Talent Acquisition

11 Interview Tips for First-Time Hiring Managers

By Clayton Spangle

Last updated: Mar 9, 2023

    Table of contents

Gearing up for your first interview as a hiring manager? Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

Everyone knows that job interviews are a stressful ordeal for job hunters. What most people don’t realize is that it can be just as stressful for the interviewer—especially if it’s your first time.

If you’re gearing up to conduct your first interview, don’t panic. We’ve got you covered. Here are eleven interview tips for first-time hiring managers.

1. Find the Right Candidates

The first step to a successful job interview is finding the right candidate. Fortunately, there are plenty of job posting sites that can help with your search, such as:

You can even post your job opening right here on The Org. Thousands of job seekers visit The Org every day, and there’s bound to be at least a few who are interested in working with you.

Best of all, while most online job boards require an investment, The Org is completely free. You can reach out to your ideal job candidate without ever spending a cent.

2. Write a Clear Job Description

Drafting a clear, thorough job description will help weed out job seekers who aren’t suited to the role. This makes it easier to avoid wasting time interviewing poor candidates.

A good job description should include an accurate overview of the role in question, including any:

  • Responsibilities involved
  • Essential skills
  • Preferred skills
  • Education and experience requirements
  • Salary range

Not only will this help you connect with the right candidates, but it will also give them a better idea of what details to include in their application.

3. Ask for Help

You don’t have to handle the hiring process on your own. In fact, you shouldn’t. If possible, ask for insights from:

Other hiring managers Managers and directors of the department the employee will be placed in Employees who will be working closely with the new hire

Each group will be able to offer their own perspective on what qualities you should look for in a candidate. This can help you optimize your job description for the ideal job seeker.

4. Prepare

You never want to go into an interview without preparing ahead of time. Winging it is always a bad idea—especially for your first time.

Review the candidate’s application carefully and make a list of any questions to ask or points to discuss. Then, organize your list into a game plan for how the interview should go. What will your first question be? What note will you close on?

Be prepared to answer any questions the candidate may have, as well.

5. Ask the Right Questions

The primary purpose of a job interview is to learn enough about the candidate to make an informed hiring decision. You do that by asking the right questions. Common interview questions include:

  • “What do you know about this company?”
  • “Why did you apply for this position?”
  • “Why are you the right person for this job?”
  • “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”

You may also want to ask questions that aren’t obviously related to the job, such as:

  • “What’s your main hobby?”
  • “Who is the smartest person you know and why?”
  • “Can you explain how to do something complicated in simple terms?”

These will help you understand who the candidate is, how they think, and how strong their communication skills are.

6. Don’t Rush the Interview

It’s easy to rush through an interview, especially if you’re nervous. This won’t help anyone—least of all you.

Start slow with some small talk. Do your best to make yourself and the candidate feel comfortable before you dive into any serious questions. Once you are ready to start the interview in earnest, take your time, and don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions.

(Just make sure to stay on track. It’s easy to end up chasing irrelevant rabbit trails.)

7. Listen and Engage

Don’t get so caught up in your questions that you forget to listen to the answers. Pay attention to what the candidate says and how they say it. Nonverbal cues are a major aspect of communication skills, so watch their body language.

Prioritize your own body language, as well. Can the candidate tell that you’re attentive and engaged? Face them, make appropriate eye contact, and nod occasionally. If you have any comments to add to what they’re saying, feel free to do so (as long as you aren’t interrupting them or being rude).

This will put the candidate at ease and help them speak more freely and honestly.

8. Take Notes

You’d be surprised how many hiring managers neglect this point. Taking notes during the interview is critical. Then, once the candidate leaves, jot down your overall impression of them while the interview is still fresh in your mind. This will come in handy for the overall candidate experience whether it results in a job offer letter or a rejection letter.

It’s easy to let details slip your mind or mix up interviews when reviewing multiple candidates. Having a record of each conversation will help keep those mistakes at bay.

If taking notes with pen and paper isn’t your style, consider recording the interview so you can listen to it later. (However, you will need to ask for the candidate’s consent first.)

9. Ask for Work Samples or a Test Project

One of the best ways to gauge a candidate’s aptitude is to see what they can do. If possible, ask the applicant to provide a sample of their past work, or give them a test project they can complete.

For example, if you’re hiring a software engineer, you could have them perform a coding challenge.

If this isn’t an option, references from previous employers can serve a similar purpose.

10. Act Fast

You shouldn’t rush your first interview, but we don’t recommend dragging out the hiring process, either. The current demand for skilled employees means that top talent will probably have quite a few options—and possibly several job offers already. If you spend too long making your decision, another employer may snatch them up.

Once you’re feeling confident about a certain candidate, don’t hesitate. Extend an offer right away.

11. Plan to Negotiate

These days, salary negotiations are a standard part of the hiring process. This is particularly true for in-demand talent. That means you should plan to negotiate and know what your options are. What is the hard upper limit for a starting salary? How soon might you be able to promise them a raise?

If you don’t feel ready to raise the salary as high as a candidate expects, you may have to sweeten the deal some other way. Consider using benefits and perks to appeal to the candidate instead of a higher salary amount. For example, you could offer them more paid vacation time or remote work options.

Determine your strategy ahead of time so that once negotiations begin, you’ll already be prepared.

Create a beautiful org chart in under 10 minutes

Connect Slack or your HRIS system to get started

  • Get a free, dynamic org chart using existing tools like Slack or your HRIS
  • Integrate your ATS and place your open jobs in your org chart
  • Show off your team and boost your employer brand

Sign up - it's free!

The ORG helps
you hire great

Free to use – try today