There is a lot of information and advice out there for candidates and how they can prepare for an upcoming interview, but what about the interviewer? It is often presumed that hiring managers will be good performers in interviews however this is not always the case. Here we explore what you can do as a hiring manager to ensure you deliver a good interview which will not only allow you to make an informed decision on who to hire, but also to promote your business and attract the best person for your job.
Make the candidate feel comfortable
At a first stage interview it is imperative that you make the candidate feel comfortable to ensure that they can relax enough to demonstrate their true character. If candidates are confronted with a cold and unpersonal interviewer, I can guarantee that they will not perform to their best ability and you will not see a true reflection of their aptitude. Ask the candidate if they would like a drink prior to beginning the interview and perhaps even have one yourself as having a chat over a coffee will not only put the candidate at ease but will also help you to relax and the conversation will flow. An interview does not need to be a quick fire of question after question, if you begin with a generic conversation you will probably find that you will organically cover any questions you were intending to ask.
If you are recruiting for a role that requires the employee to perform well under pressure, there are ways to explore this at second stage interview so try not to force this at the first stage. If you build rapport and ask the candidate to come back for second stage interview, this is your opportunity to ask more testing questions or perhaps ask for a presentation to be delivered. You may have also identified areas of skills gaps that you want to explore further and this is where you could perhaps apply a little more pressure and see how the candidate performs.
Personality as well as skills
When the candidate is comfortable and relaxed, they are going to let their personality shine through. Of course, an interview is designed to identify whether they have the skills and knowledge required for the role however it is just as vital to ensure a good personality fit for your team. Can you see yourself working with them? Think of the current personalities in your team and whether they will fit in and not cause any personality clashes.
You can also apply this thinking to skill sets. It is very tempting to try and replicate your best performer when expanding your team however this will often tip the balance of your team’s skill set. Perhaps someone from a different industry or with a different set of skills will bring a new perspective or dimension to the team that will help them perform better in the long run. Try to stay open minded and interview a wide range of candidates to put you in the best position to make the right decision.
Sell yourself and the company
One of the most regular downfalls that we see in hiring managers at interview is that they think interviewing is a one way street and the candidate is only there to prove that they can do the job you have on offer. In a candidate driven market, you have to assume that candidates will have several interviews going on at the same time therefore you must remember to sell the opportunity and ensure the candidates are attracted to the company and role. We have recently dealt with a client who have changed their interview process and although they still explore the candidates skill set at first stage, they primarily use the first meeting as a way to sell the business, explain the job role and get the candidate fully engaged in the role so they are confident that if an offer is made after second stage interview the success rate of an offer acceptance is much higher.
Try not to be caught out by a candidate who wants to find out more information on the businesses and job role. You will already know a lot of the relevant information however make sure you are aware of the current turnover, recent news and what the companies’ ambitions are in the next few years. We do not recommend that candidates ask about salary or benefits packages in the first stage interview however it may be beneficial to be clear on all aspects of your company benefits package including pension contributions, holidays and any private health benefits so the candidate is aware of all the details upfront.
You should always be prepared for questions about progression, for today’s job seekers progression (or lack of it) is one of the main reasons they look to move on from their current role so this will come up at interview. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they will want your job in the next 2 years so don’t feel threatened! They do however want to know about any training opportunities, future promotions and salary increases. Hopefully you have a strong training and internal promotion culture in place so it will be an easy sell however we deal with a lot of clients who may have a flat structure and struggle to explain the benefits in a positive light. Think about how the role could develop without necessarily meaning a change in job title, could they take on more duties, more responsibility or perhaps have yearly salary reviews.
If you are meeting with a candidate, you expect them to have done some research into the company right? So, remember that they will expect the same of you. Make sure that you are familiar with the candidate’s CV prior to the interview so you can have a more flowing conversation. Try to refrain from asking questions such as; “where did you go to University?” – this is information that they will expect you know from their application so ask instead; “what attracted you to Newcastle University?” or “why did you chose to study engineering?”.
One of the main frustrations from candidates when applying to job roles is the lack of feedback given throughout the process. Following an interview, it is imperative that you give every candidate detailed feedback as quickly as possible. If you have a long interview schedule, make the candidate aware of this at the end of the interview so they know that it may take a week or so before they hear back from you.
Be honest – we have recently explored how a candidate can improve their performance at interview and honest feedback is essential for this to happen. Provide your thoughts in a constructive way that will help that candidate moving forward and perhaps perform better at their next interview.
Always remember that your reputation is not only derived from your employees but can be affected by those who were unsuccessful at interview. Be professional throughout the process and remember that you are a spokesperson for the whole company. If you have an unorganised interview process or do not provide feedback to the candidates, this information will begin to spread around the candidate pools and could mean that you miss out on the perfect person because of your reputation.
If you would like any more information please call 0191 493 7030.
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