Best practices for effective interviews

Interview strategy and structure is critical, it creates an efficient process that ensures your ability to make informed hiring decisions, shows your commitment to the candidate and allows you to attract and hire the best candidates for positions in your company.

Observe and enable the 70/30 rule.  The candidate talks 70%, you talk 30%

Since most interviews involve numerous interviewers talking to one candidate at the same time, often virtually, create an interview strategy where each interviewer has a different set of questions to avoid repetition.  

  • Interviewer A – the Hiring Manger:

At the beginning – Gives the overview, company culture, team description, why the position is open, why it is important, how does this position fit in the mid/ long-term success of the company.

At the end – Closes the interview and indicates timing and potential next steps.

  • Interviewer B – the SME:  

Asks the questions that determine Subject Matter or Technical expertise.

  • Interviewer C – A senior member of the team:  

Addresses any concerns the team has identified like job history/ tenure, leaving a competitor, ability to work in a large team, ability to transition to their new environment/ dynamic.   

Seeks to expose any “unspoken objections” the candidate may have like career path/ growth, concerns about moving from large company to a smaller one, moving from one sector to another (Commercial to Govcon), etc.


Prepare: Review the interviewee’s information, the job requirements for the position you’re interviewing for, and the questions you plan to ask.

State your name and title and how you fit on the team, but avoid giving a recital of your background and resume, a well prepared candidate will have done their research, besides this gives them the opportunity to ask.

Craft effective questions that focus on job-related characteristics.  Ask open ended questions to encourage dialogue.

Practice active listening (70/30 rule): This allows you to determine which candidates have the best experience and skills for the job.

Encourage the interviewee to ask questions (70/30 rule): This ensures that the best candidates are as interested in your organization as you are in their qualifications. 

Debrief with the team as soon as possible after the interview and implement a standard 1 -5 rating system to ensure a fair and effective evaluation of all candidates:

  • Meets the Technical/ Subject Matter requirements.
  • Answered the questions confidently, clearly and on-topic; used specifics; was thoughtful and deliberate.  
  • Resolved any concerns about job history and addressed any “un-spoken objections”.
  •  Asked good questions.
  • Would be a culture fit on the team, in the company.
  • Likely to accept the position if offered.