How to give the perfect interview – and bag the perfect candidate    

Sourcing the right people and attracting talent to roles is a major challenge for any recruitment department. Here’s how to do it

Making your opportunity stand out among the thousands out there is vital. And once that CV reaches you – revealing the ‘perfect’ candidate on paper – it’s down to he or she only to deliver at interview, do the research, dress to impress and nail that presentation, right?

Wrong. You should be fully prepared to judge how this individual is right for your team, business and clients – and make the right decision to hire.

1. It’s in the meet and greet

First impressions count. The handshake, the smile and the overall presence – but remember to pay attention to the less obvious details too, what people say about shoes is true!  Candidates are given the chance to prove themselves throughout the time you spend with them, but ultimately it comes down to whether you would put that person in front of your MD, clients and customers presented as they are at their best – the interview.

2. Stop when you’ve seen enough

A short interview isn’t always a bad interview. Interviewers often make the mistake of clock watching, trying to make sure they fill that one hour session. Don’t do it, just stop when you’ve seen enough! Don’t waste your time or theirs if you’ve made the decision and it’s not going to work. And if they demonstrate the skills you’re looking for in a short space of time, be careful not to fill time by asking irrelevant questions and going off track as this could put candidates off.

3. Address the clichés, numbers, hobbies and interests

That opening paragraph on a CV can read like a long list of carefully selected adjectives, while the key achievements sound incredible. Break those words and numbers down: “UK’s top sales professional”, out of how many people? “Grown sales 51% since last quarter”, how exactly has this been done? More specifics please. Hobbies and interests are important to the cultural fit, but remember to explore them further, ensure the candidate hasn’t exaggerated by going into the finer detail.  If they “love playing golf”, what is their handicap? And if they haven’t put any interests down, ask. You’ll appeal on a more personal level that way, which is particularly important when remembering the below…

4. You are there to impress too

Don’t let your hiring manager run to an interview, grabbing a CV off the printer on the way, not briefed by the person who selected the candidate to interview. You need to sell not only the company, role and work culture, but also sell yourself as their line manager or direct report. Inform them of your background and let them know what they can learn from you personally. What can you offer them that other employers can’t? Tell them about the workplace culture and practices whether – it be complementary breakfast, flexi time, monthly company days out or free parking.  Share, you’ll be surprised what motivates people when it comes down to deciding what opportunity is best for them to take.

5. Does your interviewer know what they are doing?

When you’ve recruited a new manager or promoted within, training on interview skills are often forgotten. It may not be a priority at the time, but within days of requesting to recruit, your hiring manager could be sitting across the table from a potential future employee with no idea where to start. Introduce recruitment training sessions as an ongoing programme – don’t lose that great hire through a poor interview and lack of preparation on your part.

Daniel Todaro is MD of award-winning marketing agency Gekko, which helps businesses grow

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