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Essential Interview Tips for Employers

06.10.2021

Essential Interview Tips for Employers

A company is only as good as the people it keeps and they will ultimately determine its success. In my mind, that makes recruitment the single most important business decision you will ever make and yet I regularly see firms leaving the entire process down to human interpretation.

As an interviewer, your goal is to match the candidate’s ambition, personality, and experience to the requirements of the job and business. The key is being able to tell the great people from the great talkers.

Every interviewer goes into a meeting with the best intentions, hoping to find the ideal person, but, in my experience, the most common mistakes are made when there is a lack of structure and consistency in the process.

One way to avoid this is to plan interviews so all candidates receive the same questions. Eliminating the likelihood of the conversation straying too far from the agenda is a proven way to increase reliability and compare candidates evenly. This will help you to be more accurate in your prediction of future job success.

When interviewing, the best candidates will be well prepared and trying to make a good impression. With their guard up, it’s your job to get under their skin and find out what they’re like.

Build a strong rapport from the start. If candidates trust you, they’ll relax and that will make it easier for you to dig into the detail of their answers and flow into topics they haven’t previously rehearsed.

This not only helps you to get a feel for their communication skills, but it uncovers potentially unseen aspects of their personality and behaviour, which is crucial to making sure they are the right fit for your business.

Try opening with a request for their personal and professional goals; and how they see the role fitting in with these.

Ask them to tell you about a situation that has brought out the best in them; giving examples and sharing the experience they feel makes them ideal for your company. Other behavioural questions could be: What attracted you to this role? What are your motivations? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Whatever you opt for, make sure you ask for details within the answers, as this is the best way to separate people who like to embellish the truth. Liars don’t like to get into specifics as they know they are more likely to get caught out. People telling the truth will be happy to drill deep as they are answering the questions honestly.

Once you’re happy that someone can do the job, move into uncharted waters. Ask about any mistakes they’ve made. This is a great test of self-awareness and will show the scope of which someone is willing to take ownership of their actions; and whether they learn from their errors.

I like to ask who the smartest person they know is (and why). By getting people to explain this you’ll not only find out about their networks, but also the values and personality traits they aspire towards.

Find out what it is that gets them out of bed on a weekend. People’s passions outside of work are critical to fitting in well to any team environment.

Are they entrepreneurial? Examples of innovative ideas they’ve put into practice will help you measure whether they’re a self-starter, commercially-minded, or have a healthy attitude towards calculated risk.

Of course, these are just a few examples to try and help you, but whatever you discuss, don’t forget that interviews are a chance to find out more for both parties. While you aim to work out what makes someone tick, they will most likely be doing the same to you, so make sure you give a good impression of your business.

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