Employers: Time to Look at your Interview Process?

Business coaches and troubleshooters regularly report how little thought far too many businesses give to their recruitment.

This is all the more puzzling when you consider that recruitment is expensive and time-consuming, and that hiring the wrong person can cost you far more than the cost of locating a replacement.

Poor staff selection can result in less new business, the loss of existing customers, and can damage your reputation and finances in the medium to long term, so it is only sensible to do everything you can to get the recruitment process right the first time.

The first thing to grasp is that for most of the traditional recruitment process you are reliant on information from a biased source - the person wanting the job. It's easy to exaggerate or misrepresent on a CV, most LinkedIn recommendations cannot be trusted, and even references can be unreliable.

So it makes sense to do three things:

  • ONE - use an experienced recruitment consultant that specialises in your market;
  • TWO - get involved in interviews yourself (or at least sit in on them); and
  • THREE - have a serious think about reviewing your interview process.

Don't just have one interview

Once you have your candidate shortlist you should be holding at least two interviews. You might think that you've found the right person within a few minutes sometimes - and you could be right - but it doesn't hurt to make sure.

Look for aptitude and potential

It is slowly starting to be accepted that Q&A sessions are not the best indicator of ability, just as qualifications and experience are not always the best indicator of skill. Work on devising an interview format that allows candidates to demonstrate the qualities you're looking for rather than talking about them. So think about aptitude-based tests, role plays and other practical exercises (more on this below) - a simple change that will yield far better results.

Turn up the heat

Put your interviewees under some pressure and see how they react. It's a safe bet that the role involves at least some stress and is demanding, so try to re-create some of that for them during the selection process. However, do start interviews off slowly and calmly to give them a chance to feel relaxed and confident before you do this.

Assess them in the workplace, with other people

Once you have your final few candidates then get them into the real work environment and give them something 'hands-on' to do. Remember that your new employee will be part of a team, so try to determine how they will fit in. Devise and supervise group exercises and watch how your candidates interact with each other and your existing employees.

Get them in a social setting

Selection processes that involve meals or other social settings give you another opportunity to see how your candidate interacts with others. You're trying to see the real person behind the 'interview personality' that everyone projects at least a little bit - and you might be surprised what you find out.

Sell them your company and its culture

To now, it's all been about what you expect from them. But you need to remember that YOU need to make a good impression too if you are to attract and retain the very best candidates. The job on offer might represent a promotion and a wage rise to your favourite candidate, but you need to show them that they are going to enjoy themselves too, or they might not be tempted away from a job in which they are already happy.

So don't forget that your candidates are assessing your business, from the first communication you send them to the greeting they get in your reception. Make them want your job and want to work for your company - EVEN if you know you're not going to hire them. You may cross paths in the future, and you always want them to remember you and recommend people to you. Finally...

Don't be afraid to hire people who are better than you

Very few people are experts in everything, and most of us have areas in which we are weaker than others. So this is a little appeal to your ego: know yourself and your own limitations, and look to build a team that together excels in all areas. You'll build a better business.

Here at PRFutures we can help with all aspects of the recruitment process - please call Justyne on 0203 303 0476.