Getting the most out of a job interview

job interview


Hiring new staff can be expensive and time-consuming, so it's important to get it right. You want to make sure you recruit the best person for the job; someone who’s a good fit for your organisation, so you're not facing continual turnover.

The following is list of common recruitment mistakes that we have observed.

1. Rushing the hire.
“I need someone yesterday” – is a statement we hear often. That’s understandable as recruiting is often reactive; the clock is ticking and workloads are building. Typically, recruitment campaigns for skilled roles can last 1-3 weeks so any opportunity you have to re-distribute tasks during this period (and any notice periods) will help alleviate pressure so you can make the right decision.

2. Relying too much on the interview.
Some candidates present better in interview than others, but they may not always be the most suitably skilled. Given there is only so much you can learn in one or two meetings (interviews), it’s important to look at the whole picture.

We can get a much better overall profile by taking all aspects into consideration, such as:

* Skill sets
* Previous and past performance
* Traits within the resume
* Reasons for leaving previous employment
* Testing
* Candidate expectations
* References
* Answers to specific questions (such as competency based questions).

Whilst all this may seem obvious, it is still very easy to be swayed by personality and make a decision based solely on the interview.

3. Not creating an accurate job description.
A clear and defined job description will help you brief the candidate, and help you and I better score a candidate’s skill sets. A clearly defined job description (not the advert) will provide clearer guidance to the candidate, and we can compare areas of strength and weakness, or surplus to requirements. Furthermore, a clearly defined job description often helps both pre- and post-recruitment.

4. Failing to advertise the role internally
Advertising positions internally benefits a company twofold – it offers opportunity to staff seeking change and opens up the possibility to tap into a referral network (i.e. friends and associates of employees). By offering an incentive such as a bonus, staff will go out of their way to promote the vacancy within their own wider network. It really does work.

5. Not conducting an Exit Interview
Exit interviews are a fantastic opportunity to gain insight into the positives within the job or company (or even management) and what may need addressing. The interview is best conducted by someone who is impartial. This intelligence should be used to consider how best to develop the culture of the company and to address any problems that may exist.

6. Waiting for the perfect candidate.
When a skilled team member leaves, it’s natural to want to retain the same level of competency. But how long should you wait for the perfect candidate? What’s more, will the perfect candidate find value moving in a like-for-like role? Often, the perfect candidate is someone who will grow into the position and develop skills over time. Consider your essential requirements from an applicant and culture fit. These can often outweigh waiting for an exact match.

7. Not having a standard interview format
Interviews should follow a standard procedure and format; ideally a minimum of 30 minutes for junior positions and 45 minutes to 1 hour plus for higher level roles. Having a set format will reap rewards. We have a whole section on “getting the most out of an interview” here.

8. Identifying your point of difference
Good quality candidates are attracted to good quality businesses, and employers need to consider what will entice someone to join their business. Knowing your point of difference will help manage expectations and will sway the right candidate. There are many variables here (not just the brand name or end product/service). Team environment, support, work/life balance, study…the options are endless. But never over promise and under deliver.

In our experience, a good candidate is an inquisitive one, and someone who is eager to sell their ability and find the right career to meet their needs. A good interviewer is someone who can deliver an unbiased interview, who is prepared for the interview, and is willing to look beyond the CV.