Interviewing is an essential tool in your recruitment toolkit and probably one that most people are familiar with. However, with a few small steps you can take your interviews from good to great. Here are some simple things I recommend for making your interviews easier, less stressful and more effective.
Interviewing can be one of the most time-consuming stages in the recruitment process, so planning ahead is essential. As soon as you begin recruiting, establish who will be conducting interviews and when. Making sure interview times are locked in can help prevent delays in the recruitment process. Delays are not only frustrating for everyone involved, you also risk losing preferred candidates to employers who move more quickly. If you’re having multiple interview rounds, also make sure that everyone involved knows what is expected of them between rounds to keep things on track.
If you’re interviewing candidates as part of a panel or not, taking a few minutes to prepare is one of the best things you can do. No candidate likes to turn up to an interview where the interviewers don’t seem to have read their resume or can’t remember their name. However, preparing doesn’t need to be an onerous task. At a minimum, read the candidate’s resume and make a note of anything you’d like to know more about. If you can, also read their cover letter. It should give you an idea of why the candidate is interested in the role and how their experience meets what you’re looking for. One further step if you’re on an interview panel is to arrive a little early so you can discuss with your colleagues who will ask which questions. These suggestions may seem obvious, but a little preparation goes a long way.
Other pitfalls that, with a little planning, you can avoid relate to candidate confidentiality. Naturally, maintaining client confidentiality is crucial. So how do you achieve that when interviewing multiple candidates? One option is to avoid scheduling interviews back to back. This reduces the possibility of candidates meeting each other before or after their interviews. Another option is to have a separate waiting area for candidates. For example, at SULLIVAN Consulting our office space is designed with two separate areas. One area has a waiting space for candidates. The other has a boardroom. We find this especially useful for clients recruiting executive roles, so that we can facilitate a series of panel interviews without candidates crossing paths.
One final pitfall to consider is managing visitor books. Interviewing candidates close together may let the candidates signing in later see or guess who else has been interviewed. For this reason, I suggest taking steps to maintain the confidentiality of candidates who attend earlier interviews, however that is appropriate in your organisation. Ensuring confidentiality in these ways can strengthen your recruitment process and reassure candidates as well.
Sometimes you need an independent perspective. It could be as simple as having an observer in an interview. Or perhaps you would like feedback on interview questions or advice on conducting interviews. Partnering with a recruiter is an easy way to get access to the support you need. At SULLIVAN Consulting, we partner with you to tailor a recruitment process to your business objectives. Don’t have time to do first round interviews yourself? We can take care of them. Need a neutral location for panel interviews? Clients are welcome to use our boardroom. Whatever your preference, our flexible approach and unbundled options mean we can assist at any stage of recruitment. Just let us know what you need.
What is your current experience with interviewing as a recruitment tool? Do you find it painful, stressful or less effective than it could be? Planning ahead, preparing well, maintaining confidentiality and asking for assistance when you need it can help to make your interviewing experience a better one. If you want to know more about interviewing or how SULLIVAN Consulting can help your business make the most of your recruitment toolkit, feel free to get in touch.