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 >>

<< Click here for more useful tips >>


Harnham blog & news

With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out our recent posts below.

How to Succeed in Self-Service BI

Business Intelligence, along with Business Analytics and Big Data, is one of the terms often associated with decision-making processes in organisations.  However, there is little discussion around the importance of what skills decision makers in your organisation need to use the technology efficiently.  In recent years, the development of user-friendly tools for BI processes, Self-Service BI are increasing. Self-Service BI is an approach to BI where anyone in an organisation can collect and organise data for analysis without the assistance of data specialists. As a result of this, many businesses have invested in comprehensive storage and information processing tools. However, many are beginning to find that they are not able to realise the gains of these investments as they were expecting, may often due to underestimating the difficulties of introducing these systems into the current processes and transforming existing knowledge into actual actions and decisions.  In a worst-case scenario, if left unplanned, Self Service BI can sabotage your successful BI deployment by cutting mass user adoption, impairing query performance, failing to reduce report backlogs, and increasing confusion over the “single truth”. To prevent this from happening, here are our top three tips for ensuring the right implementation of SSBI in your company: UNDERSTAND YOUR USERS’ NEEDS There are three major user areas for analytics tools: strategic, tactical and operational. The strategic users make few, but important decisions. The tactical users make many decisions during a week and need updated information daily. Operational users are often closest to the customer, and this group needs data in its own applications in order to carry out a large number of requests and transactions.  Understanding the different needs of each group is necessary to know what information should be available at each given frequency to help scale the BI solution.  HARNESS THE POWER OF ADVANCED USERS To ensure a successful BI deployment, utilising advanced users is key. Self-service BI is not a one-size fits all approach. Casual users usually don’t have the time to learn the tool and will often reach out to ‘Power Users’ to create what they need. Hence, these users can become the go-to resource for creating ad-hoc views of data. Power Users are the ideal advocates for your business’ self-service BI implementation and should be able to help spur user adoption.  UPGRADE INTERNAL COMPETENCIES  Our final tip for a successful implementation is to communicate the new tool thoroughly to the users.  It is highly unlikely that employees who have not been involved in the actual development project will immediately understand what the tool should be used for, who needs it, and what it should replace. By upgrading internal competencies, you can avoid becoming dependent on external assistance. Establishing a cross-organizational BI competence centre of 5-10 members, who meet regularly to share their experiences will help drives and prioritise future use of the tool. The added benefit of a successful implementation is that it will generate new ideas from users for how the organisation can use data to make better decisions. If you have the skillset to implement Business Intelligence solutions, we may have a role for you.  Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in contact with our team. 

Will Artificial Intelligence Revolutionise Eye Healthcare?

Faced with a rapidly expanding and increasingly older population, Healthcare resources in both the UK and US are facing an unprecedented level of demand. With only limited resource available, conversation is beginning to turn to the potential use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to ease some of the strain. A recent example already seeing success is the current collaboration between Google’s DeepMind and London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. But, as the lines begin to blur between human and machine-diagnosis, it’s worth questioning what role AI should actually play.  SEEING THE POTENTIAL IN AI Aside from the increase in population, there are many societal elements that are affecting the healthcare system. An increase in illnesses such as diabetes has led to a rise in eye-diseases and increased demand on optometrists.  Fortunately, AI can speed up the process with new technologies allowing systems like DeepMind to make their own diagnosis. Optical Coherence Technology (OCT) allows optometrists to create a 3D scans of people’s eyes. By bouncing near-infrared light of the interior surfaces of the eye, it can create an image that will reveal any abnormalities. DeepMind has been trained on over 15,000 scans and can now form a likely diagnosis, having used algorithms to find common patterns within the data.  Head of DeepMind, Mustafa Suleyman, says: “ [This could] transform the diagnosis, treatment, and management of patients with sight threatening eye conditions [...] around the world.” However, with an accuracy of just over 94%, there is still enough room for error to cause concern, especially given the potential consequences of an incorrect diagnosis.  LOOKING FOR MISTAKES  This doesn’t mean we should rule out the use of AI altogether. Whilst we may not be able to solely rely on the technology for diagnosis, it can be effective when working hand-in-hand with a human skillset.  In particular, by using AI systems for Triage purposes (determining what order patients should be seen in), as opposed to making a full diagnosis, patients demonstrating more significant symptoms could be reported and seen by a medical professional as priority, potentially leading to a higher chance of recovery.  When AI is used as a driver for patient management, as opposed to being viewed as alternative physician, it can create a faster and more efficient process.  To help continue to improve the results produced by DeepMind, the NHS have been given a validated version to use for free for the next five years. Using real-world applications over this time should streamline both their processes, and the technology itself.  A LONG TERM VISION For the time being, AI’s role within Eye Health is one of evolution, not revolution. With the inconsistency of current technology and the impact of incorrect results on people’s sight, it can only be utilised as a supporting tool.  For now, the skillsets of Data Analysts and medical doctors remain too separate to full work hand-in-hand. Add to this the risks of automation bias (a willingness to blindly trust a machine’s output), and the margin of error is too high.  However, that’s not to say that AI can’t and won’t play a significant part in the future of Healthcare. With the technology to detect eye conditions through the lens of your smartphone camera closer than ever to mainstream use, AI is set to play a huge role in outpatient treatment. At this stage, however, that role will be one of risk predictor, not eliminator.  If you think you have the skillset to help take AI to the next level in Healthcare we may have a role for you. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in contact with our team. 

Harnham's Brush with Fame

Harnham have partnered with The Charter School North Dulwich as corporate sponsors of their ‘Secret Charter’ event. The event sees the south London state school selling over 500 postcard-sized original pieces of art to raise funds for their Art, Drama and Music departments. Conceived by local parent Laura Stephens, the original concept was to auction art from both pupils and contributing parents.  Whilst designs from 30 of the school's best art students remain, the scope of contributors has rapidly expanded and now includes the work of local artists alongside celebrated greats including Tracey Emin, Sir Anthony Gormley, Julian Opie, and Gary Hume.  In addition to famous artists, several well-known names have contributed their own designs including James Corden, David Mitchell, Miranda Hart, Jo Brand, Jeremy Corbyn, and Hugh Grant.  The event itself, sponsored by Harnham and others, will be hosted by James Nesbitt, and will take place at Dulwich Picture Gallery on the 15th October 2018.  You can find out how to purchase a postcard and more information about the event here. 

Breaking Code: How Programmers and AI are Shaping the Internet of Tomorrow

Data. It’s what we do. But, before the data is read and analysed, before the engineers lay the foundation of infrastructure, it is the programmers who create the code – the building blocks upon which our tomorrow is built. And once a year, we celebrate the wizards behind the curtain.  In a nod to 8-bit systems, on the 256th day of the year, we celebrate Programmers’ Day. Innovators from around the world gather to share knowledge with leading experts from a variety of disciplines, such as privacy and trust, artificial intelligence, and discovery and identification. Together they will discuss the internet of tomorrow.  The Next Generation of Internet At the Next Generation Internet (NGI), users are empowered to make choices in the control and use of their data. Each field from artificial intelligent agents to distributed ledger technologies support highly secure, transparent, and resilient internet infrastructures. A variety of businesses are able to decide how best to evaluate their data through the use of social models, high accessibility, and language transparency. Seamless interaction of an individual’s environment regardless of age or physical condition will drive the next generation of the internet. But, like all things which progress, practically at the speed of light, there is an element of ‘buyer beware’, or in this case, from ‘coder to user beware’. Caveat Emptor or rather, Caveat Coder The understanding, creation, and use of algorithms has revolutionised technology in ways we couldn’t possibly have imagined a few decades ago. Digital and Quantitative Analysts aim to, with enough data, be able to predict some action or outcome. However, as algorithms learn, there can be severe consequences of unpredictable code.  We create technology to improve our quality of life and to make our tasks more efficient. Through our efforts, we’ve made great strides in medicine, transportation, the sciences, and communication. But, what happens when the algorithms on which the technology is run surpasses the human at the helm? What happens when it builds upon itself faster than we can teach it? Or predict the infinite variable outcomes? Predictive analytics can become useless, or worse dangerous.  Balance is Key Electro-mechanical systems we could test and verify before implementation are a thing of the past, and the role of Machine Learning takes front and centre. Unfortunately, without the ability to test algorithms exhaustively, we must walk a tightrope of test and hope. Faith in systems is a fine balance of Machine Learning and the idea that it is possible to update or rewrite a host of programs, essentially ‘teaching’ the machine how to correct itself. But, who is ultimately responsible? These, and other questions, may balance out in the long run, but until then, basic laws regarding intention or negligence will need to be rethought. Searching for a solution  In every evolution there are growing pains. But, there are also solutions. In the world of tech, it’s important to put the health of society first and profit second, a fine balancing act in itself. Though solutions remain elusive, there are precautions technology companies can employ. One such precaution is to make tech companies responsible for the actions of their products, whether it is lines of rogue code or keeping a close eye on avoiding the tangled mass of ‘spaghetti’ code which can endanger us or our environment. Want to weigh in on the debate and learn how you can help shape the internet of tomorrow? If you’re interested in Big Data and Analytics, we may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies. To learn more, contact our UK team at +44 20 8408 6070 or email us at info@harnham.com.

Recently Viewed jobs