In my last post I looked at how to get the most out of the job interview from the potential recruit’s point of view so today, I thought I should balance that up with a few quick tips for the recruiter – that is the person conducting the interview.
The minefield of recruiting
Recruiting a new employee is a significant decision for any organisation, so it is important that the interviews you conduct are as effective as possible. If you take too long to make a decision on a would-be employee, you may lose them to a competitor, but without due diligence you could make a costly, wrong decision.
Depending on the position and how well you’ve done the short-listing, you may need to conduct as few as 3 or as many as 10 or more interviews before you can make a decision. Nowadays, with the interview itself a much more equal process and a chance for both parties to assess each other, it’s much more likely that you’ll need to ‘sell’ the position and the organisation. This means being clear about what the organisation stands for and what its values are, the type of culture it has and the overall work environment. It also means you need to have a really good understanding of just what the job is and who they’ll be working with. So, before you start you need to be sure you can articulate these important points and that you understand how to effectively interview potential employees.
Now there are many ways to conduct a successful interview and lots of theories supporting them. I don’t intend to focus on any of these today. Instead, what I’m going to do is give you 10 quick and easy tips that will help you to conduct more effective interviews, and interviews producing great results for your organisation!
10 tips to increase the effectiveness of interviews
- Do your research. Be sure you understand exactly what the job is and draw up a list of the most important attributes, skills and qualifications for the position. When making a list of key attributes & skills, make sure to rank them. If you’re unfamiliar with a specific skill set find out what’s important so you can ask directed questions.
- Be consistent. Ask each candidate some ‘standard’ questions. That way you can compare like with like. This may also assist when the scoring is close.
- Be specific. Ask candidates for specifics about achievements. Many resumes cover achievements in very broad terms and often fail to include specific information.
- Avoid closed questions. Ask open-ended questions to avoid simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. By encouraging the candidate to give more detailed answers, you are able to better gauge their fit for both the role and organisation.
- Be careful. Be fully aware of what you legally can, and can’t, ask during an interview.
- Be prepared. Take a close look at the candidate’s cover letter and resume and remind yourself why you short-listed the candidate. A few dot points will help here, especially when you are interviewing 5 or 6 candidates one after the other. It’s important that you allow yourself enough time to review your notes and the candidate’s resume before commencing the interview. Then, if there’s anything that stands out, discuss it…whether positive or negative. Watch also for discrepancies and/or breaks in employment timelines.
- Look beyond the job itself. Assess attributes like cultural fit, teamwork, leadership, motivation, self-discipline, communication, project management, and reliability.
- Encourage conversation. Include some questions to ‘break the ice’ and get the conversation flowing. Remember that for many, job interviews are a daunting experience and to get to see as much of the real person as you can, you need to work on putting them at ease. It always works well if you suggest to them that this is a two-way interview where you expect them to want to know more about the position and the organisation so that they have the information they need to make their decision. Then, during the interview, encourage the candidate to ‘boast’ a little so they describe what they achieved in their last position.
- Gauge interest. Try to assess the candidate’s interest in the position. Encourage them to ask questions and, where they do, give them a complete answer. Don’t just brush it off with a stock standard reply. The more open and honest you are, the more likely they will be engaged enough to be honest and open in response.
- Remember it’s a two-way street. Candidates are actively hunting for the right job with the right company. They are less likely to compromise and so you need to be prepared to work just as hard as the candidate during the interview. Make sure you have the answers and be honest and open with them.
Your people are your competitive advantage
As I’ve noted many times in the Diploma Human Resources Management online program, ‘people’ are the main competitive advantage for organisations. In fact, for many organisations around the world, the quality of their people determine just how big their competitive advantage is. This means that the need, and indeed competition for quality employees is greater than ever in all workplaces globally not just in the Australian workplace. There is a growing skills shortage world wide so when you find the right person for the job, you need to do all you can to ensure they will want to work for you. Getting it right at interview is a critical first step!