With the candidate driven recruitment market we are in, applicants for jobs are not plentiful. 10 years ago, interviews were quite a hostile environment, with the business in the driving seat and the applicant feeling quite inferior.
Now, however, applicants are less likely to be interviewing for just your job role. They might have 4, 5 or more different companies vying for their attention. This means that as an employer, you will be in a competitive environment as much as they are. And how you handle it will massively impact on the result.
Here are some things to really think about before you conduct an interview, so you can get the best result at the end of it:
1. Be really organised
This might sound silly, but if a candidate arrives for an interview and you don’t have everything planned it can create a bad reflection of your business. It can seem like they are not important to you or you don’t have a very good internal structure. If you then want to offer that candidate a job and they have another offer from a business they felt very valued by, you probably won’t get the outcome you’d like.
Make sure you don’t keep them waiting for ages. If you have a receptionist, make sure they know the candidate is coming so they can greet them properly. Make sure you know which meeting room you have booked and that you won’t have to change rooms half way through the interview. Have their CV to hand, make sure you have read it and don’t get their details confused with another applicant.
2. Know the business plans
Candidates are very savvy about the interview process. They know to focus their questions on the business, future ambition, the culture, and not to ask too much about salary, benefits and holidays. Make sure you have answers to these questions.
3. Study their CV
Applicants take the time to carefully craft their CV for you. How you respond to that speaks volumes. Have a print out of their CV ready to take into the interview, but make sure you have really read it. Highlighting key points, you want to explore is a nice touch. Knowing their recent work history without having to read it will give that person a sense that you have taken time for them and are interested. This will help if you want to take them to the next stage in your recruitment process.
4. Address all the action points for the interview
If you have asked the applicant to complete certain tasks or do specific research for the interview, make sure you cover all the areas. This is another situation where a person could feel undervalued if they have put a lot of effort into interview preparation and they didn’t actually need to.
5. Plan ahead
Plan your approach to the interview and if you are interviewing with a team member, agree who is asking what and who is taking the lead in certain areas. It can become very uncomfortable if your applicant has to keep repeating themselves or you realise you have asked the same question twice.
6. Give a bit back
An interview is not about making someone sweat, it’s about getting to know them. You will only get to know them if you get them to feel relaxed. If you like what they are saying, you agree with something, or you think their achievements are amazing, tell them so. If you are excited about them, you want them to know so they can hopefully start to get excited about the role and your business after they leave the interview.
7. Keep an eye on the time
If you have booked the interview to take an hour, it reflects well on you if it does take about an hour. So really think about what you are going to ask in the interview and set realistic timings. People can feel a bit deflated if they booked an hour out and it only took 15 minutes.
8. Know the role inside out
You have budget to hire someone and are investing time and money in the recruitment process. If you then appear to be sketchy about the role and you struggle to talk through the responsibilities, reporting lines, expectations etc, your applicant’s enthusiasm will quickly dwindle.
These are the main elements you can control. If your applicant leaves the interview thinking the role, the business or you, might not be for them, that is completely fine. But what you don’t want to do is to miss out on hiring the best candidate because of something you could have done better. In this competitive, candidate driven recruitment market, the little things are making a massive difference.