflect on how it went. Don’t concern yourself with the candidate’s performance, how did you do? My first interview was embarrassing, shuffling lots of paper, incorrect sequence of questions, lack of listening and eye contact, spend ages after the interview making notes!

Lots of the points I improved are already embedded into the advice contained in this site. So you don’t have to make the same mistakes I made.

But everything can be improved because every company has unique circumstances. So at the end of every interview I’d recommend asking yourself “what can I improve next time?”

Second Interviews Might Be Helpful

For candidates with the potential to be hired, the next stage of the recruitment process is a Job Simulation. This consists of tasks that allow you to evaluate how they really behave.

The biggest danger of arranging second interviews is that a protracted recruitment process can mean you lose the Race for Talent.

Generally second interviews aren’t necessary unless for the following reasons:

  • You need to continue shortlisting.
  • You couldn’t get together everyone from your Interview Team the first time, or you may require a final sign off from another stakeholder.
  • You have more questions that need answering.
  • You need to make sure a story still checks out, to verify things said in the first interview and to uncover inconsistencies. I’ve seen plenty of cases where a candidate’s story unravelled during a second interview and it felt like meeting a completely different person!

If a second interview is required, be mindful that the candidate might be doing interviews without their current employer’s knowledge, so calling them back the next day probably isn’t an option. Be flexible but get them in promptly, if necessary with an out-of-hours appointment.

Forget Third or Fourth Interviews

It’s a general rule that no one gets better the more interviews they have, usually the opposite. There’s little to be gained from further interviews:

  • Applicants get asked the same questions again and again. The poor candidate starts to sound like a broken record and goes on autopilot.
  • Dragging out the process makes applicants bored and disengaged.
  • Applicants may rightly start to wonder if you’re indecisive or too bureaucratic.
  • There’s a danger that they’ll accept an offer from a company with a better recruitment process.

The best way of avoiding a drawn-out process is to have everyone you need there from the start. They may have different views, but they all have the same information at the same time and can reach a decision after the first or second interview. This leads to a better candidate experience.

<span class="grey-callout"><span class="text-color-purple">Tip:</span> If you haven’t got a template offer letter, contract of employment, employee handbook and related documents ready, start now! If you make a job offer and then the candidate has to wait for confirmation in writing it gives an impression you aren’t prepared, don’t take employing staff seriously, and are new to recruitment – all of which can make them second guess if you’re a good employer.</span>

Template offer letters and contracts of employment are available at However, each business is unique so it is recommended to work with an HR consultant or employment lawyer to ensure they are fit for purpose.

<div class="grey-callout"><h2>Key Takeaways</h2><p>Structured Interviews are my preferred method of identifying trends and patterns in a candidate’s behaviour and career.</p><p><ul><li>Follow the script in chronological order. The manageable list of questions I’ve given you provides lots of insights.</li><li>Remind the candidate of the Promise of a Reference Call to get more honest answers.</li><li>Pre-close candidates to be more confident that if you make a job offer, they’ll accept.</li></p></div>

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Geoff Newman has dedicated his entire career to recruitment. He has consulted for many well-known international brands, and worked with over 20,000 growing businesses. He has helped fill over 100,000 jobs.

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The secrets of great recruitment

The Secrets of Great Recruitment is a top-seller. It is easy to read and wastes no time in giving powerful actionable strategies you can use straight away.

Book cover for The Secrets of Great Recruitment