We remind our candidates daily, ‘Don’t forget to prepare!’. If they want the job, they need to show that they’ve completed their research by being able to talk intelligently about the role and business. It’s the same advice for you, hiring managers. If you’re looking to hire an executive assistant, for example, you’ll need to set up the hiring and interview process the right way. Doing so will pay dividends in ensuring a positive brand experience.
Prepare your interview questions ahead of time, craft these according to the key skills required of the role. In doing so, think carefully about both what you’re willing to train for and the skills you need to hire. Try and ask similar questions of all the interviewees so as to be able to compare responses.
If you’re a small business without an HR presence or formalised hiring policy and are looking for guidance on how to prepare to interview someone, our tips below may help you to have the right approach.
Make the candidate comfortable
To encourage the best possible candidate experience, try and make sure you’re meeting in as neutral and comfortable environment as possible. Rather than sitting on the other side of the desk or table, try sitting next to the candidate (if space permits!). This move, alongside open body language, will help set the tone of a meeting between equals. You’ll then be able to develop much more of a natural rapport which will give you a significantly more accurate steer on their potential to fit in culturally with the business and team. In a virtual interview, body language is still important – you don’t want to be fidgeting or looking away from the camera – this will unconsciously signal to the candidate that you’re not giving them your full attention.
Have the candidate meet with other staff
It’s important to know if the interviewee was rude to the receptionist. It’s equally important to consider everyone’s opinions to understand their responses to the candidate joining the team. It might well raise advantages or concerns you hadn’t previously considered. While you will want everyone to get on, be wary of hiring candidates with similar backgrounds and interests. A diverse team, after all, is more likely to produce fresh ideas, innovative approaches and ultimately, improved successes. When you ask yourself, what’s missing in this team, consider the possibilities a prospective employee might bring to the business rather than just filling a slot.
Have your budget prepared and approved in advance to avoid wasting time negotiating and risk losing a star candidate. While many hiring managers still argue, “if they like us, they’ll take it for less”, it’s sadly a little unrealistic in today’s market to do so.
Representing the brand
Even if the candidate isn’t successful, a positive experience with you will mean that they’re more likely to speak highly of the business. To help this positive experience along, try the following:
- Leave your stresses and negativity at the door
- Don’t be late
- Allow enough time in the interview for the candidate to ask all the questions they need to
- Listen (really listen) and don’t interrupt
Check your biases
We all have them, though we might not want to admit it. Consider your biases and be aware of them beforehand. These could include judgements about personal appearance, comparing them to the previous incumbent in the role, or even where they went to school. To avoid this, bring an objective colleague to the meeting and assess their suitability together afterwards.
Can we help you recruit your next permanent or temporary role? Get in touch with one of our specialist consultants today, or read our comprehensive interview guide for employers to find out more about best practice hiring.