I’ve had a few job interviews recently. Here are some of the best and worst things I’ve seen.

The best interviewers know what the role should achieve but not how the successful applicant will achieve it.

The worst interviewers have a fixed idea of what the role involves and how the successful applicant should achieve it.

The best interviewers ask questions to get to an understanding of what the applicant knows and thinks, and if they don’t get it with the first question they keep asking.

The worst interviewers ask questions to test the applicant, trip them up by asking three questions in one, or to ask just because that question is on the paperwork.

The best interviewers are genuinely interested in the applicant’s questions, using them as an opportunity to talk more about the company and the role.

The worst interviewers treat the applicant’s questions as a formality to get through with no value to them.

The best interviewers speak openly about the company, what it’s trying to achieve and how different teams work together.

The worst interviewers present the role in isolation and say very little about the company or working environment, or how the role fits in.

The best interviewers understand that the applicant is answering from their current context and that it is the interviewers job to figure out how the answers might fit in the new context.

The worst interviewers expect the applicant to provide answers that fit the context they would be moving into without even knowing what that context is.