Interview Guide For Hiring Managers – Part 1
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Posted on 17 August 2023

​The following is taken from our Interview Guide, which forms part of our Recruitment Toolkit for Clients

Why do we interview?

The purpose of the interview is to gain evidence as to the candidate’s ability to carry out the role, their attitudes, behaviours and capabilities. We will always recommend a structured interview over the alternative ‘quick chat and a cuppa’ and here’s why…

What does a structured interview look like?

Questions are carefully planned before the interview

All candidates applying for the same role are asked the same questions

Answers are all scored using a rating system and evaluated against benchmarks of positive and negative evidence for the target skill/value

What are the benefits?

This type of interview is better perceived by candidates when compared to an informal ‘chat’.

It can be helpful when there are more than one candidate to consider

It reduces the need for a good memory.

A widely-used format in structured interviews is the  STAR method.


S: Establish the Situation or

T: Task the candidate was involved in

A: Identify the Action they took

R: Find out what the Result was

Remember, the interview is a two-way process. You want the candidate to select YOUR practice and YOUR role. Even if a candidate is unsuccessful on this occasion, the quality of their experience will not only determine whether they reapply in future, but also what they tell their friends and colleagues about the practice.

Giving prospective employees a realistic job preview at the recruitment stage ensures expectations are not raised, only to be dashed later.

Word of mouth is still the greatest source of applications, so bad reviews will hurt business.

The experience of candidates, both successful and unsuccessful, at each stage of the process will impact on their view of your practice. Remember they are sometimes not just a potential employee, but a potential customer too.

There is every advantage to be gained by having the candidate walk away at the end of the interview, confident that they would accept it, if offered.

Now is the time to negotiate start dates, relocation, allowances, training, salary expectations etc. It is better to have these discussions face to face  to reduce misunderstandings and gauge interest.

THE LEGAL BIT – Unfair Discrimination (Equality Act 2010)

Protected characteristics are:

Race/Gender/Sexual orientation/Gender reassignment/Marital Status/Disability/Age/Pregnancy & Maternity/Religion of beliefs.

Some questions you may want to ask in interview, but you shouldn’t:

–              marital status or marriage plans

–              ages of children or childcare arrangements

–              general family commitments or family arrangements

–              partner’s occupation or mobility

–              actual or potential absences from work for family reason

Points to Note – EA 2010

It is unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly on grounds of colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin

It is unlawful to discriminate on grounds of gender, or marital status. You must be careful not to treat either sex less favourably, or married and unmarried people unequally – the same standards and job related criteria should apply.

A disability can include: Physical disability such as cerebral palsy, learning disability, total or partial deafness, chronic pain, temporary or permanent conditions such as diabetes or cardiac problems, mental health problems such as anxiety and depression


Genuine Occupational Requirement (GOR) – Under 18’s

If we do not advertise a requirement (such as distance from practice for on call), we cannot use this as a criteria on which to decline an interview so ensure all such deal-breakers are advertised

Candidates must be assessed on the basis of knowledge, qualifications, skills and experience. If questioning does not relate to these, stay clear.

As an employer you will be liable in law for any claims of discrimination brought to an employment tribunal following a discriminatory interview irrespective of whether there was any intent on the part of the employer to discriminate.

Discrimination by association: it is likely to be unlawful to refuse to recruit an otherwise unsuitable candidate because he/she has disclosed that they have responsibility for caring for a

disabled child, partner or parent.

We’re all guilty of prejudice! 

RECAP: a structured interview will decrease subjectivity, keep us within the law and ultimately, make your job easier!

Managers involved in recruitment have a duty to conduct selection interviews fairly and without bias for or against any particular candidate. Interviewers should strive to recognise their own personal attitudes, views and opinions about people and put these to one side during selection interviewing. Instead of forming personal opinions and impressions about a job applicant, an interviewer should focus on the requirement of the job and the extent to which the applicants background matches these.

It’s a well-known fact that the veterinary industry is a small one and it is very likely that you will have come across a candidate in some form or another in the past (either directly or indirectly). You cannot however, allow this to cloud your judgement during the recruitment process. You will probably recognise some or all of these…

EXPECTANCY EFFECT – undue influence being given to positive or negative expectations (formed from CV or prior encounters)

SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY- interviewers asking questions designed to confirm initial impressions of candidate STEREOTYPING EFFECT – interviewers assuming that particular characteristics are typical of members of a particular group

HALO/HORNS EFFECT – where something about a job applicant creates a favourable impression on the interviewer. Where this occurs, the interviewer may not be able to view the candidate’s suitability for the job objectively , unless they recognise what this effect is. You should also guard against allowing a negative impression to cloud or distort positive elements

SIMILAR TO ME – giving preference to candidates they perceive as having a similar background, career history, personality or attitude to themselves.

In part 2 we cover the interview itself, making offers and conducting inductions…

A copy of the guide is available in presentation form. Please get in touch at

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