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Top 10 Essential Interviewer Tips

January 11, 2020

Below are some hints and tips to help you conduct an interview more successfully. Hart Recruitment can help you review and update your interview process. In the meantime please see our tips below or book onto the Interviewer Techniques Workshop here.

#1 Interview Strategy
Plan your strategy, ensure your job descriptions and requirements are up to date. Decide if a telephone or video interview can be conducted in the first instance, followed by a face to face interview. Will there be a panel interview and if so plan interview slots in advance of screening CVs. Remember psychometric testing is part of the process not the deciding factor. If you conduct tests ensure you are benchmarking their results against current employees.

#2 Prepare
Read a candidate’s CV from beginning to end. Check out their digital footprint from their Linkedin profile to whatever else is available on-line. Identify and make a note of any red flags such as gaps in employment, or inconsistencies, as well as the positives and key achievements.

#3 Interview Questions
For a telephone or first interview structure your questions based on work history and listen to the answers. Probing is essential and only as a result of good listening. Structured competency-based questions are a skilful way of finding out individual behavioural strengths e.g. are they an effective communicator/teamplayer/decision maker – what is the evidence? Also do their behaviours align to your company values – what’s the evidence? What % of your role is skill and what % is behavioural?

#4 Welcoming Environment
Remember the candidate will be nervous but also they will be assessing you and your company brand. Brief front of house staff, organise a suitable room and be welcoming. Your aim is to ensure that every candidate leaves your premises with a positive experience. Negative word of mouth, as well as on-line reviews can damage your individual and company reputation. Always dress appropriately. The candidate needs to see a reflection of the company dress code. Give the candidate notice if it is a dress down day.

#5 Red Flags
Are you satisfied with the answers given to any red flagged areas? Behaviour repeats behaviour, so if there are lots of gaps in a career history, this may happen again but for short term contracts that may be a positive. Ask “What is your second reason for leaving?” If your gut feels that something isn’t right, probe, probe, probe.

#6 Listen
Understand and digest their answer by listening and waiting for the candidate to finish. Always show an interest in a response and probe as a result of what you have heard. One study concluded that most communication occurs non-verbally as follows: 7% Verbal, 38% Tone of Voice and 55 % Body Language. Be aware of how you come across to someone else.

#7 Explain the role
Clearly explain the role, team structure and day to day responsibilities. Through effective questioning you are establishing if the candidate’s skill set is similar or transferrable to your requirements. A candidate will also perform well if the current/previous working culture, is also similar to your company.

#8 Promote your company
Have 3 key selling points to discuss with the candidate i.e. company growth and stability, career progression, training and company benefits. Calculate how much your benefits are worth – put a figure on it.

#9 Stay within the Law
Review the Equality Act 2010 and remember that these laws apply from the moment you advertise a position and receive CV’s. Check an individual’s ID via their passport or birth certificates, as penalties for employing illegal workers includes fines and jail sentences.

#10 Timescales
Close the interview by answering any additional questions the candidate may have, explain the next steps with realistic timescales for feedback. From the first instance, plan the recruitment process timescales; CV screening, 1st & 2nd interview dates. On the interview day always give yourself enough time and be prompt. Complete your evaluation notes after each interview, particularly, if it is a panel interview so that you can discuss performance immediately. Go back to candidates when you said you will – nothing like ruining your brand due to no feedback.

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