Recruitment – Getting Ready to Sift and Interview

This post continues from my Recruitment blog – giving hints and tips to run a successful recruitment campaign. So what happens once applications close and you have lots of applicants to choose from? Firstly, you will need to conduct an initial sift of applications against your job description and person specification. If you have asked for ‘Essential’ qualifications, certificates, or personal qualities you can sift out any applications that don’t meet these requirements.

Once you have compiled a short list, you will want to find out more about the applicants skills, experience and competencies to understand who will be best suited to the role. Inviting applicants to interview is a good opportunity to do this.

Here are some top tips for before, during and after the interview to make sure the interviewers and interviewees get the most out them.

Before the interview:

• Review the candidate’s application and make a note of any areas which you wish to explore further and plan your questions accordingly. Roughly between seven and ten questions will be sufficient. These questions could include, finding out more about the applicants previous roles, duties, accomplishments etc.

• Find a suitable venue for interview, somewhere where there will be no interruptions/distractions and a comfortable environment for the interviewers and interviewees.

• Provide water, (to help alleviate nervous, dry mouths!) and perhaps a pen and paper should the interviewee wish to make any notes following questions at the end of the interview.

It is important to make your interviewee comfortable and feel at ease so that they can perform their best during the interview. Allow plenty of time for the interview, and enough time in-between interviews to make, and tidy up notes that are taken.

During the interview:

• Make your candidate feel at ease by introducing the interviewer(s) and giving a brief overview of the company.

• Begin with questions about the candidate’s present/previous role. This will allow them to settle in to the interview and gain confidence through speaking about what is familiar to them.

• Ask open ended questions (What? Where? When? How? Why?). This gives applicants the opportunity to provide as much evidence as possible to demonstrate that they would be able to complete the duties of the role as outlined in the job description, or meet the personal qualities on the job specification.

• Keep questions relevant to the job role and avoid unnecessary personal questions, to ensure compliance with the Equality Act.

• Take notes discreetly during the interview. Consider having a designated note taker in the interview if appropriate. It is important to remember that interviewees can request to see any notes taken under the Data Protection Act, therefore keep them relevant and don’t write down anything you wouldn’t want them to see.

After the interview:

• Go through your notes making sure that they support your decisions. Interview notes should be kept for a minimum of three months after the interview – the timeframe for complaints to be raised in an Employment Tribunal. If you haven’t kept the notes, then the Tribunal may draw a negative conclusion in a discrimination complaint.

• Write to the successful applicant as soon as possible offering them the job.

If you haven’t found a suitable person for the role, then don’t appoint. In the long term it will be far more efficient to start the recruitment process again, than hire someone not right for the job.

About Debbie Pepler