Interview Strategy – Part One

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So, you’re recruiting for a new role. You’ve hired a recruitment agency to find the best people from the talent pool, and there’s a stack of shortlisted candidates for you to interview. The recruitment agency has done a good job – all the candidates seem perfect for the role – so it’s now up to you to decide who is most suitable. Simple, right?

If only it were that easy.

Interviews can prove tough for even the most experienced interviewer, and with companies tightening their belts, the cost and time involved with recruitment means there is no room to make bad hires, putting extra pressure on employers.

Before getting into the interview process, you need to consider the recruitment agency you use. Are you paying too much per hire? If you use a traditional recruitment agency, the answer is probably yes. A flat-fee online recruitment agency is the most efficient way for modern businesses to recruit. These agencies will be able to do the legwork – work with you on a brief, create targeted adverts, screen candidates, and make relevant shortlists – all for a low-cost, fixed rate. It’s time to get recruitment savvy and consider your options.

Once you’ve got a shortlist of qualified and relevant candidates, it’s time to think about your interviewing technique – honing this process will ensure you hire the right person, first time.

Know what you want. Before doing anything else, it is essential to decide the type of person you are looking for. Is this person replacing a previous employee? If so, think about the skills, expertise and personal attributes the previous employee brought (or didn’t bring!) to the role. If you are recruiting for a new role, think about the qualities a person needs to fill it successfully. Make a list of the skills and attributes needed and discuss with your colleagues, who may be able to provide further insight. It’s important to have a consensus on the criteria.

Pre-screening. Many new employees come through recruitment agencies. One of the main reasons that companies still favour recruitment agencies is because of the pre-screening process, which ensures only the most relevant and experienced candidates are shortlisted. This not only makes the process a lot smoother and easier, but saves time and money per hire.

Interview strategy. Make a plan of action. Although much of the hard work will be done by the recruitment agency, you still need to prepare for the interviews. It may sound obvious, but read through each CV thoroughly. The recruitment agency will have made notes that highlight any gaps in experience or questions to ask, but it also gives you an opportunity to explore a candidate’s career and understand the strengths they can bring to the role.
Make a list of questions in advance. Trying to freestyle during the interview will not only seem unprofessional, but you may miss asking pertinent questions. Candidates are expected to come prepared, as should recruiters. Devising a list of open-ended questions will allow candidates to demonstrate how their experience and ambition can benefit your company.