6 Tips for interviewing success for scale-ups


We know just how hectic the workday can get, especially in the throws of making new important hires. It’s easy to only think about the interview 5-10 minutes beforehand but be sure to come prepared; ‘winging it’ won’t get you very far. 

It’s important to have a clear framework for your questions, as a clear structure and process ensures consistency and clarity during the interview process, saving you time in the long run. We suggest 5-7 competency* based questions as the maximum you’ll want to cover during a 1-hour interview.

*competency – Competence is the set of demonstrable characteristics and skills that enable and improve the efficiency or performance of a job. 

Manage your time 

While business is likely to be as frantic as always, it’s important not to cover too much in a single interview. Within your structure, try to think about not only the questions, but the time it takes to reflect and provide a ‘good’ answer from the right candidate. 

We know it’s tempting, but squeezing in that meeting or discussion 5 minutes before the interview only works to set you back, not lighten the load. Commit to the interview and its importance; it’s more valuable than you think.

This is something that is often unconscious and happens to the best of us; it’s easy to like people who are like us, it’s in our nature. They might like the same sports, like the same clothes, come from the same place as you, go on holiday to the same places… and suddenly the casual conversation is dominating the interview and you’ve been driven entirely off-piste. 

Avoid bias

Some small talk is fine, but you’re here with a purpose, so make the time count. Stick to your structure and do your best to remain focused and unbiased.

Keep notes

We know this might sound stuffy and a bit like overkill, but it will show that you are engaged in the interview; that you are interested and listening. Not only that, jotting down notes of your observations throughout the interview will help you remember important aspects. 

It’s all too easy to forget things even directly after the interview when you jump on to addressing something else that needs your attention. Additionally, it might be useful to attach a short time window after each interview to capture any additional observations or points of note.

Be consistent

In the interview process, consistency is king. Know what you’re looking for before the interview has started. Talk to your colleagues/teammates beforehand to establish ‘what good looks like’ in your company/team. Ensure you follow the same framework for each interview, and ask the same questions. 

Most importantly, rate each candidate against each of your criteria consistently. It’s no good looking for different things in a candidate that is at odds with each other. Trust the process, and your consistency will reward you with the best possible candidate for the role.

Be careful

This comes back to unconscious bias; jumping to conclusions and making judgements too quickly only works against your otherwise hard work and preparation. Keep a level head, and have probing questions to follow up on initial responses, as this helps develop a deeper insight into each candidate.

It’s all in the preparation – Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.  Give this part of your talent acquisition process the time it needs to deliver great results.