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Do you fail your candidates at interview?

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Unless you have been trained in interview techniques (and sometimes even after this), you may find that interviews can be an awkward environment.  It’s a little bit like that first date.  Both parties are out to impress, show that they are the best thing since sliced bread and that the search for the special one is over after this conversation.

Interviewing has changed over the 20 years or so that I’ve been recruiting staff.  Thankfully the days of asking people what planet in the solar system they resemble and why (yes, I was asked this one.  Strangely enough I got the job by saying “it’s life, Jim, but not as we know it”) have gone.  Hopefully so have the, “so where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time” type questions. No-one wins on this one, if they seem ambitious – you worry they won’t stay, if they say “still here” you think they’re a plodder and not ambitious enough.

It’s not about catching people out.  It should be about genuinely being interested in what they have to say.  That way you can ascertain if they will suit your organisation and your team.  Neither should it be about just recruiting “nice” people.  You may find yourself with a very stable, reliable team, but will you have the oomph when you need it?

During my interview training, I was told that the candidate should do 70% of the talking.  I feel to a greater extent that’s true, however, they should be saying something you feel is worth listening to and that’s up to which questions you ask.

I’m not talking about open or closed questions, or funnelling to get the right answer; I’m talking about the content, exploring their work history, examples of how they have dealt with situations, what have they liked about their previous companies, how have they spent any unemployed time?  No one likes to see gaps on CVs, but at Wote St we would rather advocate showing how you have spent your time rather than stretch dates to hide periods of unemployment.  After all, many work skills are honed in every day scenarios – does it matter where they were obtained as long as they can prove they have them.

So, where do you get your questioning technique from?  There are several sources that can help – have someone impartial help you such as a recruitment agency or HR consultancy; use a profiling tool that will help you understand their work style and as ours does, even suggest questions; have an open and honest, two way discussion.  You obviously have to stay away from potentially discriminatory questions, but on the whole most people respect unbiased truths.

We believe that people who fail at interview can often be the ones that got away.  Think about interviews you have been to and know you could have managed better.  With our bespoke recruitment process for your company we can offer a whole host of tools including voice screening, job and candidate profiling, team profiling as well as the standard advertising, CV sifting etc.  We can even help out with interviews by observing or even conducting them on your behalf.

Don’t let the good ones get away just because a 30 minute conversation didn’t go according to plan!

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