Interviewing potential recruits has never been the easiest job, but when you’re a manager, it’s an unavoidable part of yours. You need to be sure you choose the best people to take to that stage, ask the right questions once they get there, and most importantly, hire the right person for the job. Because that’s sometimes easier said than done, I am sharing some of their top tips with you.
1. Things that made a candidate stand out in their CV
The first step to conducting a successful interview is selecting the right interviewees in the first place. When looking at CVs, consider:
Personal profile: This can be the most telling part of any CV as it gives you a good idea of how the candidate sees themselves. If they sound confident, passionate and knowledgeable, and can communicate that clearly, you could be on to a winner
Achievements and responsibilities: if achievements are highlighted alongside a list of responsibilities, you know that you’re dealing with someone who can clearly quantify (and understand) what they bring to a role
Work history: long-term employment can indicate high levels of commitment and dedication. However, don’t write someone off on the basis of shorter projects; they may have gleaned a variety of skills in a number of areas
Relevance:the main thing to keep in mind when looking at any CV is whether the skills and experience listed are relevant to the role being applied for. Transferable skills are not to be sniffed at, but if there’s nothing of any relevance, you may need to think again
Format: If a CV is clearly formatted and easy to read, it suggests that the candidate takes pride in their work, cares about how it will be received, and wants to make a great first impression
2. What to look for in candidates: seeing beyond the grades
Academic achievements can be a great indicator of someone’s intellectual prowess, along with how hard they’re willing to work. Having said that, it’s also incredibly important to think about what else they’ve got going for them, such as:
Job history (What’s their skill set? What experience has the candidate gained in previous roles?)
Achievements and goals (How successful have they been in previous roles? Have they earned bonuses or been rewarded for hard work?)
Hobbies and interests (What drives them to work hard?)
Personality (Do they have the right attitude towards work? Are they positive?)
Enthusiasm (Are they genuinely interested in the role? Will they bring drive and enthusiasm to the team?)
3. How to select the best candidate for the job
The aim of any interview is to find the best person for the job: someone with the skills to take your team to the next level; someone who will fit in well with the company culture; someone who can get the job done, and make it their own. But how exactly do you find them?
Conduct a Competency Based Interview (CBI): Competency Based Interviews are incredibly useful for painting a pretty accurate picture of a candidate’s capabilities. When choosing your questions, try to reflect the role they’re interviewing for, as this will allow you to test how they’ve dealt with similar situations in the past
If you’re torn between multiple candidates, select the top two and conduct a 2nd interview, asking a colleague to sit in with you — after all, two heads are often better than one
Go with your instincts: in our experience, gut feelings are usually right, so don’t be afraid of listening to your instincts (even if you’re not sure why you’re drawn to one candidate more than another)
When you’re trying to make your mind up about a particular candidate, ask yourself whether the role fulfils their needs (will it challenge them, give them the chance to progress, and offer the money and recognition they’re after?) If so, they will be far less likely to leave in the future
Sometimes, the deciding factor can be how well someone will fit into the existing team; so ask yourself whether the candidate shares similar values and beliefs to the people they’ll be working with, and the organisation at large
4. The best questions to ask at the end of an interview
Once the interview comes to an end, you should always give the candidate a chance to ask any questions that may have sprung to mind during the interview process. It’s also a good opportunity to find out how your interviewee feels about the role, their suitability, and the company they could be working for. As a general guide, we think the following five questions are the best way to close an interview:
Do you have any questions for me?
What impression do you now have of the company, and the role you’re applying for?
Can you summarise why you think you are the right person for the job?
What are your salary expectations?
If successful, when are you available to start?