Depressingly, the recent interview experience made public by Olivia Bland didn’t come as a surprise to me. Judging by the comments on social media following her post, the majority of you out there aren’t surprised by this sort of interview either – even sharing your almost comic experiences.
Why is interviewing so difficult to master?
I don’t think that anyone sets out to make someone feel horrible when interviewing. I’m certainly not perfect when I look at my interviewing history. In the past, I’ve been guilty of dashing to the printer last minute to pick up the candidate’s CV, and then reading up on their history for the first few minutes of the interview while pretending to listen – something I’m not proud to admit.
It was only when I started at Lorien and was coached on how to interview that I realised it only takes some simple steps to not only provide a good experience for the candidate, but also determine who would make the best colleague. The people we hire and the way we do it is one of the single biggest impactful (and expensive) practices an organisation can make and we rarely get it right, purely because we have never been taught how to.
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 organisation, but that they are selecting candidates that will contribute best within their organisation; 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 CV 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 organisation 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. Remember that 80% of 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.
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.