Part One of this article looked at pre-interview preparations: using a flat-fee recruitment agency; having a clear understanding of what you want from an employee; pre-screening; and carefully devising your interview questions. It’s now time to discuss the interview.
It is essential for the interviewer to steer the interview. Think about the sole reason for the interview process: to find the best candidate for the role. This will not be achievable if you allow for distractions or are not properly prepared. All interviews should have a logical structure – one that you can navigate the candidate through smoothly.
Introductions. Think about your own experience of job interviews. Everyone is nervous, so be sure to put the candidate at ease. Perhaps start with a little small talk to get the conversation flowing – their journey to the interview, for instance. It’s also important to manage candidate expectations by breaking down the format of the interview.
Gauge candidate understanding. After initial introductions, investigate the candidate’s understanding of the company and role. Have they taken the time to research the company and do they fully understand what is required from the job? Be sure not to dominate the interview at this point; it is a chance for the candidate to make an impactful first impression. One of the biggest mistakes interviewers make is talking too much – despite giving an understanding of the company, it does not allow candidates to discuss themselves and their offerings.
Remember – the candidate isn’t the only one being interviewed! Many employers forget that interviews are a two-way process. Just as you expect a candidate to be right for you, your company has to be right for the candidate. By not presenting the company in the best possible light – by not selling your ‘employer brand’ – you could lose out on hiring the best person for the job. Ensure candidates get a good impression of the company and the role. Present yourself in a professional manner: dress well, be prepared, be amicable, and choose an appropriate place to conduct the interview.
Question time. If you have scheduled a day or two for interviews, space them out well, and always leave time for questions. Interviews should never feel rushed. Allocating extra time will not only allow candidates to express any concerns, but the quality of their questions will help you assess their intelligence and suitability.
That’s a wrap. After questions have been answered and both parties are happy, it’s time to close the interview by explaining the next steps. Will you be calling candidates for a second interview? Whether this is the case or not, give candidates a timeframe for response – no one likes to be kept waiting.
Finally, consult the recruitment agency. Once you have a clear picture of each candidate, speak directly to the recruiter, who will already have their opinion of each candidate from the pre-screening process. Compare notes and impressions – perhaps they picked up on something you missed.