Interviews are still a major factor in most recruitment decisions. They have been brought into disrepute by the poor way many are conducted - in our opinion, interviews should normally be supported by additional assessment techniques (such as psychometric testing - click here to see more). The following hints and tips focus on interviewing techniques from the interviewer's perspective (click here to see it from the candidate's side):
The interviewer's objective is to:
1. Convey information about the company and the specific job requirements.
2. Assess the candidate's skills and experience against the job requirements.
3. Assess the candidate's personality and behaviour in terms of the cultural fit within the organisation.
4. Assess the candidate's potential for progression or diversification to other roles.
To achieve these objectives, an interview should be structured. Time should be taken beforehand to prepare documentation to be given out and questions to be asked. Each interviewee's details should also be studied to determine which areas are worthy of exploration.
An interview should not be a confrontation but an exchange of information by both parties. To be effective, interviewers should restrict their talking to about 30% of the time. When questioning, they should avoid closed questions (ie those that require only a yes/no answer).
A major problem are interviewers who decide within the first 4 minutes. We do register our first impressions, but we should be prepared to (and often do) change our minds by the end of the meeting.
Another danger area is interviewers being too judgmental or opinionated. At the simplest level, they may discriminate against particular types of shoes or colours of shirts. Alternatively, they may disregard a candidate merely because his or her opinion differs from their own on certain subjects. A degree of wisdom and maturity is required in interviewers so that they can accept that just possibly the candidate may be right on a given issue and they may be wrong.
A form of note taking is essential. Whilst continual writing during the interview can detract from the process, some form of notes should be maintained or, at the very least, completed immediately after the interview (a hint to leave gaps between interviews to allow this to be done!). Very few of us have eidetic (photographic) memories to recall every detail - particularly when a large number of people have been seen.
The impression the interviewer leaves on the candidate can have a profound effect - influencing their decision whether to proceed or not. Candidates should always be treated with courtesy and respect so they are made to feel that they are the only priority on the interviewer's mind at that time and should not be kept waiting.
Contact us now for more advice and guidance on interviewing and assessment techniques.