Quick Tips to Prep for an Interview

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

–Abraham Lincoln

Whether you’re new to conducting job interviews or an experienced professional, one thing is certain: The better you prepare, the more successful you’ll be. When you’re faced with an essential task like hiring, take the time to “sharpen your axe” before you meet with candidates. The time you invest ahead of the interview will allow you to:

  • Evaluate candidate skills more effectively.
  • Create a more positive candidate experience.
  • Make better hires.

Interview Prep Tips for Employers

Make a great first impression.

Although unemployment remains high, it’s still a job-seeker’s market. Candidates will begin sizing your organization and the opportunity up well before the interview. Take the time to make your communications (e.g., interview-scheduling emails) welcoming and thorough in creating a positive experience for your candidates.

Address technical considerations in advance.

If you’re using a video platform like Zoom to conduct interviews virtually, be sure to send complete instructions and technical requirements to everyone involved. Test your microphone and webcam in advance, and make sure your software is up to date.

Plan interview questions.

    • Review candidate information (i.e., resume, application, public social profiles) to: avoid asking questions you already have the answers to; determine gaps in your knowledge; and identify potential red flags you need to explore in the interview.
    • Use the job description to determine which skills and types of experience are essential, and then plan questions to assess them. Use: factual questions to clarify information; scenario questions to see how a candidate will react to typical challenges; and optionally, stress-inducing questions to gauge how well a candidate can deal with pressure.
    • Determine your ideal responses in advance and prepare a variety of probing questions to clarify responses.
    • Coordinate questions with other interviewers, so you’re not duplicating efforts.

More on effective job interview questions:

Here Are the Interview Questions You CAN’T Ask

Weed Out Bad Hires with These Questions

Block off adequate time.

An hour-long interview takes more than an hour to conduct. Clear at least 15 minutes beforehand to prepare, so you’re poised and ready to devote your full attention to the interviewee at the appointed time. Likewise, block off time after the interview concludes to document notes and handle follow-up items immediately, so you don’t forget important details or lose momentum in the hiring process.

Prepare an agenda.

While you don’t need to have every single question scripted, a basic agenda will help you set expectations, guide the discussion efficiently and remember important issues to discuss.

Be prepared to sell.

Highly qualified candidates have their choice of opportunities; in the interview, they’ll be trying to determine whether they want to work for your organization. During your conversation, highlight the reasons the interviewee should choose your role and company:

    • What makes your company – its vision, mission, and culture – unique?
    • What exciting projects or initiatives will the candidate work on?
    • What does your organization do to keep employees happy and fulfilled?
    • What does your company do to be socially accountable to itself, its stakeholders, and the general public?
    • How does your organization support employees’ professional development and career growth?
    • How does the available role fit into your company’s big picture and contribute to success?


PrideStaff can help eliminate chance and inconsistency – and deliver your ideal candidates faster. Whether you have an immediate hiring need or just want some practical advice, contact your local PrideStaff office today.