Getting the right person, in part, depends on having positive interview experiences with your preferred candidates. Do not underestimate the impact of a well-planned interview/interview process. The good candidates will not.
Just look on the Internet at the number of pages dedicated to giving advice to the interviewee. It is just good sense to go the extra mile to ensure that the process and the final result are just what you are looking for.
1. Get it right in the first place
If the position is a new one, make sure that all stakeholders are agreed as to how the position will fit within the company’s priorities. Revisit the job description and re-examine how the skills, knowledge and abilities fit your company’s business and operating priorities. If you are sure about what you want, you are more likely to identify professionals who fit the bill.
If the position fills a vacancy, you need to ask some hard questions:
• What aspect of the job/role did the prior employee find rewarding and challenging?
• How has the job/role changed since the last appointment?
2. Use the same criteria to evaluate candidates
Before the interviews, be clear on the skills/behaviours/priorities most important for success. Then, evaluate all candidates against your checklist. When asking all candidates similar questions, you can compare their responses more precisely. Control the interview agenda.
3. Ask relevant questions
With regard to questions on your checklist, ask probing questions. Your job is to get to know each candidate as well as you can. Chances are your candidates will prepare well. They will have reviewed the Web, read your literature and have a working familiarity with your operations. Use your questions to figure out which candidates are responding in a rote fashion and which are thinking critically about the challenges you face.
4. Sell your company
You want to sell the right candidates on your company. Get them to leave feeling excited by your challenges and encouraged by your achievements.
Sometimes, by asking a few key questions, you can come up with a list of company attributes worth mentioning:
• What is your company’s most significant strength?
• Has the company been featured in the news in a positive way?
• Do you have any marketing brochures or other publicity materials you can share with candidates?
• What distinguishes your company from others in its industry?
• What career success stories has your company sponsored/developed?
• What kinds of professionals excel in your operating environment?
5. Listen and watch carefully
Most candidates will tell you who they are. That is, if you are listening and not talking all the time. The airtime in the interview should be filled by the candidate speaking – NOT you. Listen to tone, word choice and delivery. They can often tell you more of the ‘music’ behind the message than the words. Body Language is important too. Observe what the candidate is ‘saying’ at this non-verbal level.
6. Follow up with good candidates who don’t get the job offer
When you have run an effective and well-planned recruitment drive, you will have identified a number of talented potential employees. Keep in touch with all of them. Send them brief updates from time-to-time. Keep them in the loop. You never know when you may need to contact them again.
7. Keep the time between interviews and offer short
Have an effective and well-planned offer-and-acceptance process in place. That way, you can minimise delays in getting the ‘right’ person into place quickly.
8. Treat your new employee with respect
Once a candidate accepts an offer, keep in touch. From the moment they say ‘YES’ to the job offer they must feel part of the company –and should be treated as such. Ensure an effective ‘Welcome to the company’ process in place – and I do not mean just all of the usual ‘mechanisms’ of the job. But also the emotional and cultural aspects need to be managed or else they will go as quickly as they arrived.
About the author: Dave Stent is an Associate of the McQuaig Psychometric System (distributed by Holst). Dave is also a Chartered Member of the CIPD. To contact Dave email firstname.lastname@example.org
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