Press & Media

Interview Agenda: Deep Insight of Why and How You Should Use It


When you watch a debate on TV, you will likely hear a discussion between a host and contestants. When you read an interview article, you will see arranged questions and corresponding answers. And when you conduct a job interview, you will throw several questions to dig further information about potential candidates.

All of the above scenarios suggest similar sequences. Yes, the similarity lies on their structured agenda. In the show, for example, while there are chances that the show runs spontaneously and that the presenter does an impromptu show, in order to ask good questions, the presenter should be prepared for it. Thorough preparation should be made because an impromptu show could be tough as you might lose control of what you want to ask or have no question and the conversation becomes awkward. 

See also: Advice on Promoting Remote Employees – Conversation with David Grainger

The scenario preparation goes the same to any other kinds of interviews, including a job interview. Recruiters usually need to prepare an interview agenda before calling a candidate for an interview session. This preparation aims to help recruiters conduct the session better and look professional in front of prospective talents.

Interview agenda and why it is important

Referring to the Cambridge dictionary, the general term of interview refers to a meeting between two or more people in order to fill certain purpose or tasks. Meanwhile, an interview agenda is described as a written document or form that outlines the necessary topics and steps to be used in an interview. Interview agenda is needed to guide the interviewer or presenter so they can have an open-ended question during the show or interview session. Interview agenda is also created to help you arrange better questions. 

For recruiters, an interview agenda will be helpful in facilitating a smooth recruitment process and make sure that the questions asked are aligned with the company’s preferences and standards. Besides, an interview agenda is like self-reporting technique – it provides considerable flexibility to the interviewer. It can also be a potential and indispensable tool for obtaining data that no other technique can do. For example, you will be more prepared and able to ask an open-ended yet flexible question to candidates. In addition, an interview agenda can be very adaptable and capable of being used with all types of candidates.

Tips for recruiters in creating interview schedule:

1.  Understand the position offered and analyse what is needed, the weaknesses, and the benefits of the position to help you arrange better questions.

2.  Research candidate you want to interview to help you create a question that resonates with them.

3.  Create a clear wording of your questions.

4.  Be respectful and don’t create bias questions.

5.  Create both open-ended and closed questions.

6.  Lastly, familiarise yourself with the interview schedule to help the interview session flow naturally.

The downsides of an interview agenda

Having an interview agenda will benefit a lot for a recruiter. It can help you become a professional recruiter you aspire to be. However, do you know that an interview agenda also has downsides that might affect the job? Here are some limitations of the interview agenda. 

First, the interview agenda will take some time to create as you need to do thorough research of both candidate and job position to create better questions. If you do not spend time to research, the agenda will likely suffer from interviewer bias.

Second, there is a possibility of a rigid judgment from the recruiter. The research recruiter conduct to create interview agenda might create judgement to candidates before the interview happens. In this regard, a recruiter must be careful and do not conclude everything so easily.

Third, there is a possibility of unreliable information if your interview schedule is used by multiple interviewers.

Lastly, in order to minimise the downsides of interview agenda, you can do the following tips which are adapted from Involved Solutions.

- Do start your interview with lighter questions to warm up the session.

- Then, ask general questions such as his past experience, expertise, skills, or qualifications.

- If you create both open-ended and closed questions, it is better to mix both.

- Be flexible with the question. You can generate new ones after getting the candidate’s answer as long as the topic matches with the interview.

- Provide adequate space for you to record and write answers or responses to each question.

- Lastly, keep all the communication open, honest, as well as relaxed.

Next read: Why Recruiters Need Personal Brand?

Next read: Inboarding vs. Onboarding: A Guide for Employers