You only get one chance to make a first impression. Often, employers see interviews as a one-way street – that the candidate has applied for a job and now has to impress you. However, we often forget that we need to impress them too and encourage them to join our organisation.
Your relationship with your potential new employee starts from the job spec, as discussed in our recent blog. Then, if their application is successful, comes the interview.
We would always advise you to remember that you have been through interviews before. Put yourself into the candidate’s shoes: they will likely be nervous and have spent a lot of time preparing to meet you. Remember to put them at ease by introducing yourself, shaking their hand, offering them a drink, showing them where to sit and being composed.
After exchanging pleasantries, it’s time to get to the interview. Of course, you will likely have role-specific questions, but these are some useful extra questions to help you get the most out of the interview.
1. What made you apply to [our company]?
This allows the candidate to showcase some of the research they have done. They get to tell you what they have discovered, how far they have looked into your organisation and its values, and why they think they might fit. It’s important to listen and ensure that you understand what the candidate is expecting from you as an employer, and what they view as an excellent place to work.
2. How would you describe your style of working?
In organisations, it’s essential to have the right balance of employees and skillsets. You need critical thinkers, conscientious workers who will fit with your team. This is a pivotal question to find out if they will blend with yourself and their potential colleagues, or if you could see the possibility of tensions.
3. What is one thing you wish you were better at?
Admitting a weakness is a difficult thing to do. Asking somebody “What are your weaknesses?” will either make them uncomfortable or reel off a stock-answer like “I’m too much of a perfectionist.” (We’ve all been there!)
Asking somebody what they wish they were better at is a positive spin. It gives them an opportunity to be honest and is more likely to get a quicker, more personal answer. It could be that they wish they were a better writer, singer, timekeeper, and more. This will give you an insight into their personality and how they see themselves, rather than getting an answer they’ve read about on the internet.
4. What are you looking for in your next role?
Again, this gives you an opportunity to see what the candidate is expecting from you and your organisation. If they are looking for flexible working and that’s not possible, you then can keep that in mind. This is your chance, again, to listen and see if what they want matches what you can offer. This will help with retention in the long term and see you not having to go through the whole process again.
5. Can you tell me about a time that you …
Think about what you need from your new recruit. Do you need them to work to deadlines? Do you need them to work as part of a team? Most interviewees will have thought about this question and potentially have an example ready. However, ensure that you give them time to think about the question correctly and gather their thoughts – this isn’t a memory test!
6. If offered a position, how soon would you be able to start?
Ensure you emphasise the ‘if’ – don’t give a candidate false hope or too much of an idea what you plan to do. You need to take time to think and digest the interview afterwards and think about how it went. Finding out a candidate’s availability shouldn’t affect your decision to hire them – if they’re worth waiting for, then you should. A notice period shouldn’t be held against the right person.
6. Who are you outside of your working hours?
We spend a significant amount of time with our colleagues – sometimes more than our own loved ones! It’s good to get to know people and understand their other priorities in life. Believe it or not, it’s doubtful that working is their top priority! They may have families, hobbies, talents, and interesting quirks. All of these add up to them as a person, and indeed as an employee.
7. Do you have any questions for us?
Always remember to ask this! If they’ve come to you via Glu, then we will have ensured they are very prepared for this question. They may wish to ask about flexibility, priorities, money, hours or they may want to ask about the potential for their development. Give them the opportunity to ask you a question – you’ve asked them plenty!
If you’d like further advice and support in preparing for interviews, then drop us a line on 0114 321 1873. Our team of specialist recruiters will be happy to assist with a tailored strategy that suits you.