Ripple Recruit have put together a 3 part series , which covers the 3 most important areas of hiring; The Search, The Interview , The Offer.
Some people are naturally great at conducting interviews and others struggle. Being a good interviewer isn’t easy, it takes practice and it takes preparation.
When conducting an interview, there are generally 3 key questions that you’ll be looking to get answered;
Without solid preparation, any interviewer will struggle to get the most from the candidate they’re meeting.
Think about your current and previous team members;
Over the years, I’ve seen companies hire entire teams of individuals without once changing their interview questions or criteria. Typically, what that means is that they end up hiring 20 people with the same skill set and character profile, often creating a team culture that isn’t as successful as it could have been if they’d adapted their interview criteria as the team had grown.
Think about the interview process from both sides , you’ll need to put yourself in your candidate’s shoes and understand what the interview process will feel like and how you’re going to get the best out of them.
Remember, you want candidates as relaxed as possible during the interview. You’re trying to get an indication of how they’re likely to perform once you’ve hired them, not how well they stand up under intense questioning!
As a recruiter, I always ask my clients about the structure of the interview. I ask about their objectives and the format of the interview.
If you’re not using a recruitment agency, then it’s important that you share this information directly with the candidate. Offering an insight into what the candidate should expect will help them relax and will boost their confidence .
One of the biggest mistakes that I’ve seen companies make is around competency-based questions. If you’re going to ask competency-based questions, then tell the candidate before the interview, which competencies you’re interested in exploring.
This may seem like you’re giving them too much time to prepare a scripted answer, but I couldn’t disagree more. When asking competency-based questions, your goal is not to hear a single sentence answer, it’s to start a conversation .
By giving the candidate advance warning on the competencies that you’ll be focusing on, it gives them time to recall the best examples from their career rather than the best example they can remember in 30 seconds. Even if they’ve researched ‘how to answer competency-based questions’ online the night before, this googling won’t stand up under questioning. On the contrary, they’ll fall apart faster than someone who hadn’t prepared at all.
Trust your ability to ask secondary and tertiary questions, go duodenary if needed!
When the interview has finished, make sure you tell the candidate what happens next. Manage their expectations with regards to process and time scales.
Unless you’re extremely lucky, after all your interviewing, you’ll still have a few concerns about several of the candidates that you’ve met.
For some reason, it’s quite rare that a company aims to address their concerns about a candidate after the interview has been conducted. Don’t get me wrong, it does happen but it’s not the norm.
It’s a strange phenomenon, in most other walks of life, if you have concerns or further questions then you’ll ask them before dismissing an option. When hiring, if the candidate didn’t nail it on the day then often it’s game over, which is not always a wise decision.
If you’ve ever gone back to a recruiter or a candidate with a straight-out rejection, then it’s possible that you’re missing out on a very good candidate. By sharing your concerns and providing a forum for the candidate to respond, you’ll find that you unearth a whole new set of skills.
After all, dealing with feedback is part of any job and how each candidate responds will often show you how they’ll respond to feedback once hired.
If your feedback is that a candidate’s skill set wasn’t as strong as needed, then they may come back to you with some additional examples that were missed in the interview. I once had a candidate who learnt SQL in around 7 days, after receiving feedback that this was a weakness in the interview. Needless to say, that level of determination and positive attitude resulted in a job offer.
Some of your concerns may be overcome by conducting references from previous employers. If you’re worried about how quickly they’ll pick up new technologies, their management ability or team fit, then share your concerns and conduct a reference with a previous employer.
The key here is open communication and transparency.