How to Interview People and Still Be Human

Hi Ronnie Ann!!!

I’m back!!! My new job is going GREAT!!! I actually got a higher management position than I realized!!! I’m actually the department head and have supervisors under me!! WOO HOO!!! That was a HUGE jump up for me, I got very lucky!!

However, my question is this…I’ve been to many interviews, but I’ve never done any. I have my first interview set up for an RN position in our department. Do you have any articles about what to look for when interviewing someone?

I’ve looked online for some questions to ask, but I didn’t know if you had any other advice on how TO interview people…cause now I’m on the other side and I want to make the job interview a good experience for the people I’m interviewing!!

Thanks so much!!



Hi Lisa!

Great to hear from you. Glad the new job is going SOOO well!

This is my first post on how to interview people, so I’ll give it my best shot. I REALLY  like that you want to make it a good experience for the interviewees, having so recently gone through a grueling process yourself. 🙂

My best advice is to find a way to put them at ease from the beginning. If they seem stiff in their answers, smile and say something that shows you understand interviews can be a bit nerve-wracking.

Mostly, you want to get to know the person, so it’s fine to use the old annoying questions like where do you see yourself in five years and what are your greatest strengths or weaknesses. Let them know you know these are well-worn, but you’re still curious how they respond. (Coming up with your own take on these might help.)

As a general format, you might try asking them to tell you a little about themselves at the beginning and then close asking if they have any questions for you. All the rest comes in-between. ;-)

Your style can help put them at ease, so be warm and real. And if they give short answers, draw them out. Ask them to tell you more. You want to hear them talk and see how they think and basically get a feel for what they’d be like to work with on a daily basis.

Ask why they want to work at this particular place. Ask what an ideal work environment and/or work day would be for them.

Ask questions that help you see how they react in an emergency or how they’ve added to a work environment by improving things or by helping to solve problems. Pump for specific examples if they don’t offer them. Ask about how their co-workers and/or boss would describe them.

I think you get the idea. Main thing is to get them talking. And if they don’t make eye-contact, try to get them to do that. It’s sometimes hard for people especially when thy are nervous, but it’s important for you to get a feel for the person.

And of course, you want to ask about their skills and knowledge of the things you need them to know and be able to handle.

Usually I prepare a list ahead of time. While I don’t follow it exactly after all these years, it’s good to have in front of me in case I’m at a loss for the next question.

In the end, your gut will tell you if someone feels right for the job. If their answers sound right but some internal signal goes off, ask more questions and be sure to do extensive reference checking if the time comes. Trust yourself to know who has the right stuff and whom you really want to work with.

Good luck finding the right person, Lisa! They’re lucky to have someone who remembers all too well having walked in their shoes.

Ronnie Ann


If you’re curious, this post came from 9/10/08 comment on:

How to Tell If a Job Interview Went Well


About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

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