S2 tips: how to conduct a successful interview

The interview is only a part of the overall recruitment process, but often the most stressful bit – and not just for the candidate! If you find the interview process daunting or just want to make sure you getting as much information as you can about the candidates and have the best possible outcome, here are our top tips for getting the most out of the process:

Know what you are looking for

It may seem obvious, but it is easy to get caught out if you are recruiting for a number of positions. Take the time to read the job description and person specification ahead of time. Make sure you understand what an ideal candidate looks like and how you are evaluating those key characteristics.

Read the CV

Again, it seems obvious but is often overlooked. Reading through the candidate’s CV prior to the interview gives you a chance to highlight red flags and areas for clarification. Make notes of additional questions you want to ask.

Break the ice

Ask general rapport building questions at the outset of the interview, small talk about the weather, the journey in, the parking etc. This will help to put the interviewee at ease and make it more likely that they will open up to you.

Make it a conversation, not an interrogation

The ebb and flow of conversation will allow the candidate to lower their guard somewhat and give you greater insight into what makes them tick. It also lets them get to know you and the company a bit as well.

Decide on the questions you will ask ahead of time

Write down the key questions you want to ask, and ask them of each candidate so you have some standardised information to use when comparing them later. You will of course want to ask follow up questions, but writing down the key questions will ensure you are following a consistent approach with each interview.

Take notes

Take notes when possible during the interview, but make sure that you maintain eye contact as much as possible to encourage the conversation. Make further notes immediately after the interview while it is all still fresh in your mind. After the 5th candidate the details will start to merge together in your mind, written notes will ensure accuracy.

Gain perspective

Have more than one person conduct the interviews, having a two or three person panel will allow you to compare different perspectives and you will all pick up on different things giving a more well-rounded interpretation of the information. Make sure that wherever possible the same people conduct all of the interviews for ease of comparison and consistency between the candidates.

Sell your company

An interview is a two-way street. The best candidates have options and you want to be sure that they see you as an employer of choice. Tell them what is good about working for you and paint an attractive picture of what their working life could be like.

Leave a good impression

Always end the interview by telling the candidate what to expect next and how long they can expect to wait to hear from you. If there is going to be a delay in the decision making process while you are seeing other candidates or because a key decision maker is unavailable, tell them that. If you leave your candidates in the dark you risk them following the light straight to a competitor.

Struggling with the interview process? Give our friendly and knowledgeable team a call today to discuss your needs and put your recruiting in the hands of the experts – 03333 234 371.

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