Getting The Right People Through Interview


by Claire Buchan, HR specialist

18th April 2013

Many HR professionals have conducted more interviews than they've had the proverbial “hot dinners". You appreciate the time, effort and costs associated with sourcing, hiring, inducting and training new members of staff and feel the disappointment and frustration when a new appointee turns out to be the wrong appointee.

In my experience, this happens when a new hire, who may be technically superb, does not "fit" well within the team or organisation they've joined. As pressure to fill vacancies increases, often from a limited pool of candidates, it's easy to make a hasty placement and sacrifice the intangible, hard to pin down qualities that you are looking for in your staff.

Try to look beyond the conventional qualification requirements on a CV to widen your pool of prospective candidates. In HR for example, candidates who come from out with the oil and gas sector may not be CIPD qualified, but they will have relevant, technical experience. My advice to them is always the same, get your CIPD qualification, but they could easily obtain this while adding value in your company.

Once you have short-listed your candidates, the interview process begins and this could be compared to a performance, where everyone acts a part. It's important to see past the actor who performs well at interview, or conversely, the candidate whose performance is affected by nerves. Create a framework for your discussion which consistently conveys the appropriate information; directs constructive questioning and obtains honest answers.

It's surprising how many employers still believe that it's only candidates who have to sell themselves, this outdated approach makes it much harder for both parties to determine whether the "fit" is right. Once you've shared information on your company remember to ask how the candidate feels about the role and organisation now - their perception may have changed.

Other questions which will help you determine "fit" are to ask the reasons for leaving previous employment - was the work too demanding, were relationships with others strained? Many recruiters think this question is too obvious but it can reveal important work ethic and people skills red flags.

Determining individual motivations and medium-longer term aspirations is beneficial too. Will development investment be realised in your business or is the person likely to move on quickly and can your company offer the professional role models who are a good match to their aspirations?

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