Let’s face it: hiring a bad candidate is often worse than hiring no candidate at all. Having the wrong person in a role can have serious effects on your business.
In fact, Australian employers admit that 44 percent of their hires are bad. This can lead to lower morale, a drain on the business’ productivity, and reputation damage. Choosing an inadequate hire doesn’t come cheaply either — 41 percent of companies surveyed in one study said just one bad hire cost them over $25,000. Another 25 percent admitted that a bad hire has cost more than $50,000.
Interviews are your opportunity to suss out the mediocre candidates from the exceptional ones. But too often, a lack of knowledge on conducting an interview effectively, not asking the right questions, or being ”too busy” means the wrong candidates are slipping through the cracks.
These 20 tips will help you get the right information and make the most out of your limited time to ensure you’re hiring people who are a professional and cultural fit for your business.
Before the interview
1. When booking in the meeting, provide the office address, closest car park or public transportation, interviewer(s) details, who to ask for upon arrival, and any documentation/portfolio/examples of work that the candidate is required to bring.
2. Have two or three people attend the interview. One of you may miss an important piece of information. Having a second or third opinion can also help speed up the decision-making process.
3. Ideally, interview the applicant face to face. It gives them a realistic idea of travel time to the office and your company’s physical working environment. As the interviewer, it’ll also give you a better idea of their attitude, behaviour, and cultural fit.
4. Try your best not to reschedule the interview or send a colleague on your behalf. Whilst you might be busy, this is likely to leave the candidate with the impression that their employment is not a priority for you.
5. If you’re meeting with multiple candidates, allot enough time between interviews in case one runs over. It’s awkward for all parties when interviewees pass each other in reception.
6. Do your research! Read the applicant’s CV and to familiarise yourself with their background. You’d be surprised how many interviewers walk into a meeting and waste the first few minutes familiarising themselves with who they are interviewing.
7. Prepare questions in advance. The majority of questions should be based around the role, but be sure to include behavioural ones as well. List the attributes of your ideal candidate and use it to construct relevant questions that will establish whether the interviewee is an appropriate match.
8. Use the candidate’s CV to come up with additional, bespoke questions that provide insight about the candidate’s personality, values, and interests. Without getting too personal, you want to draw out information to make sure they’re the right fit for the job.
During the interview
9. Appreciate that the candidate might be anxious – interviewing is nerve-wracking. Introduce yourself with a smile so they feel welcome. One of the main purposes of conducting an interview is to uncover attitude, values, and fit within your team. If they’re nervous, you may not get an accurate understanding of their personality. Your goal is to make the candidate comfortable for a productive, professional conversation.
10. At the beginning of the interview, let the candidate know the structure of the interview and that you’ll be taking detailed notes, but will still be listening to them.
11. Don’t make assumptions. If you don’t understand an answer, dig deeper or rephrase the question for a clearer answer.
12. Try not to anticipate answers. Make sure you’re an effective listener and allow the candidate time to speak and elaborate on answers. You’ve got two ears and one mouth. Use them accordingly.
13. If the interview is going well, spend time selling the role and organisation. An interview is just as much about the candidate deciding whether the job is right for them. Highlight the benefits of working for your company and the position they’re interviewing for. Let them know about upcoming projects, benefits to their career, and give an honest picture of what the organisation is like.
14. After you’ve finished your questions, reciprocate and ask the candidate if they have any – and then be prepared to answer them thoroughly and truthfully. Sugar-coating responses can only lead to trouble down the road.
15. When concluding the interview, summarise the next steps and confirm when they should expect feedback.
After the interview
16. Immediately after the interview, discuss feedback with panel members whilst the meeting and candidate are fresh in your minds.
17. Think about your company’s work environment and compare it to the candidate’s orientation. Are they a long-term planner or a short-term thinker? Are they collaborative or do they prefer working independently?
18. Conduct reference checks or get your recruiter to complete them on your behalf. Be sure that the references aren’t peers, but people who supervised the candidate in a recent, relevant role, so they can provide accurate feedback on work experience and performance.
19. Stick to agreed time frames as closely as possible. If it turns out they can’t be met, communicate with the candidate and keep them in the loop.
20. Give the bad news as well as the good news. Even if the person is unsuccessful in securing the position, you want to make sure their experience is as positive as possible. Ensure that unsuccessful candidates are advised in a timely manner, you never know when you might cross professional paths again.