Tips: Interviewing And Selecting Candidates

Tips: Interviewing and Selecting Candidates

With the coronavirus raging through the UK and the country on lockdown, interviewing candidates on a face to face basis is impossible.  However, many of the tips mentioned here can help you create an effective online video interview.  

Once you’ve written your job description and turned it into a compelling job advert and attracted applicants it is now time to think about how you want to conduct the next part of the recruitment cycle; the interviewing and selection process. There are a number of ways to approach this to ensure you collect all the relevant information in order to make a successful hire. We’ve covered some of the ways you might want to do this below:

Decide on your format of the interview

There are a number of formats of the interview you might want to adopt including telephone interviews, face-to-face interviews, panel interviews, and group interviews. You might want to do these in stages or you might just want to do one depending on your hiring needs.

A pre-interview or telephone interview is a quick and easy way to introduce yourself and gauge the applicants' communication skills and suitability. It doesn’t have to be a formal interview or comprise of interview questions, but it could help you whittle down your short list further if you find that the applicant isn’t demonstrating your desired attributes.

Face-to-face interviews are probably the most popular interview format. You can arrange it between the hiring manager and the interviewee or you can also invite other members of staff too such as people the applicant would be working with if successful or someone with extensive HR experience. Obviously the more people in the interview the more ‘panel-esque’ it becomes, but there are benefits of panel meetings in that the decision is collaborative and not autonomous, removing all elements of bias. Meeting people in the flesh is a great way to get to know your applicant, see how they present themselves, their mannerisms and of course, their suitability for the role.

Group interviews are also an option; this is interviewing multiple applicants at once. It’s a unique opportunity to see how the applicants react in a team whilst giving you an insight into where they fit in your company i.e. the leader, the introvert.

Pick an interview style

The style includes the kind of questions you’d like to ask and how you want to approach your applicant in order to attain the relevant information. This could be done in terms of asking a combination of biographical and competency questions.

Biographical questions ask about an applicant’s experience, education, future plans and areas such as their strengths and weaknesses.  Competency questions ask about previous situations and establish candidate behaviors in the context of the past. These questions can test specific competencies that are relevant to the job such as; skills, problem-solving abilities or team playing.  Some questions you could consider are; ‘tell me about a time when...’, ‘how did you deal with that situation’ “what was the outcome” and “What would you do different”. Asking questions about their experiences in the past will help give you an insight into how competent the applicant would be, in certain areas, in your company. This type of interview also lends itself to a scoring system which can be particularly useful if you have a number of applicants to interview.

You could also consider other methods to adapt to supplement your interviews such as role-play, psychometric tests and assessment tests which are all good ways of testing the skills of applicants in a relevant situation.

Selecting the ideal candidate

Having decided on the format and style of your interview, you can work on the final stage; selection. During your interview, you should try to keep a 20:80 structure where the applicant is doing the majority of the talking, after all, you want them to be selling themselves and giving you all the information you need to make a decision.

You might want to set them off on something they are confident talking about: Themselves!  Ask them to go over their CV and their previous relevant experience. Then you can start asking your interview questions (for tips on interview questions please see our previous blog here).  Try to find out what the applicant is looking for and their knowledge of the company before telling them what you want. But remember, it is important to sell yourself too, give them some background information on the company, let them know what kind of person you are looking for and talk about the job description to give them a clear idea of what the role entails. This would also be a good time to ask what their current notice period is, their salary expectations, etc. Be careful not to start discussing/negotiating their salary as not only can this take up more time during the interview but you may be overpromising too soon as they may not even be successful in securing the role.

End the interview by thanking them for their time and give them the opportunity to ask any questions they may have. You also should make an effort to manage their expectations by giving them an indication of when they can expect to hear back from with feedback or a decision.

It’s really important to communicate with your candidates at all stages in the recruitment process, including the applicants that are unsuccessful – for more information please see our tips on communicating with applicants here.

We hope you have found this blog insightful and useful when considering your interview process. There’s lots more to think about so keep posted on our website for more hints and tips to help you.

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If you are a job seeker, why not check out our job seeker blog