Good interviewing shouldn’t be hard, but we all know someone (possibly, we are that someone), who has suffered at the hands of a poor interview. And some of us – whether we want to admit it or not - have probably also been guilty of delivering a less-than-ideal experience. No-one sets out to make someone feel horrible when interviewing, but whether it’s reading up on the candidate at the last-minute during the interview, asking the wrong questions, or rushing through because of other business priorities, it’s easy to get it wrong.
But mastering interviewing could be the difference between securing a great candidate or missing out. The people we hire and the way we do it is one of the single biggest impactful (and expensive) practices an organization can make and we rarely get it right, purely because we have never been taught how to.
Thankfully, there are a few simple steps we can follow to not only provide a good experience for the candidate, but also determine who would make the best colleague.
One of our key practices at Lorien is to consult with our clients to make sure that they are not only attracting the best talent for their organization, but that they are selecting candidates that will contribute best within their organization; all while providing the best place for these very candidates to flourish. Without giving the whole game away, here are some simple steps to upgrade your interviews.
Make sure you have read the candidate’s resume in advance of the interview and have decided on the interview structure and marking criteria. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile, and give yourself the opportunity to have a full overview of the person before they walk through the door. So many businesses overlook this basic step because they consider it time consuming. But how much time could you save ensuring that you’re asking the right question, in the right way, to the right person? Poor hires can cost you both time and money.
Be on time, offer them a drink, and don’t be afraid to build rapport. Make them feel as comfortable as possible. Remember first and foremost you want your candidates to be able to perform at their best in the interview, so you can make an informed decision. Remember that further down the line, this is a person you could end up spending five days a week sat next to! Be mindful of making a good first impression. Even if they don’t want the job or they aren’t quite right, every candidate should walk away feeling as though they have had a great experience. They may be perfect for a role in the future and will also pass on positive feedback about your organization to their networks.
Lorien builds bespoke questioning for each of our clients to enable us to determine the best candidates out of a shortlist, so I can’t be too prescriptive here. However, interview questioning should incorporate a variety of methods. Give a candidate the opportunity to impress while not being too easy, don’t ask questions too reliant on past experience, and try to make the experience as appropriate and as pertinent to the role available as possible. If it’s appropriate, you can include technical, psychometric and cognitive testing to ensure the candidate matches your requirements rather than relying on gut feeling alone. Remember that many perceived ‘bad’ hires fail on attitude rather than availability.
Selling the Role
Re-clarify the position available. Be honest! No candidate expects every role to be perfect, and honesty around some of the common challenges in the role will provide the candidate an opportunity to consider how they will solve them. Tell them about the team they will be working in, explain your expectations, and what they will be able to achieve in six, 12, and 18 months. What is great about working for your company? Remember that the best way to hire people with longevity and who will enjoy coming into work is to ensure they choose you for what you’re honestly offering.
This is the candidate’s chance to ask you any questions and to allay any concerns that they may have about the role or your company. It’s important to remember to ask them if they have any questions. Thank them for their time and outline the next stage of the process.
Nowadays, more people are interviewing remotely. A lot of these tips are still applicable for remote interviewing – you should be prepared, warm and always tailor the interview for the level and skillset of the candidate. However, there are some additional considerations. It’s important to test all software before the interview and ensure that the interviewee is also comfortable with it. Ideally, you will have both tested the software ahead of the interview day. If you plan to use a particular tool with regularity, prepare a tip sheet to give to your interviewees with some answers to commonly asked questions. You should also allow for time delays with video interviewing by leaving a pause after each response, to give the candidate time to say everything they want to.
It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings to ensure the candidate’s focus is on you (and yours is on them). Keep your desk clear, remove any confidential information from sight and conduct the interview somewhere quiet, where you won’t be interrupted. Turn off your mobile and emails too so you aren’t distracted. Treat a remote interview with the same professionalism as you normally would, and you can’t go far wrong.
The above provides you with a basic framework to ensure that you are giving yourself a good chance of selecting the best candidate for your role. Equally, it'll help boost the chance of your preferred candidate selecting your company as their first choice of new employer.
Lorien has been providing recruitment process improvements to our clients for over 40 years. Learn more about us and the work we do here.