Recruiter's corner

How to conduct a recruitment interview?

After posting a job offer and selecting the best candidates for the position to be filled, it's time for the job interview. This is an important step in the recruitment process because it allows us to explore questions with the candidate, to understand the coherence between their application and their profile, their personality and their professional desires. Group, individual, video, face-to-face, in the office, in a café, in interview format, discussion, role-playing... How to prepare your future job interviews? How many selection interviews should you conduct? How to conduct them?

What is the purpose of the recruitment interview?

The interview is one of the hiring practices that allows you to get to know the candidates and perhaps your future collaborator. Meeting the candidate allows the recruiters to see if the person corresponds to the profile of the position in terms of proposed missions, hard and soft skills and values. On the candidate's side, it allows him/her to know if he/she has understood the missions of the job and if the conditions of the position suit him/her. Conducting several recruitment interviews, including a meeting with the team, also allows you to know if the feeling is right for a future collaboration.

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What are the steps to conduct an interview?


Preparing for the interview

Preparing for interviews is useful for both candidates and recruiters.

To ensure the interview :

  • Gathering useful information for candidates about the company, the position to be filled, the profile sought
  • Read the candidate's file: CV, cover letter, exchanges, notes from the first interviews, case studies...
  • Prepare your interview questions: What is the objective of the interview? What do you want to explore with the candidate to find out if his/her profile fits? 
  • Conduct a mock interview on your own or with colleagues if necessary

Choose the place

On your premises

The classic! An interview on your premises allows the candidate to project himself and to be immersed in his future work environment. You can take advantage of this opportunity to have them meet the team. 

From a distance 

For a first individual interview, do it by video or by phone, it is the opportunity to make sure that you and the candidate are well aligned with the missions of the position and its conditions. This way, you make a first selection to meet face-to-face with the profiles that are really interested in the position. And sometimes, you will not have the choice: if the candidate lives far from your organization or if you have a 100% telecommuting operation.

In a café 

"Yes, absolutely, you can interview off-site!"

Some recruiters do it, to get out of the box, to decompress candidates or relax them when they feel stressed.

Bringing documents with you 

During the interview, certain documents can be useful:

  • The CV annotated with points to be clarified for example
  • Documents to present to the candidates: related to the position or the company, such as a marketing brochure, a video...
  • A scorecard, or evaluation grid, your support before, during and after each interview!

👉 Here is an article to understand how to use the scorecard !

Welcoming the candidate

"The first impression is always the right one, especially when it is a bad one" said the writer Henri Jeanson. Present on both the recruiters' and candidates' sides, the famous first impression is not to be neglected. Here are a few suggestions for welcoming the candidate: 

  • Introduce yourself: say who you are, what you do in the company
  • Make them feel at ease: you walk past your colleagues, cross the premises, enter the room where you are conducting the interview? You can take advantage of this moment to break the ice by quickly presenting who does what, the organization of the office, by making sure that the candidate is comfortable, by offering him or her something to drink... Be yourself during the welcome :)
  • Provide some context: why is the candidate here? 
  • Explain the interview process: its duration, its stages


Depending on the type of interview conducted, the interview process must be adapted. To inspire you, here is how we conduct recruitment at makesense for 3 types of interviews: HR, business and culture fit!

The HR interview

To make an initial selection of candidates, the HR or discovery interview can be conducted remotely to offer a more in-depth interview to those REALLY motivated for the position and avoid wasting time with those who are not.

How long does it last? 30 minutes

Its objectives?

  • To validate the consistency of the application with the position
  • To check the availability of the candidate
  • To ensure that the candidate is motivated

How to prepare it?

Review the application file: CV, elements on motivations

Its course

1. A round of introductions to start the interview (5 minutes). Introduce yourself and ask them to describe their background, why they are here, what they like about the job.

2. Questions to: 

  • Check the consistency between the information in the CV and cover letter and the candidate's background. 
  • Understand how the candidate can succeed in this position. What are his or her strengths? 
  • Ensure that the challenges of the position have been understood.

3. Practical questions to be validated: 

  • When are you available?
  • Are you mobile (for a candidate who lives far from your organization)
  • Do you have other recruitment processes underway (so as not to let a candidate slip away just for the sake of a deadline)

The job interview 

The job interview is often the one that comes after the candidate's discovery/HR interview.

How long does it last? 1 hour

Its objectives?

  • To validate the candidate's professional skills
  • To validate the candidate's ability to work and work independently
  • To validate the candidate's interest in the proposed assignments

The participants? 

  • the candidate's future business referent
  • someone capable of challenging the business / organizational skills

How to prepare it ? read the file (CV, exchanges, notes of the first interviews, case study)

How it goes

A round table presentation 

Questions to : 

- test the person's understanding of the organization

- test the person's understanding of the position

- understand the person's expectations

If a practical case study has been carried out:

- What did the candidate think of it? 

- Debrief on your positive feedback and areas for improvement

Practical questions to validate: 

- Do you have other processes underway?

- What are your salary expectations? 

- When are you available? X months of notice?

The culture fit interview

This is used to test the fit of a candidate with your culture, your values and your team!

How long does it last? 1 hour

Its objectives?

  • To validate that the candidate will like working for you
  • Validate that you will enjoy working with this person
  • To arouse the candidate's interest in your organization and demonstrate your values

The participants? 

  • The future HR manager / or another member of the team
  • A member of another team

How to prepare it ? read the file (CV, exchanges, notes of the first interviews, case study)

Its progress

  • His/her understanding of the organization's model
  • His understanding of the organization's governance and values, and his alignment with them ;)
  • His projection into the future
  • Understand the way they operate
  • His/her appetite for your operating methods, or even his/her natural fit with them

🧐 Observe, listen

Without necessarily scrutinizing the candidate's every move, during interviews, pay attention to his or her non-verbal communication. Body language gives you additional information about a candidate. For example: if the person keeps playing with his bracelet, it could be that he is stressed. Posture and voice intonation can also give more information than the answer to the question itself.

⚠ Avoid embarrassing questions.

The Labor Code actually states that:

"Questions asked during an interview must be limited to those directly related to the job. The questions asked of the candidate must therefore be aimed solely at assessing his or her professional qualities and the suitability of his or her personality for the position offered."

What happens afterwards? What to do after an interview?

Depending on the size of your company, the type of position to be filled and its level of responsibility, you can plan between 2 and 4 interviews with candidates. Here are some post-interview recos.

Debriefing with the candidate

At the end of each interview and/or at the end of the recruitment process, you can ask the candidate how he/she felt. What did they think of the interview process? What did he/she think of the meetings with the different members of the team?

Taking stock

Once a candidate has been interviewed, taking stock of your notes and feelings will help you to remember certain elements of your meeting that may be important in the rest of the process and in making your final decision.

Keep your candidates informed

After each interview, always inform each candidate you meet about the continuation of the process or its closure if you do not wish to continue with the person. The ATS (applicant tracking system) is a very good HR tool for tracking applications! The ATS jobs_that_makesense allows you to : 

  • sort your applications
  • automate actions such as sending emails to respond to different candidates after an interview.
  • manage the follow-up of applications coming from your different recruitment channels, in one place. For example: if you have a PRO+ subscription to jobs and Welcome to the jungle, you can send all candidates coming from jobs_that_makesense to apply directly on your Welcome ATS, so you don't have to manage your applications on two different sites.

Are you interested in the ATS?

👉 When you create your recruiter space benefit from the ATS jobs_that_makesense and also :

  • access to the largest impact community to broadcast your offers
  • a database of committed resumes to target the best candidates!

For further

👉 10 tips for effective recruiting 

👉 How to make a difference with candidates? 

👉 How many job interviews to conduct?

To take action

👉 Create a recruiter space and post free ads on jobs_that_makesense

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