• November 29, 2018

How to Interview

How to Interview

640 230 Jenine Rees

Interviewing is just one part of the hiring process and can mean the difference between securing or losing you the best candidate if not done well.  It’s not uncommon for a manager to find themselves in a position of recruiting into their team for the first time, to have no previous experience of interviewing (other than being on the receiving end themselves) and to have had no formal training in interview techniques.  Not only could your organisation be missing out on some of the best candidates, we have met with some excellent candidates that have not been able to secure their ideal role because of a poor interview process where they’ve not been asked the right questions to evidence their skills and attributes.

We’ve outlined a few pointers to help you avoid the pitfalls and secure the best candidates for your team.

At the beginning of the process it’s key to involve all key stakeholders and agree on the person specification, skills and personal qualities of the person you are looking for.  At this stage it’s important to consider and agree an interview structure to steer you away from any drawbacks further down the process.

Like any meeting, the preparation is key, so decide how important the skills of the candidate are and how these are balanced with personality and soft skills.  For example;

  • Are there any skills that are essential?
  • Are you looking for someone that is already qualified or part qualified?
  • Will they need to step straight into the role or are you looking for someone to train and grow into the role?
  • Will you consider offering study leave or flexible working to accommodate a wider candidate pool?
  • How flexible will you be around competency skills vs personality and soft skills and what’s your ideal balance or preference?

At the beginning of any interview make the candidate feel welcome and set them at ease – you will get a far better understanding of them if they are relaxed and themselves. It’s important to ask the candidate early on in the process, what it is they are looking for in the role and why they have applied?  This information will be invaluable to you as the interviewer!  Any good candidate may have other offers already on the table but armed with these details you’ll be able to “sell” your organisation to them later on, matching their wants to what you can offer – career progression, flexibility, benefits, travel, location etc it’ll give you a greater chance of securing your preferred candidate.

Have a pre-prepared set of competency questions to ask as well as other questions based around each of the individual’s CVs.  Some candidates can be quite succinct in their answers and not give much away which won’t give you much insight into their personality or experiences – this is where a practised interviewer can really benefit your process as they’ll be able to ask open investigative questions to coax out all the information you’re after.

Decide how many people will be interviewing – this can often depend on the position, but can be an advantage to have two or more people on the panel; one person to ask the key questions, the other asking the more open searching questions and making notes.

At the end of the interview always ask the candidate if they have any questions about the role or your organisation and this is time for you to address any areas that may be missing in the candidate’s CV or answers that may be missing. Using scenario-based questions will often help give you the answers you are hoping for.  (“how would you deal with this situation…etc.”) And finally, you can summarise by going over what they are looking for in the role and how your organisation or the position will be able to offer them what they are looking for.

The demand for good candidates is rising all the time and the best candidates don’t often come on to the market.  Working with experts in your market will give you access to the best.  At Robertson Bell our specialist teams work within their chosen markets focusing in finance, fundraising, IT, Procurement and HR recruitment for the charity and wider not for profit and public sectors including Central and Local Government and NHS.  The teams speak daily to candidates and clients which keeps them on top of market changes and trends and helps them to develop their relationships with the best candidates.

The success of a recruitment campaign can often depend on speed which was why we introduced In-Sight our video interview tool kit for our customers this year.  This has proved to be hugely successful for both clients and candidates cutting interview times by around 75% and reducing overall time to hire process by 57%.

Once the interviews are over it’s also important to give feedback to all the candidates as quickly as possible, whether they have been successful or not.  Managing the offer process also takes skill and practice!

If you would like to speak to one of our specialist team please contact 0203 824 7100 or for more information about In-Sight please contact Mark Pryor on 0203 824 7110 for a demonstration.