The interview is the most important part of the recruiting process. People are much more complex than a list of qualifications, and even if someone has a very impressive CV, they may not be suitable for the particular culture of your company. While people don’t have to be best friends to work together, you will struggle to retain expertise in the long term if you don’t use interviews effectively to find people who are right for your company.
Cathy Holley recommends discussing career aspirations – “what would the perfect role look like for you?”. But before you can begin running interviews, you need to prepare.
Planning an Interview
Make sure you know what you are looking for in a candidate: not merely the qualifications they have, but the qualities they possess, and key experience. This needs to be quantifiable: think about as if you are approaching a yearly appraisal, setting SMART targets. You might start from the position of wanting an outstanding account manager, but you need to be able to define what an outstanding account manager is to you, specifically. Think about your clients, your other employees, and the needs of your business.
When you know what you’re looking for, you can decide how you can measure it: which questions will elicit the information you need, and if you want to include any skill tests or roleplays.
You may have acquired contacts you’ll wish to reach out to if you have a particular vacancy to fill, but it can be wise to seek assistance from specialist firms like Savannah Search, who can funnel hand picked applicants with the skills you need to your hiring manager, which makes the process of picking applications for a short list much more efficient. Another advantage in the initial stages is to use software to check CVs and applications for keywords indicating candidates have the skills you’re looking for.
Explain the Process
It’s important to be up front with your candidates. When you have a shortlist, explain to them the form the interview will take, if there will be any tests or exercises, and the areas you will focus on. This will allow candidates to give their best on the day.
If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to run a productive interview that gets you the best possible employee for the job.
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