The job interview – a pivotal event for both parties

Business 27th February 2019

In our last blog, we looked at three big recruitment mistakes.  In this article, let’s look more closely at one of those – poorly prepared interviews.

Clearly vital for both parties, it’s astonishing how often companies take a lax approach to interviews.  How often do you hear companies boasting that their most important asset is their people?  Then, how is it that so many businesses adopt such a sloppy attitude to the all-important process of acquiring them?  A satisfactory interview outcome is vital for all concerned.  But – a successful interview doesn’t have to result in a job offer.  It could just as easily be a decision by one or both parties that an appointment would not be for the best.

Sound preparation

There are two key aspects to a successful interview.  You need to ask the right questions and you need to hear the right answers.  But there’s also the matter of research, preparation and consistency.  Here’s a checklist –

1. Don’t overdo the number of candidates you interview.  Don’t kid yourself that just by interviewing plenty of candidates, this equates to being thorough.  Far better to see three potentially good candidates than to interview six just for the sake of making a comparison.

2. Don’t rush the interviews.  Leave plenty of time for each one.  You’ll be doing yourself and the candidate a dis-service if you hurry through the process.

3. Read the candidate profiles thoroughly.  Make sure you’ve researched their social media accounts too.

4. Follow the WASP method – Welcome, Acquire, Supply, Part

Welcome the candidate – make them feel comfortable, ask about their journey, set the scene by explaining the process.

Acquire information – devote 70% of the interview question time to gleaning relevant information from the candidate

Supply them with information – allow 30% of your allocated question time for telling the candidate about the role and the kind of individual you’re looking for.

Part by explaining the next steps – explain clearly what will happen next; when you’ll let them know the interview outcome, if appropriate, when the next round of interviews will take place.

5. Remain objective.  Never allow your gut feeling to be an excuse for a superficial approach. – Gut feel is not an excuse for a superficial approach.  Always be thorough, regardless of your first impressions.  There are two words for this phenomenon – Halo and Horns.  The Halo approach is when you allow yourself to be influenced by an instant liking for a candidate, based on superficial factors, such as looks, name or accent.  The other side of the same coin is Horns – you write off the candidate because you don’t like the look or sound of them.

6. Follow up.  This is so important.  We’re talking about common courtesy.  We hear so much these days about the phenomenon of ‘ghosting’ – when employees, with no prior warning or explanation, just stop turning up.  Equally objectionable is when companies treat candidates in the same way – not communicating the interview outcome and not sending feedback.  This is a question of courtesy and fairness.  To hear nothing can be psychologically damaging and ruinous for their self-esteem.  There are also practical reasons for feedback promptly and courteously.  Unsuccessful candidates could be future or current clients, referral partners or simply advocates of your brand.

It’s not only about the answers

During the interview, keep the following in mind –

– As you work your way through the questions, pay attention to the candidate’s communication style and body language.

– If you don’t receive the answer you were looking for, be prepared to dig deeper and explore any part answered questions.

– Encourage the candidate to be honest, and to expand on their answers.  Give them every chance to either show you how great they are and how perfect they might be for the role.

– Equally, give them the opportunity to demonstrate that they and your business would be a less than perfect fit.

There’s more to successful interviewing than you might think.  So take care and prepare well.  This will give you the best chance of a successful process.  Although we’re HR specialists, we have vast experience and know-how in the field of recruitment.

For straight-talking advice on HR or sound recruitment practices, call us – 01604 763494

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