Job interviews can be a daunting experience – on both sides of the table.
So while the self-help guides are more often than not set up around supporting the candidate, the guide below highlights some key considerations for employers who may not have much experience as the interviewer…
First things first, set a target date for when you want the new employee in post – then work backwards to determine all activities involved in achieving that goal.
Make sure everyone knows what needs to happen and when and book the activities into their diaries.
Don’t forget, the best people are often already in jobs, so you will need to take into account the fact that they may have notice to serve to their current employers.
Dependent on whether you’re working with an agency, an in-house recruitment team or you are going it alone, you will need to consider how many stages you would like the interview process to comprise. Consider, too, what the objective of each stage is. Longer processes tend to filter down the list of applicants to a much more manageable number for final consideration – but be aware that by putting in too many stages, you could be limiting your talent.
Some great applicants may be considering a number of roles, and you don’t want them to be snapped up whilst they wait for your 3rd or 4th stage interview…
If you choose to go it alone and advertise the role yourself, you will need to determine a mechanism for screening your applicants based on requirements you have laid out in your job specification.
This stage can be quite lengthy and you may wonder at times why certain people have applied for your job. Where are their relevant skills and experience? Why am I reading this CV? you may ask.
This stage requires lots of patience and a sharp eye. It can be helpful to create a matrix to judge people objectively based against each criteria. Some people leave screening to computer-aided tools, but by doing this you could be missing out on some great people. Remember, your next junior sales executive or middleweight graphic designer may be excellent in their profession, and just struggle when it comes to writing a CV.
This is where working with a good agency can benefit you, as they can typically read between the lines and interpret CVs well due to the extensive practice they get. It is also the reason why you should only allow individuals (internal or external) to manage this process if you feel confident they understand your market, company, product/service and job requirements thoroughly. Otherwise, how can they interpret what a good candidate looks like?
We often get asked whether it’s best to conduct the interview in person or by virtual means such as telephone or Skype. There is no right or wrong answer. It all depends on what you are judging.
In many cases, an interview will consist of two stages and employers chose to run initial screening by telephone and then second stage in person or by video conference (e.g. Skype).
Telephone has clear benefits of allowing people to get together much more quickly than arranging a time that suits multiple stakeholders, particularly if they happen to have busy work schedules. Skype or other conferencing tools can also come in useful in this circumstance too.
They are being much more widely adopted as an interview tool, allowing the interviewer to get a sense of body language and presence, which is particularly useful if the person is going to be out meeting customers.
Once you’ve selected who you’d like to interview, make sure you are familiar with their CV. You may have your generic set of questions to ask all interviewees but still make sure you use this opportunity to get to know each candidate individually.
They all come with a different history and CVs can often miss out crucial details. The interview is your chance to eek those details out.
As long as you are clear on what you are looking for and what the job entails, it should be easy to come up with good questions. They should help you determine whether this person can manage the day-to-day tasks successfully and fit in with the working environment.
Ask open-ended questions to allow the candidates to paint a picture, not just what they have done but how they have done it.
It’s good to ask questions around their successes and failures and how they handle them. We all know that it’s not always plain sailing after all.
Your questions should also help you also understand how they’d fit into the culture of the company and its vision and values. You can get more information on aligning vision and values here.
Don’t forget, you need to keep candidates and internal stakeholders informed at every step of the interview process. This can be one of the biggest turn offs for great candidates, so if you say you will call within two days with feedback, make sure you do. This is the first impression they will get of what it would be like to work for your company – so best make it a good one!
After the interview, feedback is key. Even the most dynamic of people can be affected negatively by not receiving feedback. The way we see it, if a candidate has worked hard to prepare for an interview or two with your company, the least they deserve is some constructive feedback.
Besides, they may be great in another role in your company in the future – and you wouldn’t want to miss that opportunity.
To learn more about our interview advice, and to find out how we can help you manage the interview process, just give us a call or email us. Click here
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