Choosing who to interview

You’ve posted your job advert and, hopefully, received lots of applications. Now it’s time to decide who you want to interview.

Back to: Recruiting people

How the interview will work

It’s up to you how many people you invite, but three to four interviewees is a good starting point. Go through each application and start making your shortlist.

  • Compare the skills and experience each candidate has with the skills and experience required to complete the job successfully.
  • Compare what you want with what the applicant is looking for. For example, if you have an applicant who says they are interested in progressing in their career, consider potential progression opportunities within your business.
  • Note that attitude is critical. In some cases, where a person is new to the industry, or has shown rapid career progression, you might want to interview them even if they don’t have all the skills and experience you’ve listed.

Consider creating a template like the example below to record your applicants’ skills and experience. The ones with the most ticks are the ones to interview.


Applicant A 


Applicant B 


Applicant C 


Skills and experience 




Milk Production - Feeding 




Milk Production - Harvesting 




Milk Production - Quality 




Stock Sense – Animal Health 




Environmental Management 




Team Experience 




Health and Safety 








Does my job opportunity match their goals? 




Likelihood of career progression 








Initial character impression 




If you need more information, or can’t decide on a shortlist, contact the applicant/s directly for more detail or talk to their referees. Remember that under the Privacy Act you can only contact their nominated referees.

Contacting your chosen applicants

Contact the people you want to interview to check they are still interested in the job, then offer them a slot. If you do this by phone, follow up in writing to confirm the time, place, expected duration and activities that will be carried out during the interview.

Once you’ve made your shortlist, try to let the other applicants know they have not been selected for interview. 

What if there are no suitable applicants? 

You want to employ the right person for the job. If you have not found anyone suitable in the application process, review your job advert and description, and your advertising methods, make improvements and try again.

Download our invitation to interview template