The recruitment cycle

Recruitment cycle: selecting

Go to tools

4. Interview

Often, people with lived experience of migration have been out of work for a long time. This can hinder their confidence and make them seem more nervous (compared to other applicants) during the interview process.

  • When inviting a candidate for an interview, giving them as much information as possible can help them feel at ease. Make sure they know:
    • The address (or the link for an online meeting) and time

    • Who will be interviewing them (names & job titles)

    • Where to report to & who to ask for on arrival

    • How long will the interview last for

  • Could you consider creating and sharing a glossary of company (or industry) specific acronyms and phrases? This could help candidates navigate during the interview.
  • Sharing the interview questions upfront is also considered a good practice. This way you can assess your candidate based on their knowledge and skills, rather than based on their ability to cope with stress
  • Using scenario-based questions will help you assess the candidate’s ability to perform necessary duties
  • It’s OK to be unsure how to pronounce someone’s name. When meeting a candidate, ask them to help you with the pronunciation.

Further reading on why sharing interview questions upfront is the best practice for your company is available in resources.

Levels of English

Sometimes, companies require a high level of English during the interview process, even though the role itself doesn’t. 

Once you have assessed what level of English is necessary for the job, try matching it with your interview process. For example, you can avoid idioms and phrases which would be less likely known to non-native candidates.

Example 1:

Instead of: Can you give me an example when you thought outside the box? 

Try: Can you give me an example of when you solved a problem creatively / came up with a creative solution to a problem.

Example 2

Instead of:  Do you consider yourself a team player?

Try: Do you like working with other people or do you prefer working on your own?
  • Technical terminology can differ around the world. Try to use simpler language to assess the candidate's knowledge. They can learn your company’s / industry’s jargon on the job
  • Check-in with your local refugee support organisations (including relevant teams within the local authority) as they might be able to provide a translator to attend the interview 
  • Try asking one question at a time
  • If the candidate’s level of English is low, try to speak more slowly rather than more loudly
  • Speaking English does not equal thinking in English. Allow the candidate to gather thoughts as they might be translating first in their head

Unconscious bias

Unconscious bias is something that we all exhibit. Before scheduling the interview, consider the following:

  • Provide the interview panel with resources which will help promote cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity 
  • Consider sharing background reading on people with experience of forced migration. This is to help understand some of the challenges and barriers faced by these groups. 
  • Make the panel aware of possible cultural differences. (for example, some cultures avoid eye contact)
Things to consider
  • In some countries discussing money is avoided or considered rude. 
  • Applicants might also not know what wages are appropriate for certain roles. 

If you ask a candidate what salary they’re expecting, they might feel uncomfortable with giving a number, or come up with a figure which could seem unreasonable. Instead, you could provide salary brackets and check if the proposed amount works for them.

  • In some cultures, talking about one’s strengths can be problematic. Consider rephrasing ‘What are your strengths’ question to:
    • How would your previous manager describe you as a worker?
    • How would you describe yourself as an employee?
    • What are you good at when working?
  • Whenever possible, diversify your interview panel. If you have any employees with lived experience of forced migration, it might be a good opportunity to include them in the process
Last updated: 5th January 2023

Contact us about employer engagement

For more information or to discuss getting involved, contact:

Ewa Lelontko - Employer Engagement Manager