How to Interview: Tips for Hiring Managers

March 24, 2022
Female black recruiter interviews black male job seeker

Make sure you’re prepared

As soon as you start searching for a new hire, you should create a well-defined skills rubric This is where you formalize a list of what you’re looking for including must-haves, nice to haves, must-not haves. This is the most critical step in inclusive hiring practices. This rubric is then shared with any others participating in the interview panel, and later becomes the guide for how conversations comparing candidates are framed.

(We’ll get more into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in later installments—including why it’s important and best practices.)

Do your homework

Review the candidate’s background ahead of the interview. Take a note ahead of time for specific questions about the candidate’s background that you’d like to address, for example: “I see that at Sample Company, you worked on the payments team. Were you responsible for any of the backend API integrations there?”

Create consistency

While interviewing multiple candidates, standardize the types of questions you ask, so you have a clearer picture of them. You want to see how each person problem solves in real time, how they communicate, etc. You do want the interview to be organic and conversational, not robotic. However, asking roughly the same questions of multiple people will show you a unique sense of different individuals.

Be on time, be engaged

When you’re interviewing someone, they have (hopefully) spent time reviewing your company, practicing their interview skills with their friends and family or a colleague, and probably also done research on you. Make sure to show respect for the time investment they’ve made by arriving promptly whether in person, on Zoom, or on a phone call and removing all distractions. Silence your phone, Slack notifications, and all the rest for the short duration of the interview.

Never ask questions looking for an answer!

Sounds absurd, right? What you should be looking for are this candidate’s insights, how do they solve problems rather than if they can get quickly to a correct answer. If they join your team, they’ll be faced with novel problems. You need to assess the steps they take to solve issues that arise in real time, as well as how they communicate that thought process.

Move the interview around

We mean this with all respect to the candidate, but the interview should be a little stressful. You want to see how this candidate will be in situations they can't predict. Move the questions around and don’t let them get too comfortable. For example, don’t spend your time going over each prior job listed on the resume. Ask specific questions you have about their prior experience but use the majority of the time evaluating this person’s fit to the skills matrix you’ve already defined.

Some things to look for

  • How do they frame problems and propose solutions?
  • Does this person equate difficulty with value? Are they able to understand how their value feeds into the greater ecosystem of the organization?
  • What are their motivations?


Following the interview, synthesize any notes you took about your conversation. Do this directly following the conversation, while it’s still fresh in your mind! Make sure you list the positives this person displayed for the role along with areas of concern you saw. When you interview multiple people in consideration for a single hire, this is a very useful tool to refer back to in conversations with the rest of the hiring team.

Tangerine Search is a San Francisco Bay Area based Recruiting Firm supporting clients across the United States and Canada. We offer white-glove services to our corporate clients, connecting them with top talent for technical and leadership roles.

Clients include cutting-edge startups that are revolutionizing future tech in AI, Machine Learning, and Self-Driving cars. We also support well established industry leaders in streaming media, banking, healthcare, software, gaming, and more.