I read with interest an article in People Management which reported 43% of employees surveyed (CV-Library poll) were in favour of outlawing interviews in favour of skills-based assessments. Why – because they believe the way organisations recruit and promote people is unfair. I have witnessed the arguments for making decisions on gut instinct or technical ability alone but in my experience bringing competencies into the mix makes for a much more effective interview process.
Having been involved most recently in engineering recruitment, technical ability was always high on the agenda when it came to the interview. However we managed to give (if not always) equal billing to the transferable competencies the candidate had to offer.
John Gifford (CIPD) commented in the same article that “interviews need to be managed carefully to ensure the best people were chosen for jobs” adding that “employers would benefit from making interviews as structured as possible”. So how can you make your interviews more structured, ensuring you get the best from the time you spend with your candidate therefore ensuring the interview is a good experience for both parties? Below are some tips to help you achieve this.
I will assume at this point you have experienced a good recruitment campaign with an effective job description/person specification (as mentioned in my January blog) and you are starting at the point where you have suitable candidates lined up for interview.
Tip 1: Prepare, prepare and prepare again! It is your duty to the candidate to prepare for the interview and this means reading their CV so you know who you are going to meet and make notes of any questions that come to you during this review of their CV.
Tip 2: As a follow on from Tip 1, prepare the questions you want to ask the candidate. I would recommend using behavioural interviewing techniques which concentrates on past behaviours and experiences of the candidate e.g. Tell me about a time when……, Provide an example of a situation where…… (I will go into more detail about behavioural interviewing in an upcoming blog.)
Tip 3: Always help the candidate relax when they come into the interview room or while walking with them from Reception, try to build a rapport and put them at ease. Explain who will be involved in the interview and that you will be taking notes. Taking notes will be invaluable to you if you are interviewing multiple candidates but a word of caution, candidates can request a copy of interview notes.
Tip 4: Look for a STAR response from your candidate i.e. S – Situation or T – Task they faced; A – the Action they took; and R – the Result or outcome. Do not be afraid to ask probing follow up questions if you do not get the information you need e.g. How did you feel about that….., What did you specifically do?
Tip 5: Avoid leading questions as you will not get anything from the candidate only a confirmation of your statement e.g. So I guess you are a good problem solver, It sounds like you managed teams effectively.
Tip 6: Do not be afraid of silence! When you ask a question, allow the candidate time to come up with an answer, do not feel you have to jump in with the next question, this may fluster them.
Tip 7: Remember the candidate should do most of the talking during the interview and your job is to use effective listening skills encouraging them to give you the information you want. Do not get too carried away telling them about the company and the team etc. a 5 to 10 minute briefing is sufficient at this stage.
Tip 8: Once the formal part of the interview is completed take time to ask them about themselves – what they enjoy doing outside of work, any volunteering they do etc. Do not however ask personal details about their home life!
Tip 9: Give them the opportunity to ask questions – remember an interview is a two way process which allows the candidate to decide whether they want to work for the company so they may have questions they need answering. This also allows you to assess how much they prepared for the interview and if they did any research on the company!
Tip 10: Close the interview thanking the candidate for their time. Inform them of the next steps e.g. if there is a second stage interview or assessment process and let them know the timeframe of when they should expect to hear from you.
I found it difficult to limit this to just 10 Tips but I do hope you find them useful!
I hope interviewing does not get banned, as done correctly “Interviews are an essential part of the recruitment process and give a recruiter good insight into a candidate’s capabilities” (Lee Biggins, CV-Library MD)
If you need any support with recruitment, Your HR Consultant would be happy to help. Give Michelle a call for a free no obligation consultation about your requirements.