Interviewing a candidate for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience for employers as much as interviewees. After all, get it wrong and you won’t just lose a good candidate, it can negatively impact your business reputation. To help you avoid the many pitfalls of interviewing, we outline the most important do’s and don’ts of interviewing for employers.
One of the most challenging parts of the recruitment process for employers is conducting a job interview. This initial meeting is the perfect opportunity to get a well-balanced view of our candidates, who may have all passed the initial stage with a stellar CV and cover letter. But can they convince us in person that they are up to the role? What’s more, are they a good fit for the business in a personal and cultural sense?
Keeping the following do’s and don’ts in mind will help you find the best candidates while avoiding the dangers of discrimination.
Do: Create a Comfortable Interview Environment
Many candidates have a keen interest in a role and may be a perfect fit for the job. However, many become overwhelmed by the interview process because they are just not great at interviews.
To bring out the best in people, good interviewers make candidates feel as relaxed as possible. Putting candidates at ease isn’t difficult. You will find that being polite goes a long way, as does offering them a drink.
Paying attention to your body language and the tone of your voice can also help candidates relax. Hence, you elicit a more open response.
Many interviewers want to find the perfect fit instantly but we must not let that cloud our judgement. The whole point of the recruitment process is to weed out the good from the bad without bias.
Therefore, in the job interview, you must be honest and avoid making false promises. Promising career prospects and overinflating employee benefits, for example, can give people false hope.
Also, when you overpromise things you can’t deliver, it will almost certainly result in your new employee looking elsewhere. Not to mention damage your company’s reputation.
Do: Sell the Position and the Company
Employers often focus so much on questioning candidates that they forget to sell the benefits of the role and company culture. However, this is often the most important information for a candidate. What’s more, if they leave your office without a sense of what it’s like to work for your business, they may see no reason to accept a job offer if you make one.
Point out the potential for growth, any awards and accreditations your company has, along with the benefits of working for your organisation. Better still, why not show candidates around the office and introduce them to the shining stars of your workforce?
An existing employee’s account of what it’s like to work at your company will resonate more with a candidate than an employer’s word.
Don’t: Ask Personal Questions
The job interview process should always use the same set of interview questions for every interviewee. Until a candidate accepts the role, they are an applicant, not a co-worker or acquaintance. Therefore, your approach should be professional and welcoming but not too friendly.
Certain questions may be open to misinterpretation or come off as discriminatory, this can be a red flag to a candidate in the interview process. Therefore, you should carefully consider the questions you might ask well in advance.
Asking inappropriate questions will not just put individuals off working for your company but could find you in court.
Do: Make Reasonable Adjustments
Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, employers must make reasonable adjustments to the work environment to allow employees with a disability to work productively and safely. In terms of the interview setting, some common examples of reasonable adjustments may involve the following:
- Allowing a sign language interpreter to attend the interview.
- Providing wheelchair access.
- Allowing extra time for a candidate to complete assessments.
- Offering further assistance when a test takes place on a computer.
Don’t: Focus on First Impressions
In some instances, there can be interviewees that you get a great feeling about, and you may feel the temptation to hire them straight away. Likewise, you may dislike an individual’s appearance and not want to give them a fair trial. Still, it’s wise to disregard any gut feelings at this point to avoid bias.
Remember, the interview process is there to help you judge everyone by the same standards and avoid discrimination. So while you may be hoping that your next interviewee is perfect for the role, it is wise not to let any excitement run away with you.
You must go through the interview process laid down to ensure that you validate any initial impression you have.
Do: Compare Candidates After the Interview
Before making any job offers go out, you need to have a structured approach to every interview so you can compare each candidate with the same criteria. You need to ask similar questions for every interviewee and agree on these questions with everybody on the panel beforehand. You could also adopt a matrix system for scoring so you can compare the qualities which are important for the position.
Don’t: Believe Everything on the CV
An applicant’s CV might have impressed you enough to offer them an interview, but this is where the candidate must prove their worth. CVs can contain inaccurate statements or false information.
Likewise, it may contain holes in their employment history or omit valuable information because they think it’s just too obvious.
The job interview is the perfect opportunity to dig a little deeper into a candidate’s work history. This is where you ask them to back up the statements on their CV with further evidence of their ability to do the job.
A Few Final Thoughts on the Do’s and Don’ts of Interviewing for Employers
The interview process can be a daunting experience. However, we often forget that it can be more so for employers than candidates. After all, their company’s reputation is on the line if they mess up.
Hopefully, after reading the above do’s and don’ts, you should now have a better idea of how to spot the right candidates the first time around. You should also be aware of things you should never say in a job interview and how to make candidates feel at ease.
Don’t forget, our IT recruitment experts interview people all day every day, it’s our job. So if you’re struggling to find candidates that hit the mark, it might be worth a chat with one of our consultants. Their no-obligation advice costs nothing but might save you endless time and money.