The Interview process - explained!

Navigating your way through a recruitment process can be challenging – arranging time off work to attend interviews and getting more creative with why you will be in late, can be stressful. Now if you aren’t nailing those interviews and progressing to the next stage it can become even more frustrating!

In today’s blog we are covering just how many interviews is the norm in a recruitment process and what are they all for?

There is a lot to be said for a recruitment process that moves with momentum, however I think sometimes companies misinterpret that to mean “short” so that they don’t lose good talent. What that means though is a process that has momentum means giving timely feedback to the candidate and booking the next stage as soon as both schedules allow for it.

Invariably when we are excited about a candidate, we can be less thorough at the interview stage. That is why a second and or third interview is essential. It allows for a different perspective, shows how that candidate blends with different personality types and allows the time to ask questions that you may not have thought of at the first interview.

I always advise companies to be clear about their recruitment process from the outset, how many stages there are and what is involved. It helps put a candidate at ease, they know what to expect and it allows them to factor the process into their own job search.

Let’s start with the basic pre-interview preparation:

  • It goes without saying you should do your web research prior to interview – there is LITERALLY no excuse for not doing this! Check out socials, google news, their website, LinkedIn – anything you can to glean insight into the company

  • Get into a store if they have one – this is invaluable and goes such a long way to impressing your interviewer

  • Read through your job description or the job ad

  • Know who you are meeting and where

  • Prep some questions prior that you can ask at interview stage


So, what is each interview for then?

The HR/Recruiter Interview:

Depending on a company’s recruitment policy this can be done in person or via phone screening.

If you are being phone screened or invited for interview – you can assume safely that you have something on paper that interests that Interviewer for the role. The purpose of this interview is a general check for your suitability to the role and company.

You can expect to field questions around your reasons for leaving previous roles, why you want to work for the business, what a Manager might say about you and some competency-based questions relating to how you handle challenging questions and conflict.

In these interviews the interviews is generally trying to ensure there are no obvious red flags in progressing with that candidate, and that you are a strong culture fit for the business. They are also assessing your level of emotional intelligence, so it’s less about what you say and how you say it. Do you have an awareness of your areas of development? Can you talk to a situation that didn’t go well? Your ability to relay a challenging situation constructively is so important and really gives an insight into how you might respond in future situations.

HR/Recruiters want to see that you can understand their business, their customers and their culture, that you align with their vision and that you are able to weather the challenging moments too.

The Direct Manager:

You can expect this interview to be more role specific, this is where competency-based questions really come into play. It can be an idea to ask the Recruiter/HR Manager for a Job description so that you can prepare examples of where you have handled situations from the accountabilities listed.

If software is crucial to your role – you can field some questions here around your capability with these.

The Direct Manager is also assessing how well you fit into their team, and if teamwork is a necessary component (which let’s be honest it nearly always will be!) they want to see how well you collaborate. This is the interview to really allow your personality to shine through – and ask plenty of constructive questions to demonstrate your interest in the role.


From SWOT analysis to design projects – these are increasingly being used to show your commercial aptitude and if in creative roles your design aesthetic. Projects shouldn’t be massive undertakings – and they should have some instructions with them from HR usually as to what they are wanting to see!

The Team:

Yep you got it, this one is purely about seeing how you are perceived by your peers. How well can you work in with them and be part of the team.

Whilst this might be more of an unusual approach – I am a big fan of this – remember interviews are a two-way street so it’s a great time for YOU to gauge if a company or team is right for YOU! Companies are increasingly protective of their culture these days which is a great thing.

Psychometric testing:

People are invariably a bit intimidated by the psychometric test – “just what does it reveal about me??” Quite simply an insight into you. An insight into how you might react in group situations, high pressure situations, and how someone might best manage you. Does it come back with a tick box of hire this person – yes or no? NO! Some companies have identified certain traits that work well for them – but I have rarely seen the test be used in isolation in regard to making a hiring decision.

The Executive:

If you are interviewing at a small or medium sized business or are interviewing for a senior level role, chances are you will meet a CEO or Owner along the way before you are offered a role.

This interview is really about the bigger picture – do you align with the company values, how can you add to the strategic vision, and getting the CEO’s tick of approval. Your research into the brand is going to set you apart here – as well as some questions around what are the first things you might do in your role if you were successful? CEO’s want to see innovative, big picture thinking and traits that they would like to see in a future leader in the business. Confidence is key in these meetings, as well as letting your natural personality shine through.

Know that EVERYONE feels stressed and unnatural in interviews – and nerves are good! Hopefully now you know how to prepare for your interview! Did you know The Talent Mill offers simulated interviews that help you identify areas you could improve? Don’t let confidence at interviews trip you up.

Contact us now for details on packages. Opening the door to your perfect career.