Hiring well is crucial to any organization’s success, and an important part of that is the interview. After all, the resume can give you some basics, but the interview is your primary chance to uncover real insight about your applicant pool.

But how does that happen? Can you really tell the strength of a candidate from a 20-minute interview?

The answer is yes, if the interview is built correctly. The keys to a great interview are:

1. Having A Clear Understanding of the Job

The goal of any interview is finding out if the candidate has the skills and personality traits necessary for the position. But that can only happen if you know what skills and what personality traits are necessary for the position.

That means clearly defining a profile of a perfect candidate before advertising a position (ESPN does a great job of this). Then, you can design an interview around finding that person.

2. Building A Structured Interview

Studies have shown that structured interviews are more effective than unstructured interviews. This is partly because structured interviews provide more objective data, whereas unstructured interviews often lead to a hiring manager “trusting their gut” and are prone to bias (Google agrees).

What does that mean? Each candidate gets the same questions in the same order. This way, you can make apples-to-apples comparisons between applicants.

3. Using The Talent You Already Have

Ensuring a candidate has the right skills to do a job is vital, and the best way to determine that is to use the talent you already have. For example, if you need a developer, it makes sense to involve your existing software engineers to help you build the interview and assess the applicants.

Sounds obvious, but there are some examples of hiring managers who, for whatever reason, don’t involve their employees in their hiring process. But it makes good sense to use people under you who have a different set of skills and a different perspective while hiring.

4. Asking Tough And Relevant Scenario Questions

Behavioral interview questions should definitely be part of any job interview (Warren Buffettdoes a great job of this). Specifically, giving candidates a worst-case scenario they might face on the offered job is a great way to gain insight into their thought process.

These types of scenario questions often provide better insight than asking an applicant about an obstacle they had to overcome in the past, for example. Generally, the person is more likely to give a sugar-coated example that doesn’t provide the same sort of insight an on-the-spot scenario can garner.

5. Ensuring The Candidate Wants What You're Offering

We all hear about Zappos and the importance of hiring for cultural fit. What that really means is matching what the candidate wants to what you offer. And the best way to find that out is again through behavioral interviewing, such as asking an applicant about their biggest accomplishment.

So if you offer, say, an independent environment and you have someone whose biggest accomplishment involved working with a team, it probably isn’t going to be a great fit. The key here is not finding a person you want to get a beer with, but instead a person who wants what your organization offers.


The key to designing the perfect job interview comes in the preparation. And that means understanding what type of person you’re looking for and then using the people around you to ensure you get that person.

Granted, hiring can be a pain and everyone is already busy with everything else. But some investment ahead of time can mean bringing on better people, which pays off ten-fold in the long run.

About VoiceGlance

VoiceGlance is a cloud-based hiring tool used by forward-thinking companies to hire smarter, instead of harder. Learn more here.