Interview success: A brief guide for employers

Interview success: A brief guide for employers

The job interview could be the most important part of the recruitment process. After advertising the vacancy, sifting through applications and checking resumes, the interview stage allows employers to go beyond the list of qualifications and truly figure out if the candidate is the right person for the job.

While interviewees are sure to have prepared thoroughly and will be keen to impress, it’s just as important for businesses to do their homework too – not just on the candidates, but on the ins and outs of the role.

Here’s a brief guide to running successful interviews…

Preparation is key
You’ve chosen your candidates for the interview round, and are preparing to meet them for the first time. By the time they come into the office, you should already have a strong handle on their experience, skills and talents.

Use the information you already have about each candidate to shape the interview – have they listed skills you want to know more about? Is there a gap in their job history? Reading the resume for the first time in the interview is far too late – the candidates will have researched your brand, and you need to do the same in return.

Go beyond the resume
Try not to focus too much on the candidates working history – the job they held five years ago might not have too much bearing on their performance now, considering the fast-paced changes that have come with more technology in the workplace.

Similarly, while their academic history may be impressive, don’t waste time talking about the schools they attended unless it’s relevant. Instead, focus on the skills they have developed and how they have applied them – and how they will benefit your company.

What do you need to know?

Asking the right questions is vital, especially if your job interview slots are short. Avoid clichéd questions about ‘strengths and weaknesses’ or ‘where do you see yourself in five years?’ and focus instead on questions that will make the candidate demonstrate their suitability for the job.

For example, questions that present the interviewee with a particular workplace problem – that could arise in their job – and ask them how they’d deal with it. Ask them about situations where they applied their core skills, and what the results were.

Also, remember that the right skill set is only one factor in finding the right candidate. Perhaps more important is cultural fit – how will that candidate fit into your organization. Make sure you factor this into the questions you ask – how your potential hire works with your current employees and fits in with your company’s own working environment can impact your wider business.

Be clear about the role

Be clear about the specifications of the job role – what skills are required, what responsibilities it holds, where it falls in the company hierarchy. Being upfront about pay, working hours, benefits and other key information is also important – don’t put off a fantastic candidate by being cagey about salary and benefits. You never know, they might have other companies chasing them too.

What if they say no?
Try and find out why, if you can. Not all candidates who reject a job offer will be comfortable delivering criticism, but it’s invaluable to know why a candidate might be put off so you can do better next time.

Pay, benefits and other rewards are often a factor, and perhaps cannot be changed – but if a candidate refused the job because the role wasn’t as advertised, or they didn’t know enough about the job, those issues can be resolved.

Fine-tuning your interview style and process can help ensure the talent found at the application stage are truly tested before they’re given the job. This is your opportunity to find out if a candidate is really right for your company – don’t waste it by failing to prepare or relying on tired, clichéd questions.

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