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Get the most out of interviewing candidates


We appreciate that an interview gives you the opportunity to rate a shortlist of candidates against one another but consider this – in a candidate driven market you often need to sell your organisation too. Its becoming more important in Data and Analytics recruitment to create an engaging and professional experience for candidates to ensure your organisation passes their interview too!

So what is the best way to get the most from your interviews in a candidate driven marketplace?

Have a consistent set of benchmarks

Use the right type of questions

Consider the STAR technique

Be considerate with your timing

Sell the role!

Have a consistent set of benchmarks

Use objective measures and work to a set interview format – this will ensure that whoever conducts the interview, the information obtained will be consistent

Develop a set of questions that are asked in each interview, Competency Based Interviewing is commonplace nowadays. This method gives structure to an interview which benefits both you and the candidate.

Try to keep the number of interviews per candidate to a minimum. Only in special circumstances should you add additional interviews into a particular candidates recruitment process – but avoid this wherever possible.

Use the right type of questions

Use questions that will delve into an individual’s ability to do the role, not information that could wrongly influence your decision. Using competency based questioning helps to avoid subjective views having an impact on your decision. Have a scoring sheet to mark candidates against the key attributes that are important to the specific role and business will help.

  1. Consider how they match up against your company values

  2. Do they have experience of working on similar or transferable projects?

  3. Do they have the required level of SAS or SQL for this role?

Consider the STAR technique

Another type of interview technique is STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) which again ensures you obtain all the relevant information about a specific capability that the role requires.  As well as giving structure to the interview, which is good for the candidate, this format is said to give a good insight into future on-the-job performance, for example:

  • Situation:  Candidate is asked to give an example of a recent work challenge/objective set.

  • Task:  What did they have to achieve?

  • Action:  What did they do to achieve the objective?

  • Results:  What was the outcome and did they meet the objectives?

If the candidate is being interviewed by other people in the organisation, arrange to review all feedback once all the interviews have taken place, this way you are not influenced by other people’s opinions before you meet the candidate. And ensure that the candidate is not kept waiting between interviews – have someone co-ordinating the meetings to ensure everyone keeps to their allotted time.

Ensure your questions are clear and not double ended. Ask one question at a time and wait until you have received a satisfactory answer. Don’t over complicate the interview by asking 2 questions at once or asking ambiguous questions.

If competency based interview or STAR techniques don’t give you the level of information you want, consider including a test of some type, in addition to a formal interview. If this is your preferred method – you must let the candidate know they will be expected to sit a test, if so then they can prepare properly.  Its worth considering however, that introducing too many stages can lead you to miss out on good candidates in a candidate driven market.

Be considerate with your timing

If you know early on in the interview that the candidate is not suitable, they should still be given a fair interview. Don’t cut the interview short after 10 minutes s if you decide they aren’t the one – remember the candidate experience! The Analytics market is a small world and you don’t want the candidate telling their colleagues and industry contacts about what a bad experience they’ve had.

At the other end of the scale, if an interview is likely to be long, let the candidate know this in advance. Giving an approximate interview time of 1-2 hours is better than saying an 1 hour and have it run over. Manage their expectations as they may then be under pressure to get back to work, which could affect their concentration and how well they present themselves in the interview.

Sell the role!

And lastly, if you like a particular candidate, then sell the role to them while you have a captive audience!  Give them ample chance to ask questions and really focus on promoting the role and company, maybe even give them a quick tour of the business. Above all, let them know that you are an employer that is genuinely passionate about this opportunity. Remember, they are likely to be speaking to other companies who are doing just that, so don’t let your business go unnoticed!

<< By Kat Heague >>

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