The interview process

Guy Moreton, director of MorePeople discusses the key steps in the interview process.

The interview, in my opinion, is the most important part of the process; handled correctly even a candidate who is not quite right for the role will leave with a really positive impression of you and the business, but also you will have learnt something from the exercise that will benefit your business.

Once a candidate has been short listed for interview they need to be invited in as soon as possible, so as not to lose momentum or their interest.

Good candidates will more than likely have other opportunities and will not necessarily wait for you, therefore you must get on with it ASAP.

Either call or email the candidate with a polite invitation and some possible dates and try not to be demanding or use a ?take it or leave it? style ? be accommodating and when they have confirmed their attendance, write again with directions and any pre-interview requests as well as the names and titles of the interviewing personnel.

Unless the meeting is very confidential (in which case the first meeting should be off site) I would advise that the person on reception or anyone that they are likely to meet at the ?front desk? is aware that someone is coming for an interview; this will give a good impression to the candidate that they are expected. Offering tea or coffee depends on the level of the role and the time you think the interview will take.

We only recruit salaried roles, generally at managerial level and as a matter of routine I recommend my clients offer refreshments during any managerial interviews as it demonstrates warmth and interest and helps keep the first meeting relatively relaxed.

I would also advise that the refreshments are served right at the start of the meeting.

The interview structure will vary depending on the role and whether the meeting is a first or second meeting but I advise clients to keep the first meeting at managerial level as informal as possible. You need to sell the business to a good candidate and, whatever the outcome, you want the person to leave with a good feeling about your company. It is so easy to manage perceptions properly ? just treat the candidate how you would like to be treated in similar circumstances.

I suggest that the client starts the interview with an introduction to themselves and to anyone else in the meeting and talk about the company history and a bit of background. This helps to set the scene and allows the candidate to relax after what is likely to be an apprehensive start.

Then ask the candidate to talk about themselves ? ask them to chat through their CV and, if you like, ask questions as you go. This method is effective because you can keep the candidate moving forward at the pace you want by managing them with questions such as ?Why did you leave that company?? or ?What motivated you to move on?? etc. You may also ask them questions that centre on what they did in the role that was ?beyond the specification? and how they would add value to your business.

For example, if they say that turnover doubled during the time they were at their last place of?work, you could ask about what they did to affect that increase, then probe the answers using more questions.

You must be mindful, of course, that there are certain questions and areas of discussion that are a ?nogo? during any interview; it is inappropriate to ask about religion, family circumstances or about age or race, and you need to make notes to support any decision that you arrive on as a consequence of the interview.

You are after the right person for your business and the selection starts with a great and thorough first face to face interview.

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