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 HR staff, 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.
If you’re asking yourself ‘how do you prepare to interview someone?’, your interview questions are a great place to start. Craft these ahead of time, 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 formalized hiring policy, our tips below may help to guide the right approach.
Assess a candidate’s resume against the job description to better prepare questions
Before even stepping into the room (or onto the video call), it’s essential to look at each candidate’s resume and formulate a few questions that speak directly to their skills and experience. For example, if a candidate has taken on managerial tasks in their previous role, by asking a question about their delegation or leadership skills, their answer may give you critical insight about how they work with a team (even if the role in question isn’t at a senior level).
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. Hiring 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.
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 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 judgments 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 guide on choosing the right candidate for the job to find out more about best practice hiring.