How good are you at conducting interviews? (Part One)

Most business owners will declare that their people are the most valuable assets to their business. A dynamic and motivated workforce will certainly elevate the success of a business. So surely emphasis should be placed on securing the very best talent for your business by conducting the most effective and engaging interviews possible.

It is something that many employers take for granted they can do well. However, looking back at your own career, there is a good chance that at some point, you yourself may have received a poor interview. Remember how that felt? It can be a very unnerving experience, especially for those candidates who are less experienced. Did you leave the interview with a real desire to work for that business? Most likely not.

Interviews are a great opportunity for you to promote your business in the most positive way possible. There is huge value you can gain by making sure that the manner and style of the interview is an encouraging and helpful experience for the candidate. Ultimately, there will only be one winner for your role, but that doesn’t mean you can’t manage the expectations of all the candidates you meet and leave them with a great impression of you, your company and a real desire to work with you.

Very few employers conducting interviews have actually received any form of formal interview training. So how do you know what to look for from the candidates you meet?

At SimkissGuy, we believe that an interview should be an enjoyable experience for all, so here are our thoughts as to how to make the most of every interview.

Things are not always as they seem.

CV’s are usually your first introduction to your prospective employees. If you are working with a good quality recruitment partner, then there should be no more than 5 or 6 CVs that have been sent to you and each of these should have been handpicked for your vacancy. Your recruitment partner should want to discuss each CV with you in detail and provide you with reasons why they feel each candidate is suitable for the role.

Make sure you don’t make a hasty decision at this point. Some managers often seem keen to find early reasons to discard CVs from shortlists. There may be a very genuine reason for not wishing to select a candidate for interview. However, this can mean you miss out on a real gem of an employee that can add real value to your team.

The chances are that those with less obvious CV based experience have been selected by your recruitment partner for having the personal qualities, culture fit and attitude that will be essential for your role and business, alongside those capabilities you need for the day to day essentials of the job description. After all, if you are working with a trusted recruitment partner, and they really know and understand your business, you should trust and value their opinion. Any concerns should be easily allayed by the initial conversation where you discuss the shortlist.

When reading CVs prior to interview, make sure you know what to look for. Consider the factual content of course, but also try to see the CV as your opportunity to view the background of the candidate. What has their life journey been like to date? Look at their educational achievements; are they consistent with any other achievements on the CV? Where have they travelled on their career path? Does this give you an indication of where they are going in the future?

Look at the consistency of the CV. Has the candidate always worked in businesses of a similar size and industry; or are there any unexplained inconsistencies? Having a good stable work history with many years’ spent with the same employer is often seen as a very positive attribute. It is true that such a candidate will be a very loyal employee. However, on the flip side, can this also show a candidate that maybe “lacks go”?

If you are looking for your new employee to be a shining star and a future leader of your business, you really need to think about whether this may be the best opportunity for them. Some employers can be very wary of CV’s with a little more movement. However, try not to automatically discard these. It is not always the case, but a really dynamic candidate may move around more if they are not able to find an employer who will recognise their potential and channel their ambitions.

Some employers can be concerned about a candidate who has continued their education to degree level, thinking that they may not stay with you if the role and your business are not able to offer immediate progression. It is true that many graduates are hungry to progress in their career. However, every candidate is unique and for equally as many graduates we meet, university is much more about the life experience and enjoyment of studying a particular subject, rather than demonstrating a keen desire to rapidly climb the career ladder.

Finally, always question gaps on a CV. Your recruitment partner should always discuss these with you in your shortlist run through. Do keep in mind that after several years’ of a challenging employment market, a six month break in employment can now be quite common. Redundancy has been an all too familiar word for many in recent times. So how has the candidate applied themselves to looking for a new role during this time? Have they registered with recruitment agencies? Have they been temping? Is there a personal project they have been working on that took their focus away from securing a new role? These questions can provide real insight.

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