Interviews. The magical gateway to bringing new talent into your business. With so much advice available to candidates we can forget how important it is for interviewers to ensure a positive experience. According to the Office for National Statistics*, the UK employment rate is the highest since records began. Job seekers have more opportunities and are more selective about who they choose to work for. We, as employers and in-house recruiters, need to put a greater emphasis on the interview process in order to attract top talent.
Any organisation should see the interview as a 50/50 situation in which both parties are assessing the other for suitability. It only takes 30 seconds to form an impression, so as an ambassador for your business when interviewing, how you conduct yourself will form that person’s impression of your organisation, its culture and its values. You don’t have to be a sorcerer to know that a well conducted interview has never been more important in today’s candidate led market.
As tempting as it may be to trip a candidate up or take them out of their comfort zone to see how they perform under pressure, the reality in today’s market is top talent will simply go elsewhere. Not to mention those people are likely to share that negative experience with friends and further affect your ability to attract the right people. Perhaps it’s time to leave strange and wacky interview techniques behind and focus on a consistent interview process.
Before the interview
A great starting point is creating an interview guide. Agree 3-5 key behaviours that are essential to the role and choose indicators that you can clearly mark them on. For e.g. behaviour ‘copes with pressure’ with indicator ‘remains calm in difficult circumstances’. Once agreed ask related questions using the indicators as a prompt to probe further at any stage. You can even weight the score of each behaviour if you feel one is more important than another.
During the interview
- Set their expectations
- Maintain eye contact
- Don’t check your mobile, tablet or other device
- Don’t swear
- Don’t criticise previous employees
Using Pareto’s Law as a guiding principle for the interview (80% interviewee talking, 20% interviewer) is sensible and while this is their opportunity to impress you, there’s nothing mystical about ensuring you deliver the type of interview you’d want to attend yourself.
After the interview
As soon as possible score the interview guide with the hiring manager you’re supporting (or whoever is supporting you) while it’s fresh in both your minds. Use the indicators to really question if they displayed the behaviours. Finally, ensure you commit to a timescale to feedback to the candidate.
Follow these steps and you won’t have to rely on magic…you might just find the person you’re looking for.