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Interview Success : A Brief Guide For HR

Posted by Kate Smedley on 14 Dec 2016

Hiring intentions in the UK have reached a three year high, putting the pressure firmly on HR to ensure a flawless recruitment process. Conducting an effective and positive interview is central to achieving this but, for HR, it isn't as straightforward as it might seem. 

According to research[1]:-

  • 33% of hiring managers are engaged in the hiring process.
  • 41% are not good interviewers.
  • 42% have had no interview training.
  • 72% of hiring decisions are based on the interview.

Candidates who ‘suffer’ at the hands of unprepared and inexperienced hiring managers will vent their frustration online, impacting your employer brand and ability to attract qualified candidates. Here’s our advice.

What types of questions should you be asking?

With the expanse of interview advice available online, today’s talent is well rehearsed and prepared for most questions, making the final selection sometimes difficult to call. Does that mean the surprise question still exists? Writing in the Harvard Business Review, John Sullivan thinks not. He suggests that factors which have traditionally been relied upon for candidate assessment are no longer effective. These include ‘brainteasers’ and meeting more than four interviewers. He also comments that educational background and grades are no guarantee of a successful hire.

That doesn’t mean you should rush to tear up your traditional interview methods. For example, Google’s structured interview process includes a combination of behavioural and situational based questions, supported by online assessments to evaluate cognitive ability, conscientious and leadership.

Instead, consider incorporating different types of questions. Dr Sullivan recommends the following:-

  • Remove the obvious : Questions such as ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ and ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ should be avoided.
  • Restrict behavioural questions : The way in which a candidate performed in their job five years ago is likely to be far less relevant in today’s rapidly changing workplace.
  • Adopt a ‘job content’ approach : Make it relevant to your vacancy. Ask candidates to outline how they would solve a challenge specific to the role as it stands, for example.  
  • Anticipating the future : This might include questions which require candidates to forecast potential changes in the industry or outline their strategy for success in their first six months of employment.

Four interview rules for hiring managers

Don’t underestimate the competitive nature of today’s jobs market. Nearly two thirds of candidates will accept a job offer yet continue their search. The experience during the interview will influence their final decision making process. With many hiring managers lacking interview experience or training, the guidelines below should be a given for every interview:-

Be prepared : Review each candidate’s CV prior to the interview to prepare questions based on their individual skills and experience. Don’t begin reading their application during the interview itself and don’t repeat basic questions already covered during the screening process.

Show respect : Block the time out in your calendar and set your mobile to silent. Don’t send e-mails on your laptop or take calls during the interview unless it is a genuine emergency.

Familiarise yourself with the job description : Only one third of hiring managers are engaged with the recruiting process. Make the effort to read the job description and understand exactly what the key performance objectives and critical skills are for this job.

Focus on the candidate : The purpose of the interview is to get to know the person behind the CV.  Whether or not you hire them and regardless of whether you think they are a good fit for the job, your focus should be on them, not you.

In essence, hiring managers should prepare for the interview with the same attention to detail they expect from their candidates.

Responding to a rejected job offer

Rejected job offers are increasingly one of HR’s biggest challenges. Understanding why your offer is declined enables you to improve your candidate experience and job offer to acceptance ratio. Introduce a process that obtains feedback from all candidates, but specifically those who turned down your job offer. Factors affecting their decision may include:-

  • Job offer, title, salary, benefits and location.
  • A distracted hiring manager, or a lack of knowledge about the position or candidate. Given the figures on interview experience above, this is possible.
  • A drawn out decision making process or too many interviews (a maximum of three is normally sufficient). Recruitment software helps to reduce hiring time.
  • A difficult choice between two or more job offers. In this situation, understanding what your competitor offered in terms of salary, culture, training and career development opportunities is critical.
  • Significant discrepancies in the advertised job post and the information provided at interview.

Not all candidates will feel comfortable providing negative feedback directly so a confidential feedback form shared via a third party may be the best option. Ensure questions are open-ended for the broadest response. Constructive feedback enables you as an employer to improve your candidate experience and your future job offer to acceptance ratio.

The role of technology

Making your final hiring decision solely on the basis of the interview raises the risk of a bad hire. A historical study found that the initial judgements of the hiring manager frequently determine the final outcome of the interview. These judgements, it suggests, are ‘useless’. The final decision should be the result of collaboration with the hiring team and/or peers, supported by data driven assessments and metrics to ensure objectivity. 

Incorporating HR technology has the advantage of reducing bias, while supporting the hiring process with a variety of functions, including faster hiring times, self scheduled interviews, online assessment and video screening. In today’s rapidly changing, candidate driven market, it is essential for hiring success.

Improve your interview success with world class recruitment software that helps you to hire better people faster. Talk to Advorto today.

For additional interview advice, please refer to Hiring Solutions : 6 Ways To Avoid ‘Death By Interview’

You might also like to read:-

Talent Acquisition : 10 Steps To Ensure Your Job Offer Is Accepted

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Topics: talent engagement

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