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The Interview Process
The interview process is generally either instigated as a result of an employee moving on, an employee being internally promoted / transferred or the creation of a new role. Whichever is the case hiring a new recruit takes a lot of time, effort and coordination – compromising is not recommended!
There is no right or wrong way to recruit – different organisations have different processes, which work for them. An example is a media company will not generally adopt the same methodology as let’s say a financial institution.
OK, so as a line manager / director you have identified a need to recruit a new employee to join your team. It is of paramount importance you adopt the right mind-set as the “sales process” is a two-way thing – interviewees obviously are required to sell themselves and, in turn, you have to sell both yourself and the organisation. Traditionally the “power” has been with the interviewer / potential employer but if the hirer shows ambivalence, dis-interest or is guilty of lack of preparation the candidate is unlikely to want to pursue the opportunity. The recruiter should always be aware that, in the modern world, candidates have choices and ignoring this will be at your peril.
If as a line manager / director, you are in a position to obtain sign-off prior to the recruiting process commencing obtain it. Making a job offer subject to sign–off is not ideal especially if the sign-off takes some time to come through. The recruitment process is a roller-coaster of emotions for candidates without prolonging the process unnecessarily.
The Job Specification
Hugely important and often undertaken in a half-hearted manner. It is the first connection you have with the candidate. This is a document that can and should have a “wow factor” but more often than not is presented as a bland list of responsibilities / duties. The job specification should both sell the job and the company. Let’s start with the job – a concise list of responsibilities using “you” as the pronoun for candidates and “we” for the organisation. This gives the document the all important human touch. Do not use internal jargon as this means nothing to anybody apart from current and ex employees.
- The job title – We recommend that you use a generic, conventional job title as trying to be clever by, for example, using the title “Business Development Guru” will a) put off qualified candidates and b) be more easily searchable.
- List of responsibilities – Sure you need to list these, but in order to make a bland list of duties / responsibilities more interesting and appealing it might be an idea to incorporate outcomes, answerables, results and goals.
- The company – What does it do? Statistics e.g. how many employees, size, turnover etc. Also when founded, history, vision, values etc. What is the company’s style? What are the company’s USPs?
- Team structure and organigram plus who the role reports to.
- Why are you hiring?
- Salary range and benefits package - A well-being program, car-parking, health insurance etc.
- Role reversal – Read the definitive version of the job specification and ask yourself – “would I enthusiastically apply for this role?” – if so – great and if, not tweak it or scrap it and start again. There is no harm in getting input from colleagues.
Take time to assess the CVs you receive - if you are in doubt as to whether to invite a marginal candidate for interview you should do so – rejecting them at this stage could be your loss.
Potentially a nerve wracking experience for the candidate and not so for the interviewer. The interviewer should make the candidate feel at ease – gone are the days of intimidating candidates to judge how they handle the situation. In the modern workplace bullying and intimidation are so last century so why should the interview process be any different?
The candidate will have ensured they are on time, properly prepared and well turned out – you should do the same.
Explain the interview structure and how long you envisage the hiring process taking.
The style and methodology of interviewing will be different from company to company and there is “no one size fits all” solution. Some organisations advocate that potential employees should meet as many current members of staff as conceivably possible – whilst inclusiveness is, in some ways, to be applauded often a candidate can be put off from pursuing an opportunity if they meet a disenchanted current employee.
As human beings we are all guilty of judging on first impressions – against all your better instincts – don’t - you may be missing out on evaluating the candidate’s true worth.
Listen, as this will enable you to determine a candidate’s true competencies.
Invite the candidate to ask questions – if the candidate has no questions this should ring alarm bells especially with more senior employees. Inviting a candidate to ask questions is a stock interview question - one would expect a well prepared interviewee to ask some meaningful questions.
Whatever the style and methodology of interviewing is it is of paramount importance you leave the candidate (whether they are successful or not) with a positive lasting memory of the interview experience and the company.
After The Interview
Communicate with the applicant / their agency with prompt and constructive feedback. If the candidate has been successful and is being considered to attend the next stage give them an indication as to time-scales / format etc. We often encounter the excuse that the potential employer is unable to get back to a candidate because the hiring manager is on holiday / travelling etc. – this does not wash in a world where communicating has become so ridiculously easy.
The interview process is a reflection of both you and the company you represent - you are an ambassador. Always be professional, approachable, communicate honestly and make honest and constructive evaluations.
I hope you have found this article of interest and useful – any comments would be gratefully received – many thanks and all the best Philip.
This blog piece was written by Philip Macdonald, Co-Founder at Wade Macdonald.