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The interview process

Having interviews for an open role isn’t the only thing that a recruiter needs to prepare for or consider.  We’ve put together a handy guide to follow to make sure interviews go as well as possible.

Before

  • Explain the process – By explaining the process of the interview you will help relax the candidate.  This will give you a better idea of what they’re really like.  Let them know the rough time frame and how many stages they should expect.
  • Explain the structure – Give the candidates plenty of time to get any information you request together before the interview.  This can be things like examples of work, exam certificates or online tests.
  • Give time – Time is the one thing that a lot of candidates might not have.  If they’re currently in work, getting time off at a current job can sometimes require a weeks notice.  Be flexible, request a time and date but be aware that even your best candidates might have restrictions on availability.

During

  • Don’t judge – It’s easy to judge people by first impressions.  It’s human nature.  But everyone knows someone who made a bad first impression and then went on to really surprise you.  Keep an eye out for the potential.
  • Tell them about the job – Although the job specifications have already been sent out to the candidate, it’s always a great to go through to the job in more depth.  Explain the structure of the department and company etc.
  • Listen – Talking too much will get your details across but you won’t get the information you really need.  Ask open questions using; What, Where, How and Why to force the candidate to elaborate on their answers.  If you’re not used to it, closed questions can come to mind really easily.  Don’t use; Are you, May I, Is this, Should I, Do you, Is it, Would you and many more.  Closed questions invite the candidate to answer yes or no.  You can always re-word a question halfway through, or add ‘and why?’ to the end of a closed question.
  • Take notes – Notes are always important.  A lot of recruiters will make notes directly onto the CV and cover letter, normally where they have already made notes before the interview.  Don’t make too many as you may miss things, but making sure to get the main points are important for you later on.
  • Be flexible – Having a good plan is important, it will help you structure the interview and keep it on point.  However, sticking to the plan can stifle the conversation.  Ask questions about what they’re talking about to keep the conversation going in the right direction.
  • Put them at ease – Interviews can be really stressful, especially for people new to work.  Meet and greet candidates, offer them a drink, escort them to the interview room and start off slow, maybe a few personal questions to help them relax.
  • Ask them to ask questions – No job specification is all-encompassing so there should always be questions off the back of this.  However, after a 40-minute interview, the candidate may have already heard the answers to pre-planned questions.  Don’t think that they don’t have any if they don’t ask them either, the stress of an interview does funny things to people.  Offer them a contact email address that they can send questions to afterwards.
  • Be legal – The most important part of the interview for the recruiter.  Being legal.  By only asking questions that relate directly to the job is a good way to reduce the risk of breaking the law.  If you’re not sure, it might be worth speaking to an expert with examples of what you want to ask and why.  We can help you better understand this here at i2i Recruitment.  Contact us below if you have a question.

After

  • Compare – Comparing your notes is vital.  You will be able to go through and determine which candidate is best suited for the role.  This can be especially vital if the interviews were quite spread out.  Notes will help bring the interview back to the front of your mind.
  • Contact – Contact with a potential candidate is always well received.  Be clear and honest about the next steps.  If they’re out of the running let them know as soon as possible.  Giving constructive feedback will help them in the future, but be subtle, especially if they interviewed badly.  If you need to see more people or have some time internally to discuss the current standings, then again, tell the candidates.  Not knowing is always worse than being told you need more time.
  • Question – If you want to, you can always ask the candidate for more information.  You can also ask them for a real-world example of work they would be doing.  For example, you can ask marketing candidates for a brief marketing plan, or a sales advisor to come up with a process to keep existing customers happy, or a written example of a complaint etc.

Remember, you are selling yourself to the candidate as much as the candidate is selling themselves to you.  A mutually beneficial relationship is always the best kind as both sides will feel great.  The interview process is a reflection of both you and the company.  You could have the best candidate, but if you don’t sell the role they may change their mind, and pretty quickly.

We can help you here at i2i Recruitment by pre-screening the candidates so that you get people more likely to be right for you.  We can use our experience and reach to get candidates that may not be available to you and are a great fit for both the role and company.  Get in touch today.