I was privileged to attend a training program with Ross Clennett recently - “The Advanced Recruiter”. I enjoy Ross’s blogs and many recent posts have focussed on candidates and the best way to interview them. Having applied the tips suggested, I have seen extraordinary results. Lately, I have been asking candidates how they find being interviewed. Four out of five candidates told me that at other recruitment agencies, recruiters spent no more than ten minutes with them. I find this rather alarming.
It got me thinking, how can we be effective as recruiters or hiring managers in the short space of time we spend with candidates? Here are my thoughts around interviews and the dos and don’ts of interviewing.
1. Prepare – before you meet with a candidate, set time aside to review the candidate’s resume. You may be surprised but I have heard horror stories of candidates turning up to interviews with the client asking for their resume on the spot. How can you be prepared to ask the right questions if you don’t even have their resume on hand? Spend up to 15 minutes reading about what the candidate has done previously. Highlight some points you’d like to probe and explore examples of their work.
2. Dress the part! – As an interviewer in a corporate environment, you should be the best dressed in the room. Set an example and be professional. When I first arrived in Sydney looking for work, I met a “senior recruiter” who was dressed in ripped black jeans and trainers. Her casual approach didn’t instil confidence in me.
3. Test their competencies – This is one of the main aims of interviewing. Asking a candidate for examples of their work will not only identify that the candidate did the job but whether they did it well. The right set of questions will show you who the top-performing candidate is. Try not to ask general questions like, “have you dealt with a difficult customer?”.
Better questioning would be, “Tell me about a time where you set yourself a very challenging goal. What was the goal? What action did you take? Did you achieve the goal? What did you learn about yourself from this goal setting exercise?”
Many hiring managers and recruiters don’t probe enough. They fail to ask challenging questions that will identify high performers. Not only that, great candidates will see that you have taken the time and effort to really understand their background. It’s a little more work for a lot more value.
4. A nervous or quiet candidate is fine! – Don’t be put off by a candidate who is more introverted as interviews can be scary for some. Having to talk about yourself can be hard and some people find it uncomfortable. Put their likeability aside and break the emotional link between you and the candidate. Explore how a candidate can develop, improve, and add value in their next role and see what steps they have taken to improve on their weaknesses.
5. Be a clear communicator and FOLLOW UP – Making candidates aware of the process is so important as is effective communication in the recruitment process. There is nothing more frustrating than interviewing for a position and never hearing back. As a recruiter/ hiring manager, it’s all about the relationship. If you clearly communicate with your candidates, they will come back. You may not get the candidate that dream job they wanted, but they’ll remember you and may even become a client in the future!
There are many tips and techniques on interviewing candidates but following simple guidelines will get the most out of your time spent with your future recruit!