The interview process can be a daunting and anxious experience for many people.
Over the years I have seen high quality candidates miss out on opportunities because they struggled during the interview, letting nerves get the better of them!
As the employer, there are a few things effective steps you can take during the interview to get the best out of the candidate.
1. Be on time and present!
It’s a good idea to set aside some time before and after interviews. That way, you can comfortably welcome candidates and avoid having to rush them out at the end of their interviews. Be mindful that candidates are often interviewing between appointments, on their lunch break or before work, so for them, time is of the essence. If you are running late or distracted by phone calls mid interview, this may impact their ability to relax in their interview, stressing about getting back to work or making their next appointment on time. It also sends them a message that they are not important and provides a clue as to how difficult it might be to secure quality time with leadership when they work there.
2. Build rapport.
I always found I would get the best out of a candidate if I allowed the interview to flow like a friendly conversation. Give them the opportunity to tell you a little bit about themselves and show interest, it’s a nice icebreaker, rather than bombarding the candidate with one formal question after another. Make light of interviews and make a point of asking them to relax and enjoy the meeting.
3. Be armed with questions.
Your interview questions should reflect the job in question. Cliched questions will only invite cliched responses. Focus on behavioural or situational questions and craft your questions around the specific skills for the job role.
4. Slow down your decision making.
Employers often come to a conclusion about a candidate very early on in an interview and have a tendency to cut an interview short as a result. Be respectful of the candidate who has taken the time to prepare and come and meet with you. Go through the motions and try and form your opinion after the interview. I have often been pleasantly surprised as the interview progresses.
5. Keep it legal!
Make sure you are aware of what you can and cannot ask in an interview. For example: it is not appropriate to ask a candidate if they plan on having children. There are alternate ways you can approach these questions to avoid getting into trouble i.e. the job requires overtime, will you be able to do this when asked? Or how does this job fit into your career goals.
6. Practice your pitch!
It is important to remember that an interview is more than just an employer assessing a candidates suitability for the role. The candidate is also evaluating the employer and determining whether they want to work with you vs your competition. If they don’t feel the synergy, they might end up rejecting your job offer.
7. Sell your company and sell the job!
Be clear on the job description and explain it to the candidate in detail. If you have a written job description give this to the candidate. This is your opportunity to explain how the role fits in to the company structure and contributes to your company’s success.
Outline the training and mentoring process and your expectations for the first month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months.
If there is growth potential go through this and if there are plans within the company to expand let the candidate know.
Provide your view on why your company is such a great place to work and what do you do to keep your employees happy and engaged.
If you offer bonuses, perks, awards or rewards that will give you an edge over your competition let the candidate know.
8. You snooze you lose.
Candidates you meet are actively seeking a new opportunity. Whilst you don’t want to rush this very important decision, if you stretch out the process too long you could miss out on the best candidates. We recommend having an interview timeline in place outlining number of interviews required, who will be involved in the decision making process, timeline to complete any psychometric profiling then communicating this with candidates you meet so they aware of your process.
And finally, seek advice! As a recruiter, we can be a great advice line on how to conduct an interview.
Taking the time to improve your interview skills will mean you are improving your chance of hiring the best candidate and reinforcing your team – trust me, it is a worthwhile reward!