Answering your questions - Interview Techniques Webinar

ManagementJuly 15, 2020 12:36

Written by Max Loong, Senior Career Advisor 

We held our very first English Webinar last Thursday, 9 July 2020 on the topic on Interview Techniques: Best practices for selecting the right candidates for your company.

Thanks to all the attendees who participated in the session, we hope that you have enjoyed the webinar as much as we enjoyed preparing it.

Key points discussed in the webinar

  • A job interview is a two-way communication

One of the main misconceptions about interviews is that it is a one-way communication; where the interviewer asks, the interviewee respond. As much as interviews are for the company to assess the right candidate for the role, conversely it is also for candidates to assess whether if the company/role is the right place for his/her career. Take steps to give candidates space to ask questions, and make them feel welcome during interviews.

  • Understanding the position you are interviewing for

Before the start of every interview phase of a new hire, hiring managers must have clarity of who they are looking for. It should cover beyond technical knowledge and capabilities, but also the personal traits needed to succeed in the role. Must he/she be analytical or result-driven? Does he need to work well with people to be good at his job? We shared about using KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes) to identify the competencies and traits required for any designated role.

  • Asking the right questions using the STAR method

Finding out about technical capabilities is not difficult for hiring managers, in addition to assessments and tests to gauge their capabilities. Getting genuine answers from candidates can be easy when you ask questions customised to the role. The best way to get these answers is to ask situational and behavioural questions. Find ways to let them share how they react to certain scenarios, their thinking process based on previous experience. For that we would recommend to use the STAR method of questioning:

Situation: What happened?

Task: What was the task/job assigned to you?

Action: What action did you take?

Results: What was the outcome?

A good example of this question can be: “Tell me about a time when you have failed to meet your deadline for a project.”

These questions can be used to assess all Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of candidates.

  • Be sensitive to candidates when asking questions

Other than asking the right questions, it is also crucial to avoid asking wrong questions. In essence, think about the candidate before you ask a question – how does it relate to the role, does it intrude their privacy, is it offensive?

Be objective about the questions you ask. If you really have to ask, provide a reasoning behind why you need to ask the question. For example if this position requires the person to travel for work, instead of check on marriage on family status you an ask: “This role requires you to travel abroad to Japan and India for business meetings frequently, will this working arrangement change your interest for the role?”

Answering other burning questions

There were also a few questions raised that we did not have the time to answer, hence  here are our answers to other burning questions.

  • "During the interview, you know that the candidate is not suitable for the position, how do we put it out politely to reject the candidate on the spot?"

It is always ideal to create a positive candidate experience in hiring process. While it can be uncomfortable to be direct, most people appreciate honesty and are receptive to feedback.

In this case where you already find the candidate not suitable for the role early in the interview, do not be afraid to inform the candidate of your decision at that point. Informing the candidate till the end, or only when you made the hire is disrespectful not only to your candidate’s time, but also to yours as well. Politely rejecting a candidate requires tact and some sensitivity. Personalise your feedback to let the candidate know why he/she as not suitable for the role. It is good to include positive points from your experience from him/her. Stick to job-related criteria when you are providing your feedback. If applicable, recommend skills they could develop to become more competitive candidates or ways to improve their job search.

When done right, this will help to build healthy talent pipeline and your employer brand.

  • "How do I find out if a candidate is withholding information (e.g. medical status, criminal records during an interview? Will asking about this information be discriminatory?"

To avoid being labelled as discriminatory, it is beneficial to be objective in the entire recruitment process. Does being in a circumstance affect the ability to perform the job well? If it does, communicate with the reason with job-related justification. For instance, some positions in the Finance industry requires a person to not have any criminal record. This is a valid justification.

With fear of being stigmatised, it is common for candidates to withhold certain information. Be upfront to candidates, let them know that you will take steps to find out information about them sooner or later. As a safety measure, interviewers can try asking this question at the end of every interview:

“Before we conduct any background checks, is there any information about you that you would like us to know?”

Another alternative is to include a declaration from candidates in the employment application form. This can also save the trouble to find out this information before inviting a candidate for an interview.

  • "How can we tell if a candidate is not being truthful in his/her statements? What should we do if know they are not being truthful?"

Body language. Usually verbal and non-verbal signs are obvious to tell if a person is lying (e.g. Sudden pauses, avoiding eye contact, being oddly specific, generalising, etc.). Mentioned by one of the attendees in our webinar, it takes practice to know how to identify when a person is not being truthful. A method interviewers use to verify claims is to probe deeper in to the claim, and then remain silent. If a candidate is unable or takes a considerable amount of time to answer, it is most likely that he/she is not being truthful.

Even if you are positive that the candidate is being untruthful, it is unwise to directly confront the candidate during the interview session. Do background checks to confirm if your suspicions are valid and obtain evidence before making the conclusion.


We hope that these answers will guide you better into conducting effective interviews. Do stay tuned on our social media channels for more recruitment related contents, and further updates on new information!

Contact usup-arrow
Feel free to contact our career advisor.