By Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer at Employment Hero 

Thinking about a job interview may make you nervous and flustered at the thought. Sharing your skills, answering obscure questions and selling yourself can be nerve-wracking. As your career progresses and you begin to make the transition to a management position, you’re likely to find yourself on the other side of the interview. Here are the most important tips for first-time hiring managers from beginning to end.


1. Be prepared

If it’s your first time interviewing a candidate, ask your own manager to join in the process. It can be a great mentoring opportunity to have another senior leader join you for the first few interviews. With this method, it’s important you both talk about the interview process before and after, as well as discuss areas for improvement, ensuring that you use the feedback constructively for your next job interview.


2.  Clearly define the role you’re hiring for

Before you get started, you need to understand the role you’re recruiting for and what you expect of the successful candidate. You need to clearly define the requirements, as well as how you’d like to see the role progress over time (from six months to twelve and twenty-four months). It’s important to be transparent with the organisation and the candidate that the role might evolve and change over time depending on what’s required.


3. Craft a job description that will make you stand out from the crowd

Use a relevant job title – to nail your job title, you should state what the job is and mention the level and the type of role. 

Story time – You need to share your company’s story to encourage potential candidates to learn more. Highlight your achievements, your mission and core values. You could also include your culture and share some insights about your team.

Be specific with your job description -You need to communicate the role and job responsibilities of the successful applicant so the expectations are set. 

Champion your company’s benefits – Including your benefits and Employee Value Proposition (EVP) in your job ads can provide more insight into what it would be like working at your company. It should include what you’re doing as a business to attract and retain employees, and we all know how hugely beneficial for the success of a business.


4. Know what you’re looking for in a candidate

When it comes time to hire, you want to have a clearly defined list of skills and attributes you’re looking for. You want to hire people who are humble, hungry and smart – and have the skills and experience to back it up. Ask questions that relate to their past experience, as well as understand where their strengths and areas of improvement lie.


5. Determine the interview process

When designing a standout recruitment process, remember that it takes time, consideration and flexibility. You should also be aware that the interview process for a junior role is going to look very different to someone who’s interviewing for a senior leadership position:

  • Determine the number of interviews rounds (junior roles typically require less than more senior roles).
  • Clearly define who the candidates will be meeting within your business.
  • Determine whether a task will be required to be completed by candidates and what the task will be.


6. Block out time for interviews 

By setting aside 1 or 2 hours in your calendar for potential interviews, your HR team can give the candidates time slots when you’re available. This will ensure no meetings are double booked and you’re prepared if an interview were to pop up on the same day.


7. Use an applicant tracking system to streamline your recruitment process

An applicant tracking system is one of the most effective ways you can hire and manage candidates through the recruitment process. Information is coming from every direction, and this could feed back into the candidate’s experience. The last thing you want is to give off the impression that you’re a highly disorganised business, especially when the hunt to secure great talent is so hard right now.


8. Ask relevant questions when interviewing for the position

When it comes to hiring, it’s essential that you know what skills you’re looking for. Have an interview checklist prepared and tick off the must-have skills and qualifications, as well as the nice-to-haves. As a first-time hiring manager, being prepared with questions that can assess an applicant’s skills, personality and working style is an absolute must.


9. Partner with your HR team or an external recruiter

Sometimes, it might not be viable to do the hiring yourself. In this case, you’ll want to lean on your HR team or an external recruiter to help you find the right fit for your open role. You’ll want to brief the team you’ve engaged with to help and set the tone so you can all be as transparent as possible.


10. Follow up promptly with the outcome

When applying for jobs, hearing of the outcome can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if the candidate is really keen on securing the role. The best thing you can do as a first-time hiring manager is to get back to candidates promptly and let them know of the outcome – whether this is the next step or a final decision.


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