Interviewing someone you know, or someone you’ve had a previous working relationship with, can be problematic – for them and you. If you’re too familiar – or not familiar enough – you can end up throwing the interview process off or providing an unfair advantage.

But put your mind at ease: here are McLaren’s “top tips” to ensure the interview is fair and balanced, and goes smoothly.

1. Make sure there are independent members on the interview panel

An obvious one, but important. Independent views help to remove any perceived bias. An advisory board member, business partner, or trusted supplier (like your friendly neighborhood recruitment consultant) can make for an excellent panelist, if you’re unable to find enough independent people in-house.

2. Let the other members of the panel know

Inform the rest of panel of the relationship and assure them that the interview will be conducted in the same manner as the others. Then practice your poker face!

And if you like, inform the interviewee about your presence and explain the importance of keeping the interview processes consistent – we’re sure they’ll completely understand.

3. Don’t excuse yourself

Your opinion is still valid and consistency is the key to a fair interview process. If you’re not at one of the interviews, you bias the rest.

4. Let the other panelists discuss their thoughts first

If you’re still worried about creating a bias when debriefing following the interview, let other panelist have their say first. Their opinions can provide clarity and help keep the conversation on track.

Conducting interviews and preparing panels is something we do every day, so please ask us if you need more advice. We’re also available to be an independent panelist too.

Wishing you every success.
Kirsty and Nikki

Get the right person for your not-for-profit role
Why you shouldn’t wait till it’s too late!