Mastering the interview – 5 key principles of effective interviewing

By Claire Angus, Cambridge Network


Whether you're a seasoned professional or new to the hiring process, understanding and embracing the principles of effective interviewing can significantly impact the outcome of your recruitment efforts.

Here are five principles designed to help you master the art of effective interviewing and enable to you identify the best possible candidate for your organisation.

Preparation for interview success

To set the stage for a successful interview, meticulous preparation is key. Whether face-to-face or online, create an environment that fosters ease and openness. Delve into the candidate's CV and application, shaping questions that unveil their true potential. A comprehensive understanding of the job specifications is essential, ensuring a seamless alignment between the candidate's skills and your organization's needs.

Make it a conversation, not an interrogation 

Establish rapport and elevate the interview from an interrogation to a meaningful conversation. Establishing rapport is not just a nicety; it's a necessity. Actively listening and inviting questions transforms the interaction into a two-way street, where both parties gain insights. Maintaining control over the interview time is crucial, ensuring a balance between depth and efficiency.

Expansive communication

Communication is the cornerstone of a successful interview process. Clearly articulate the steps and timelines of the recruitment process, setting expectations from the outset. Expand on the intricacies of the job, responsibilities and tasks. Embrace transparency by offering post-interview follow-ups or constructive email feedback, fostering a collaborative atmosphere.


While first impressions and body language provide valuable insights, objectivity is the linchpin of a robust interview process. Employ a systematic scoring system to assess the candidate's competencies against the job criteria. Balancing intuition with a structured evaluation ensures a fair and thorough analysis, steering clear of biases.

Long-term potential

Beyond immediate qualifications, a forward-thinking approach is imperative. Identifying candidates with the potential to evolve and take on complex responsibilities shapes a resilient workforce. Research underscores five critical traits of high-potential candidates - curiosity, determination, engagement, insight, and motivation. During interviews, spotlighting motivation becomes paramount, aligning prospective hires with the organisation's long-term vision.

Want to brush up on your interview skills? Join our next Interviewing Skills course on 25th April 2024:

Image: Radachynskyi, Getty Images via Canva