How good are you at conducting interviews ? (part 2)

You can read part 1 here

The big event!

It goes without saying that you would always expect a candidate to arrive prepared for their interview with you. But how well will you have prepared? It is important to allow an interview the time and attention it deserves. Ideally, meeting with 5 or 6 candidates at first interview stage will give you a good idea of the general calibre of prospective employees who are available for your role. Allowing 45 minutes to an hour for each is a good rule of thumb. If you cannot meet with all candidates in one day, provide interview slots over the course of 2 or 3 days. Ideally leave 30 minutes between each interview to finish your notes, gather your thoughts and prepare for your next meeting.

If interviews are not conducted in a relatively short space of time, it can become difficult to compare equally and can be very frustrating for candidates who have been interviewed earlier in the process. Good candidates will always be snapped up quickly and a gap of just a week or two can mean new offers in the pipeline.

If you like to conduct second interviews, then absolutely do so. It is best to not let too much time lapse between first and second meetings. Meeting your final selection of two or three candidates will allow you to confirm who you feel is your strongest candidate and should mean you can progress to offering employment quickly. Once you have selected your second shortlist, you should be confident that all of your prospects have the right skills match for your role. Attitude, personality, team and culture fit within your business will often be your deciding factor once you have reached final interview stage.

The quality of the answers you receive in your interviews will most likely be directed the quality of your questions. Use the CV reading tips to help you formulate these.

The old saying is true; you never have a second chance to make a first impression, so make your greeting warm, encouraging and memorable. A candidate attending a job interview is most likely to be nervous, so do all you can to put them at ease. You would expect a candidate to be punctual for their interview, so greet them at their allotted time. Thank the candidate for their time in coming to see you and be pleased to meet them.

Be very aware of your body language; shake hands, make good eye contact and have open body language (no crossed arms in the interview!).

If interviews are taking place across a desk then make sure you are in a private room and the candidate has a comfortable chair, at the right height and you are the right distance apart. Sitting slightly sideways on is often more relaxing for the candidate than if you are sat directly opposite them, so try to do this if you can.

An interview should flow and have a relaxed conversational quality. Set the tone for the meeting by explaining the process that you would like to go through and highlighting to the candidate that they will have the opportunity to ask any questions at the end of the interview. Communicating in this way will help to put the candidate at ease and so will help you to uncover the real person.

Each question should lead to the candidate providing you with the motivations behind their decision making, their competency for your vacancy as a result of their previous experience and their ambitions and aspirations for the future. Achievements should always be praised congratulated and try not to make notes at a crucial moment of the candidate talking through their experience.

Respond to the key descisions and changes by asking for triggers. What happened that meant that was the exact point they decided to change. Usually, there will be more than meets the eye as to why a career change or new challenge was sort at that particular moment in time.

Competency based interviewing should allow the candidate the opportunity to demonstrate their skills of:

Initiative, Adaptability, Communication, Integrity, Analysing and problem solving, Teamwork, Resiliance

Many job descriptions will use these as desirable characteristics for the role, so ask the candidate to give you examples of when and where in there career they have been put into practice.

It is interesting to think that some of the most important parts of our lives will be at the bottom of the second page of a CV. Hobbies, sports interest and cultural pursuits will give you an insight to the bigger picture of a candidate. Asking the candidate to talk to you about their interests towards the end of the interview shows real interest in them as a person and will demonstrate that you have considered their CV in depth.

Remember, allow the candidate to ask any questions they may have at the end of the interview. Thank them for their time again and explain the next stage in the process.

Once all first and second interviews have been conducted, proceed to offering your chosen candidate a position within your business quickly to ensure that you don’t lose them to another opportunity.

For candidates that have not been successful in securing your role, provide them with constructive feedback and explain why they were not right for your opportunity at this time. After all, you never know if there may be another role that is more suited to their particular skills in the future

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