Interviews can take a lot of time and people resources for an SME, so Hireserve have put together four top tips for you to improve your interview technique.

interviewsHere are our tips on how to improve your interviewing process, ensuring that you secure the best possible hires and deliver a great candidate experience in your interviews.

  1. Ensure fairness and consistency

Unconscious bias is in the spotlight at the moment, and is something many recruitment teams are trying to crack.

This can be difficult, as many people don’t realise they’re affected by it. One thing you could try is name- or university-blind CVs. This may help to increase diversity in the shortlisted candidates, as it removes potential bias against a name or place of education.

Creating an interview framework and feedback templates also help to produce a fairer, more consistent interview process. A framework that all interviewers adhere to makes for more structured interviews, and ensures you ask questions that cover the same key points for each candidate.

A feedback template will ensure that you’re giving the same amount of time and consideration to each candidate after the interview. Presenting feedback in the same format will also make it easier to compare notes with colleagues – helping to reduce decision-making time.

  1. Prepare effectively for interviews

In an SME, busy hiring managers may find setting aside the time to screen applicants difficult. This role may then fall to HR, leaving a hiring manager relatively unfamiliar with candidates by the time it comes to interviewing.

If you’re not part of the screening process, make sure that you familiarise yourself with the interviewee’s CV before meeting with them. This means you can tailor your interview better to their experience. It also demonstrates you’ve taken the time to prepare, which will make a positive impression on your candidate.

Re-familiarise yourself with the job description before interviews, to so you’re equally prepared for any questions the candidate may have for you.

  1. Provide a better experience for candidates

Delivering a great candidate experience is vital. A brilliant candidate could be interviewing for multiple jobs, but is likely to choose the organisation they consider to be the best cultural fit for them, and where they’ve had a more positive applicant experience.

Before interviews, make sure candidates are fully prepared by sending directions and information. These small touches will show your candidates how much you value them.

On the day of the interview, introduce candidates to your team. Meeting those they could be working with day-to-day provides a great insight into the role and environment, and will also help candidates feel more settled in.

It’s also vital to manage candidates’ expectations after the interview. Knowing when they can expect to hear from you may prevent a candidate from presuming they’ve been rejected, and going elsewhere – to a competitor for example.

Even unsuccessful candidates should come away with a positive perception of your brand. After all, a happy candidate may choose to reapply for a more appropriate role, and become a star employee. One way to deliver a great experience is to provide interview feedback to unsuccessful candidates via email. This shows your organisation is one that deeply cares for its applicants, even those who don’t progress to the next stage.

  1. Collect and act on feedback

Asking applicants for feedback can provide you with detailed insights into the specific areas of your recruitment and interview process that may need tweaking. Sending satisfaction surveys to both candidates and managers after an interview will help you to spot trends and analyse patterns, giving you the ability to pinpoint problem areas.

You can then build a compelling plan of action for improvements, founded on solid evidence in the form of statistics and comments.

SMEs can find the interview process resource-draining and daunting. With these tips, there are ways to achieve fair and consistent practices, to prepare effectively, and ultimately to deliver a superb candidate experience.


Established in 1997, Hireserve creates leading recruitment software. Trusted by organisations across the world, including Reed, Arriva and Global Radio, Hireserve ATS is agile, intuitive and powerful.

To find out more, contact the Hireserve team on 01256 634 140 or drop us a note at info@hireserve.com.

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