So, you’ve advertised your vacancy, sorted through the 100+ applications and narrowed it down to 4 people who you’d like to bring in for an interview – or you might have already held your interviews and are about to make an offer. You’ve got this recruitment thing sorted, it’s SO easy!
And just as you’re high-fiving your colleagues and congratulating yourself on being such an awesome hiring manager it all starts falling apart. Candidates surprising you during the interview with gems like “oh, didn’t I mention that I live in Willunga and I don’t have a car”, or “I don’t really enjoy dealing with customers on the phone, I prefer admin” (has applied to a Customer Service/Admin role), or this little beauty which often doesn’t get mentioned until an offer has been made “I know the role was advertised at 55k but I’m looking for 60k”, and then of course there’s the worst of the lot – having your offer turned down because your candidate has accepted another position.
When dealing with people there’s always going to be the occasional ‘surprise’ here and there, however when it comes to recruitment and interviewing there are a few things you can do to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
- Assess the title of the role you’re advertising; Does it reflect the duties and responsibilities as well as the level of the role? Does it use internal lingo? Is there a more generic title you could use purely for advertising purposes to ensure you attract the candidates you’re seeking?
- Conduct a thorough phone interview. Information covered should include; salary expectation, suitability of location, a few questions to ascertain their technical skills, their reason for applying for the role and what interests them about the position and the organisation, have they applied for any other roles? You’re much better off spending 15-20 minutes on the phone with someone than bringing them in and finding out 5 minutes in to the interview they’re completely unsuitable.
- Face to face interviews should be conversational and meaningful. Gone are the days (well, mostly) where you have someone firing long winded, and often irrelevant questions at you (I’m really not sure why we need to ask a 45 year old where they went to school?). The interview is your opportunity to get to know the applicant and vice versa, getting the right ‘fit’ is just as important for them, as it is for you. Absolutely ask structured, well thought out and relevant interview questions, but why not make them feel comfortable and confident to be themselves at the same time? There’s no point hiring the person who excelled during your Hunger Games style recruitment process, chances are they weren’t the best person for your role, they just happened to be the stand out in what was a brutal interview process!
- Be honest with yourself, and with applicants. There’s no point overselling a role or leaving out key information because this just results in either a very unhappy and disengaged employee, or a very quick resignation. What candidates do appreciate is honesty and feeling confident that they understand what the position entails, and that they can fulfil the requirements of the role. At the same time, it’s important to be honest with yourself. At some point in time we’ve all had a not so great feeling about a candidate, and if we’ve ignored that feeling it’s nearly always (if not always) ended badly. If you’re not 100% certain keep exploring – organise another interview or a third reference check if need be, it’s much easier to do this than it is to pick up the pieces later. There’s a lot to be said for gut feelings!
After doing this for many years, Joanne and I know that to achieve a successful outcome long term, the time that’s invested in the planning and early stages of the recruitment process is critical – get this right and you’re well on your way to hiring your next superstar employee!
Written by Melanie Mansfield