December 1, 2020 | Internal

Initial Interview Advice for the employer

The initial interview

The interview is the most tried and tested method in the recruitment process – but the results can vary greatly. We’d like to share with you our years of experience in recruiting for different positions across primary care, to offer some first interview advice on how to achieve an outcome that’s great for your practice.

Before you begin, it is crucial to recognise the difference between applicants and passive candidates. Applicants respond to adverts or contact recruitment agencies directly; they’re generally unhappy in their current role and want to be selected for the vacancy. It is therefore an applicant’s responsibility to sell their skills to the hiring managers.

On the other hand, passive candidates are usually settled in their current position and are rarely actively seeking to change this, though they are open to a new opportunity if presented to them in the right way. There’s a good chance the person you’re meeting is a passive candidate, so it is down to you to sell your vacancy to them in the first instance. With this in mind, we recommend a two-stage approach to interviews, beginning with an initial, or informal, meeting, so that your candidates can see your workplace and explore the opportunity the job presents.

Hints & Tips:

  1. Make sure the meeting is at the workplace. It’s important that the candidate can see where they would be working, so they can ask any questions this might bring up, and make an informed decision.
  2. Prepare for their arrival. If you won’t be there to greet the candidate personally, then make sure reception know they are coming.
  3. Guide the candidate around the building. Talk about its history and refer to any awards if applicable, so they can gain a full appreciation for your practice.
  4. Be prepared to sell your opportunity. Your preferred candidate may take some persuading, so be sure to take every opportunity to sell yourself as an employer. Read through the candidate’s CV and speak to us to glean what will appeal to and motivate them most, so you can make sure you cover these points.
  5. Keep it informal. This initial meeting is designed to let both parties see if they think they could work together. Of course it’s worth asking some questions if you think they’re relevant, but don’t try and make this a full-on interview. If you and the candidate are interested we will organise another meeting, in which you can ask as many questions as you choose.
  6. With this in mind, you shouldn’t mention salary at this stage – and you certainly should not make a job offer, even if you’re convinced you have your perfect candidate. If the recruitment process appears too “easy” the candidate is unlikely to accept as it may seem that you’d have offered the job to almost anyone.


Advice on closing the first interview

  1. Ask the candidate if there’s anything else they need to know. If there isn’t, close the meeting by asking them to get in touch with us as soon as possible to let us know their thoughts and say you’ll do the same.
  2. If you’re interested in the candidate and you think they are interested in the role, you may like to tell them that you’ll be inviting them back for a second meeting. Please ask them to liaise with us concerning the arrangements for this. By the same token, if you’re certain after this initial meeting that they are definitely not suitable, you may like to tell them so (be prepared to say why). If you’re not comfortable with this, simply thank them for coming and tell them you’ll be in touch within 48 hours. We will then deal with any rejections on your behalf.
  3. Finally, if you have only one candidate in the process, it’s important that you don’t mention it, as when it comes to offer stage it will significantly strengthen your negotiating position if the candidate you’re offering the role to thinks there’s a good second choice candidate in the mix (even if there isn’t).


If you would like any further information about hiring a medical professional please call our team on 01423 813450 or email us at

Alternatively look at our recruiting pages to get more information about the service we can offer you.

December 1, 2020 | Internal