Interview preparation: top tips for hirers
It’s important to remember that pre-interview preparation is just as essential for hirers as it is for candidates. Failure to properly prepare can lead to talent slipping through the net or costly hiring mistakes.
There’s a current trend for candidates to be far more proactive in the interview process than was historically the case; asking almost as many questions as the interviewer in a bid to discover if the role and organisation is right for them. This is a reflection of a market where strong candidates can have several different opportunities to consider and want to ensure that they make the right choice. The highest-performers may arrive at an interview wanting to know what you can offer them – and you need to be ready to answer.
There are also many candidates who fear leaving their current role, worrying about joining a new company where job security is an issue or because they lack confidence in the wider industry. Then, there are those who will be concerned about the impact of a job move in terms of travel time and cost, or may have concerns about finding an appropriate home. It will be your job to allay these fears to secure the right candidate – and preparation is the key.
Whilst assessing a candidate’s skills, experience, attitude and aptitude will always be essential, a focus on promoting your company’s USPs and the opportunities on offer for individuals is now more important than ever.
How to do this is inevitably the next question, so here are five tips for hiring managers to help you make the most of each interview you conduct.
Tip 1: Brand knowledge
You cannot hope to sell your business or your brand if you don’t fully understand it yourself or you can’t promote it effectively. Look at what engages current employees, how you progress their careers and keep them motivated. And then explain this to candidates. Applicants today want to know about your company culture, as well as the role specifics and opportunities and benefits on offer.
Tip 2: Competitor awareness
In order to sell your own company and create a sense of the uniqueness of the opportunity on offer, you’ll need to know what your competitors are doing. Research their internal culture, as well as the services and products on offer in order to best highlight your own USPs. Consider why you joined the business and why someone else should work at your organisation rather than anywhere else.
Tip 3: Think clarity
Be ready to explain clearly how your hiring procedure works, who the candidate can expect to meet, and how various departments and stakeholders work with each other and would interface with them.
Be prepared to give clarity to the role on offer by explaining the purpose of the job and the expectations you will have from the successful candidate. Don’t deliberately ignore any negatives or you risk having to hire again.
Remember that the experience you offer at interview can be a major deciding factor when it comes to a candidate responding to a future offer.
Tip 4: Individual application
Be prepared to tailor-make the benefits and opportunities your company and the specific role can offer to individual candidates. Look at their initial application to assess their short and long-term goals and be ready to demonstrate how working for you could fulfil them.
Listen carefully during interview and be ready to react to what you hear. If, for example, the candidate is obviously motivated by achieving a good work/life balance, tell them about the flexitime you can offer.
Tip 5: Post-interview performance
Don’t prepare solely for the interview. Be ready to provide the necessary contact and feedback afterwards. Don’t miss out on securing a great candidate simply because you fail to contact them quickly enough after their interview.
Try to schedule a second meeting in a timely manner and, if you’re faced with unforeseen delays, make sure you keep them updated to maintain their interest and to prevent them being lured away by someone else.