The majority of employers say that the interview is the most important part of the hiring process. During the current climate, your time is so precious and for each job that you advertised, you will no doubt have more applications that you anticipated, which means that when it comes down to the interview, you should be fully prepared and know exactly what you want to find out from each candidate in order to find the best talent around.

There are a variety of factors to think about before you start interviewing candidates for your vacancy.

What style of the interview are you going to do?

Will you go for a structured competency style interview where you have pre set questions that you will score the candidate against, or a more informal talk through their CV, asking relevant questions as you go along? Both of these styles work as long as you are prepared and plan your questions and interview technique beforehand.

Who will conduct the interview?

Working out who will be present in each interview will help you plan what their roles will be. Will it be the team manager, a member of HR, the director etc? My advice is to have two people in an interview as you will be able to discuss both of your opinions of each candidate, Each person will pick up on different things from the interview so this will enable you to have a balanced view.

How long should each interview last?

When planning your interview slots you want to think about timings and your availability. The average length of time is around 30-45mins for a non-management role and around 1 hour – 1.5 hours for a senior level role. Take into consideration if you want them all to be conducted on one day or split across a few different days. Be mindful that the longer the process takes, the more likely you are to start losing candidates to other interviews.

Where will you hold the interview?

Think about a private space that you can use freely where you will not be interrupted. Do you need to book a board room or go to separate venue offsite?

What documents should you prepare?

You would expect the candidate to prepare for their interview and so should you. Make sure that you have printed out the candidates CV, covering letter and the job description. Read them and make notes before hand along with any specific questions you would like to ask and get clarity on.

Do you know what questions to ask?

You should never go into an interview without having your main questions prepared. You may find that as things progress, other questions come out, but make sure you have a structure of what you want to find out at the very least.

  • You should prepare questions relating to the job description, skills needed and company values that are structured around their CV and experience.
  • You should also ask questions that will enable you to find out about their personality, behaviours and attitude to work.
  • You should also find out why your job is the one that they want, why they want to work for your business and what preparation they have done.

If you are conducting a competency style interview then your questions should be asked in a way that requires an answer with an example i.e “Can you tell me a time when you dealt with a difficult customer?” .

When the interview starts, most candidates will be extremely nervous, so try and put them at ease by introducing yourself and your colleague, and giving them an overview of what they should expect within the interview and timescale.

Once you have completed the first stage of interviews, you should then go through the whole process again to prepare for your second stage……

  • Who do you want to see again?
  • What do you want to gain from the interview?
  • What is the purpose?
  • Who will conduct the interview?
  • What questions do you want to ask?
  • Will there be any assessments?

After all of the interviews have been conducted, it is very important to let all candidates know your decision and feedback as as soon as possible. This will showcase your business in a positive light to all candidates who may then in turn, speak positively about your company to friends and family, which will result in referrals in the future. It all helps towards your positive employer branding. Any negative feedback could hinder your chances of recruiting in the future and also effect your ability to attract top talent.

If you use an agency, then they are there to support your recruitment process, take a lot of the time pressure and preparation away from you, as well as being there to promote your employer branding. From sifting through all applications, sourcing their own candidates who would be the right culture fit as well as coordinating the whole process for you. They will be there to maintain contact with every candidate at every stage, keeping them informed and giving feedback.

A good recruitment agency should be able to work along side your own recruitment process and strategy and understand your needs every step of the way to work in partnership with you.

We have a team of experienced consultants who are here to support you with your recruitment needs. To find out more about how we can help, please click here or call the office on 01723 313505.