Our tips for conducting a successful interview….for employers
The interview is one of the most important aspects of the hiring process; but it’s not just candidates that need to prepare and put themselves in the best possible position for success – the interview is a two way street! Here are our suggestions for the best ways in which employers can conduct an effective interview.
Decide the format of the interview
Not all interviews take place face to face nowadays so you need to understand what format of interview will be best for the position that you are looking to recruit. Some initial preliminary interviews may take place over the phone or if travel costs and time are potentially prohibitive Skype or video calls may be a suitable solution. A one-to-one interview is still the most popular choice for many employers whilst a number may opt for a panel interview where a candidate will meet multiple people from the organisation. Also decide if the interviews will follow the same format with the same questions being asked to every candidate or if it will be less structured and more based around conversation.
Who should conduct the interviews?
The interview format that you decide upon will often influence the choice of interviewer/s. It is often the case that the direct line manager of the role that is being filled will be an obvious choice and depending upon the position, a department head or similar will sit alongside. As the interview is as much about the company selling the opportunity to the candidate, it is important to choose someone who will be able to be enthusiastic about the role available as well as being a great advocate of the business, its culture and what it is like to be part of the team.
How long will the interviews last?
It is important to strike the right balance between giving yourself – and the candidate – enough time to find out all you need to know about each other whilst ensuring that the interview has good pace and duration to it, particularly if you are conducting several interviews within the same day. An hour is usually a good benchmark with slightly more time being allowed for second interviews or more senior level appointments. If you are planning a series of interviews, make sure you leave enough time between appointments so you don’t create a backlog if things run slightly over.
Make sure you think about where the interviews will take place and ensure any room bookings are made well in advance. Consider if any refreshments are to be served and who will be greeting the candidates on arrival and looking after them beforehand. Details should be sent to each candidate well in advance including date and time information and a note of how long the interview is likely to take and who they will be meeting as well as any special instructions that they need to know about access to the building or any supporting material you would like them to bring to the interview.
It is useful to have a pack of information for each candidate that contains a copy of their application, their CV and covering letter, any letters of recommendation and any submitted tasks or exercises that you have requested be completed as part of the application process.
Consider your questions
It is important to ask the right questions to ensure that you glean the information that you want to from each candidate. As well as looking through each CV and making a note on key points that you would like to know more about, prepare a few standard questions that you can ask each person such as ‘what interests you most about the position?’, ‘why would you like to work for the company?’ or ‘how do you see yourself developing in the role?’.
Help your candidates to relax
An interview can be daunting for some so help the interview go well – for all parties – by giving each person an opportunity to get settled and prepared before you start. Make sure they are comfortable and offer them a drink and ask them a few casual questions – ‘did you find us without too much trouble?’, ‘how was your journey?’ – to help them relax.
Wrapping up an interview
Give the candidate an indication of what the next step is likely to be and an expected timeframe in which you should be able to get back to them by. Make sure you inform each candidate of the outcome – whether they have been successful or unsuccessful – as promptly as you can. If you need a little more time to consider your decision, ensure that you keep those involved in the loop so that you don’t miss out on your preferred choice because they feel you are not interested through lack of feedback.
Sharp Consultancy specialises in the recruitment of temporary, interim and permanent finance professionals and the full spectrum of HR roles. With offices in Leeds, Sheffield, Doncaster and Manchester our highly experienced team of consultants recruit for positions throughout Yorkshire and beyond.
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