Shake up the interview process

With the job market in the UK continuing to gather pace, and the talent shortage increasing we look at how you can apply some simple measures into your interview process to make better evaluations of the people you meet. In shaking up the interview process, we answer the following questions;

How do you separate one candidate from another in interview?
Competency based interviews, or something else?
You need to prepare as much as the interviewee

How do you separate one candidate from another in interview?

As a recruitment company we are regularly called upon to give advice to our candidates on improvements to CVs and tips on what to expect in interviews. We always tailor this to both the individual and the type and level of role for which they are applying. However, each person you meet in interview will bring something different to the table and you need to make sure you are getting the best out of them during this meeting and find ways to get a true picture of their suitability for your vacancy.

So assuming your shortlist looks great on paper, how do you separate your candidates one from another in interview? Within the relatively short time that any face-to-face interview is held for each candidate, does your interview format include elements that can really get a true picture of how well that person would fit within your organisation and deliver what is required? Consider if your interview style will ensure you gain an understanding of how well they react in ‘real life’ work situations.

Competency based interviews, or something else?

We all know that competency based interviews are a given aspect of most recruitment activity these days – and very valuable this style of measurement is too. But, while it does give an indication of how well individuals could do by the examples they provide, is it really enough to ensure you really do get the right person for your role? For those who prepare well before their interview, their examples of past work experiences can be well rehearsed but, when push comes to shove, how would they react in the present?

Heineken’s advert, The Candidate launched in Spring 2013 (See video above) is a great, if extreme, example of testing candidates in the interview scenario to discover elements of the real person. They were looking for an intern and had over 1700 applicants, most of whom seemed to offer the same stock answers to their questions.

While this was a marketing campaign, it does support the point that, sometimes, embracing new ways of drilling down to find out how individuals react in situations can be a valuable aspect of your recruiting process. Introducing elements that are unplanned, with definitely no preparation involved from the individuals, can really show how your shortlist of ‘suitable’ candidates will react in a given scenario. It is a very powerful way of discovering more about them and how they react under pressure. While we are not for one moment suggesting you should go to the level depicted in the Heineken campaign, you could consider introducing some pared down elements to test your applicants in situations relevant to your business.

You need to prepare as much as the interviewee

Within Data & Analytics problem solving will be a key aspect of any level role. So instead of just asking them for an example regarding how they have solved a problem in the past, why not introduce a specific situation into the interview and ask them to provide a solution there and then? Alternatively create a scenario where they need to show an aptitude which is a prerequisite for the role and see how they react. Incorporating this may be a challenge to set up but will definitely give you a much greater insight into how individuals react when a quick decision or specific result is required.

Likewise, if you require your new employee to have certain rare skills or talents, then get them to show you those skills and prove they actually do have the experience needed to be successful in the role. This was definitely the focus of the Heineken advert – a classic case of "don’t tell me, show me". Incorporating this into your interview process will guarantee you quickly get a much deeper understanding of the individual’s capabilities with regards to specific skills or traits you need them to have.

These suggestions should obviously be well thought out ensuring you do introduce an element or two that successfully provides you with the additional insight you are after. Catching someone off guard is absolutely fine, making them feel uncomfortable, threatened or vulnerable however is definitely something to avoid. So throw in some new elements and you can be guaranteed of a much more rounded impression of the individuals you choose to interview. This ultimately should aid the decision process when choosing your new employee.

<< By Marcus Headicar >>

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