Avoiding interview mistakes - seven tips for employers

Posted on 12 October 2017

Interviewing new staff is a skill most employers need to work on. If you get it right you will appoint the people who can be of benefit to your business and help it grow. Get it wrong and you could harm the future of your company.

With more than 20 years’ experience in the recruitment profession, Richard Powell, Bright Leaf People Director shares the following tips for employers interviewing prospective new staff.

1. Plan for success.

Preparation is the key. Before interviews read CVs and check candidates have appropriate experience and qualifications. Devise questions that will give interviewees the opportunity to demonstrate their experience and talents. If you are sharing the interviewing with a colleague plan who is going to ask which questions beforehand.

2.  Don’t risk the ‘Halo’ effect

If you let one positive element of a candidate’s performance overshadow everything else you run the risk of creating a ‘halo’ effect – an artificial image in which they can do nothing wrong. Be realistic. The ‘halo’ effect can have a powerful influence on impressions, create a bias and unfair competition between candidates, leading you to appoint the wrong person and ignore good candidates. 

3. Sell, sell sell

You should aim to ‘sell’ your company to potential new recruits. Promote the best bits of the job and get across the message that employment with you will help them step up the career ladder. Check that all the information you provide about your company is correct and that you come across as an honest employer.

4. Questions and answers

What do you want to find out about candidates? You will certainly want to ask them to provide evidence of work experience. Your style of questioning can be a mixture of open, closed and probing questions. Try not to use any jargon or confusing hypothetical and multiple questions.

5. Know your staffing requirements

You should start by assessing your staff requirements. Are you looking for experienced staff or new replacements? The job description should help you fit the right person to the role and avoid additional training costs.  Avoid automatically filling jobs "like for like" just because Doris did lots of jobs and looked very busy, it doesn't necessarily mean everything Doris was doing was efficient or indeed needed.  Is this a tome to reconsider job roles and duties?

6. Focus on the interview

Give interviewees your full attention. Find a quiet meeting room, prevent colleagues from interrupting you, re-direct phone calls while you are interviewing and don’t sit in front of your computer looking at emails. Ensure that the candidate takes priority while you are with them. 

7. Give candidates feedback

Keep candidates in the loop. Phone or email them to let them know how they performed in the interview, what your decision is and check that they are still interested in the position. Openly communicating with them in this way will establish respect, enhance your company’s reputation and help you attract the best person for the job.

“We all make mistakes sometimes and the recruitment world is as vulnerable as any other profession,” says Richard Powell. “What matters is that we learn from our mistakes as I have and avoid losing money, wasting valuable time and increasing workloads.  

If you need any advice on interviewing people or other aspects of recruitment please get in touch. Call 01422 433900 or go to our website www.brightleaf.co.uk” 

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