Getting the most out of a 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
* Reasons for leaving previous employment
* Candidate expectations
Answers to specific questions (such as competency based
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”
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
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.