How to interview job applicants

One of the most difficult things for an employer is to interview for new employees and with many legal requirements there are a lot of things to remember not to do as well as trying to remember everything you have to do.

Many questions you will want to ask may be taboo when it comes to the Equality Act, keeping the questions focused on the requirements of the job will keep you safe from liability if the person does not get the job. See my separate article on the Equality Act and how it affects you and your pub.

Prior to interviewing for any position, devise a list of questions relating to the job duties (have a job description to hand which both you and the applicant can refer to) and the person’s experience and education that will help determine their suitability for the job.

Consistency in job interviews will not only keep you within the law, it will allow you to accurately compare candidates based on the same information. Use the same list of questions for all applicants and immediately after the interview write down their answers and keep them on file.

It may also be a good idea to make comments on your interview sheet about why the person may or may not be suitable for the position. If the applicant has provided a CV along with an application if there are any discrepancies that are explained during the interview, have the applicant make the necessary notations on the paperwork they provided.

You will expect the applicant to dress and act professionally during the interview and they should be afforded the same respect. Do not keep them waiting. If the interview is scheduled for 10, then be ready to meet with them at 10. Many suitable candidates can be lost by making them hang around for an hour or so before meeting the interviewer.

Top Tips for a successful job interview

  • Welcome the applicant warmly. The majority of candidates arriving for a job interview will be nervous, and so a friendly welcome will assist them in relaxing, which will prompt them to answer questions with increased honesty, giving the interviewer a greater insight into the candidate’s capabilities.
  • Explain the interview process. This will prepare the applicant for what to expect during the interview, and provide the opportunity for any initial questions.
  • Sell your pub to the applicant. A good applicant, with plenty of experience and many relevant qualifications will be in high demand within the industry. Therefore, the interview is as much about you selling yourself to the applicant as it is the applicant proving their suitability to your business.
  • Ask open ended questions. Questions that have a simple “yes” or “no” answer will reveal nothing to the interviewer about the applicant. Instead, the interviewer should ask questions that will prompt the candidate to give more detail and elaboration, providing the interviewer with valuable information (How, why, when, what would you do if questions will get the most revealing answers.)
  • Ask specific questions to establish credentials. The interviewer should attempt to reveal how the applicant would react in situations which may arise within the job role


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