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Best practices for interviewing: 5 do’s and 5 don’ts from our skilled job recruiters

How you interview job candidates can make a big difference in the success of your most important hires. Knowing what and what not to do, as well as what and what not to ask, can also keep you out of hot water.

Interviewing is time-consuming and requires organization; it can be frustrating and even stressful. It’s not surprising, then, that so many companies depend on job recruiters for their most significant hires. Whether you decide to go it alone or hire a professional recruiter, you will eventually be interviewing candidates. So, equip yourself now with good interviewing skills to assess your finalists.

You are likelier to make the right hires if you interview smartly and effectively. And as you no doubt have learned, the wrong hires cost time and money, and the hiring process restarts at square one.

Make our 5 do’s and 5 don’ts for interviewing part of your recruitment strategy


  1. Look over candidates’ resumes before interviews. Well, of course, you say? You might be surprised at how many people don’t. Be organized and know what you plan to ask before interviews start.
  2. Be positive and make candidates feel at ease. This builds a better rapport with them and encourages them to respond openly and honestly.
  3. Ask candidates the same set of questions. This allows you to compare and rate candidates more fairly. Of course, follow-up questions may be different depending on their answers.
  4. Use open-ended questions. These give more insight to candidates’ skills and personal traits than yes/no questions. For example: “Tell me about a work environment where you did your best work” or “describe a project where you used your skills to accomplish it.”
  5. End the interview properly. Thank candidates for their time and interest in the job. Let them know the next steps and timeline for the interviewing and hiring process.


  1. Don’t engage in a lot of small talk. A little bit helps break the ice, but too much can get you in trouble. Want to comment on the weather or traffic? That’s fine. But don’t get into areas that could be personal. See our blog post, “Beware of the dangers of small talk in interviews.”
  2. Don’t make notes about candidates’ appearances. Specifically, don’t note their age, gender, race, or religion, which could become a basis for accusations of discrimination.
  3. Don’t inquire about areas that are off-limits. Know what these are—for example, religion, ethnicity, political party, marriage status, age, and more. Whether illegal or inappropriate, steer clear of them. Prevent trouble by reading our blog post, “Can I ask that?
  4. Don’t ask unproductive questions. Use your valuable time on questions that will elicit information you want. Don’t say, “Tell me about yourself” or ask, “What is your greatest weakness?” For more, read our blog post, “Avoid unproductive interview questions.”
  5. Don’t monopolize the conversation. Certainly you will need to spend time describing the position and its requirements. But you want to learn as much as you can about them in the time that you have together. Plus, you don’t want to appear self-centered.

Need help with interviewing? Our job recruiters can assist you

Effective interviewing isn’t easy—it takes time and effort. That’s why many companies entrust the initial phase of the interviewing process to job recruiters and recruiting agencies. Recruiters know how to find the right candidates and how to ask the right questions.

If you’re thinking of recruitment outsourcing or need help with interviewing to evaluate candidates, we hope you will talk with us here at TriStarr. Our recruiting, staffing and HR consulting firm is based in Lancaster, PA with clients in the York, Harrisburg, Lebanon and Reading areas as well.

We back our recruiting with our Good People Guarantee. If you aren’t pleased with a new hire within the first few months, our guarantee takes effect. We will replace the person with another candidate at no cost or provide an agreed-upon, prorated refund. But our clients rarely request that, because we find candidates who are a great fit nearly every time.

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