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6 things every interviewer needs to remember

Posted: 24 May 2017

During an interview, you might now argue that an employer needs to impress candidates as much as candidates need to impress the employer. After all, the best talent only wants to work for the best companies.

A recent survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that employers are increasingly upping pay offers to new recruits to secure the best talent amid a tightening labour market.

It is proof that employers are having to prove to candidates that they are a good organisation to work for. However, the offer of more money won’t have the desired effect if the interview process leaves candidates with a sour taste in their mouth.

If they sense that you are ill-prepared for their arrival on the day, or that your line of questioning is out of sync with their expectations, they may well turn down your offer.

So, you can’t afford to be complacent when it comes to interviewing. Whether you’re new to the role of interviewer, or are seasoned at questioning candidates, it helps to have a checklist to hand. These six points will help you create an impression that can’t fail to impress in-demand talent…

1. Set a reasonable interview time

Candidates have busy lives, too. They may be a parent that needs to get their child to school in the morning or travel a significant distance to get to the interview. For these candidates, setting an early interview time is like setting them up to fail.

Giving candidates a choice of interview times – based on your schedule, of course – will give them an opportunity to show you their best self on the day. Make sure you also give candidates reasonable time to prepare for the interview – setting the interview for the next day hardly gives them time to research your company as you would like them to.

2. Clear your schedule

When possible, try to clear your schedule on interview day. That way you won’t run the risk of leaving candidates waiting due to a meeting having overrun.

You wouldn’t view a candidate too kindly if they turned up late for an interview. Likewise, they will be put off if they have to wait an unreasonable amount of time for you to appear.

3. Do your research

It doesn’t hurt to get to know the candidates a little bit before they arrive in person. That will give you the opportunity to welcome them with a personal address – just showing that you know their current role or employer will show that you’ve taken an interest in their application.

4. Tailor your interview questions

Your interview questions should be slightly different for each candidate, based on their skills, experience and application. The main body of the questions themselves, though, will be largely the same, so you won’t have to spend hours coming up with entirely different sets.

5. Tell the office

Alerting the office that there will be interviews being conducted on a given day should prompt them to be on their best behaviour and to not bother you unless they absolutely need to. However, you don’t want the office to descend into silence if, on any other day, it is a hub of vibrancy. You want candidates to get a true representation of what the office is like, so sure, tell staff to be mindful, but otherwise just work as normal.

6. Be prepared to sell your company

The pool of talent in most industries is finite, i.e. there are fewer good candidates than there are jobs. So, be prepared to sell your company to prove to them that your organisation is better than the competition. Go into the interview armed with the facts and figures that show that your company is going places and can offer the progression, flexibility and benefits that today’s candidates crave. And talking of benefits, don’t forget to brush up on what your industry is paying with our marketing salary guides.

OK, you’re good to go. One last tip: try to put candidates at ease rather than on edge. Even if you want to see how they operate under pressure, it won’t pay to be overly aggressive or hostile in your approach. That will only serve to get candidates’ backs up, and even if you offer them the job, they might be so scarred from the interview experience that they turn it down. Now, where would that leave you?

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