Once you have sorted through the applications you have received for your Job Advert, you will hopefully have a number of people you are considering for the position. This is where the interview process can help to narrow it down to the one YOU want for the job. There are important areas to consider when you are preparing for an interview, we hope these tips will be of help in the process:
Review your Job Advert
This might seem unnecessary, but it is important to remember that your Job Advert is what gives an candidate their first impression of what will be expected of them as an employee. This helps you determine your expectations of the candidate, ensure they are reasonable for the Job Advert you created and guide you in deciding if they are right for the position.
Read Their Application Several Times
When you sort through the applications for a position you will read through them and pick the ones that stand out to you, however the interview might take place weeks later. This means it can be difficult to remember every part of the application you would want to talk about at the interview. Re-reading someone’s application can help you to develop an impression of the candidate, inspire questions you would like to ask them (which you can write up and bring to the interview!) and help you to build a friendly rapport during the interview.
Try Different Interview Styles
When you are preparing to interview it is important to carry it out in a format you are comfortable with, a conversational style might be more comfortable for you and the candidate, helping to build a good rapport with a potential employee. However you might forget questions you would like to ask or forget to mention something, necessitating further contact/discussion before everything is covered.
A more structured, formal approach might make you more comfortable, keeping control of the interview and addressing questions and areas of discussion in a planned manner. This does make it more difficult to build rapport but might help you to make the right decision. Try and do a practice interview with someone and decide which style is more comfortable for you, you might want to combine aspects of the different styles that you like and see how they work together, as long as you are comfortable and confident in how you are conducting interviews.
Make Sure Candidates Know what to Expect
When you invite a candidate to an interview be sure to give them relevant information so they know what to expect. Details like what sort of dress code you expect them to follow or how many people will be at the interview might seem obvious to you but unless told a candidate will have to make assumptions which can cause confusion in the interview. This will allow you to get a impression of the candidate that isn’t confused by initial confusion during the interview.
Have A Plan
It is a good idea to have a general structure in mind for your interview so you can cover all the areas you want to during the discussion. This is important for covering all the fine details you might not put in the Job Advert (e.g. “The position will involve working as part of a team of 6 PA’s.”, “I like to go swimming, would you be comfortable supporting me in that environment?”)
Prepare your Questions
Preparing your questions ahead of the interview is a good way to keep calm while you are with the candidate. Consider what specific qualities and skills you want for the position and tailor your questions towards these areas. It is good to include situational questions (“What would you do if —–?”) as well as follow-up questions so you can get information beyond prepared responses. Listen to their response and consider if you should ask a when, why, how or what question to get additional insight into how the candidate might conduct themselves when working with you.
Make a Good Impression
Remember that an interview is a two-way street, while you are talking to the candidate and wondering “Do I want to employ them?” they will be thinking “Do I want to work for you?”. It is disappointing to get someone to the interview stage, considering them for the position, only for them to withdraw their application. It is important to remember that you are giving them their first impression of what working with you will be like, you want them to want the job.
Be Prepared for THEIR Questions
Be sure to encourage the candidate to ask any questions they have about the position and the duties/responsibilities that come with it. This also can help to distinguish a candidate from the rest as good questions can show that they are genuinely interested in working for you. In the same way, a lack of questions can suggest a lack of genuine interest in the position (candidate might be looking for ANY job).
Let Them know what Happens Next
Even if you feel like you have found the ideal candidate it is important to take some time and make sure you are certain of your decision. Letting a candidate know what will happen next is important to keeping them invested in the process, remember, yours probably isn’t the only position they’ve applied for. Be sure to let them know when to expect a decision from you AND stick to your deadline, even if it’s to tell them they’ve been unsuccessful.
Remember, It is YOUR Interview
Conducting an interview can feel as stressful as being interviewed, and it is important to remember that you have control over the style of the interview. Do you want it to be a formal interview with smart attire? A more relaxed conversation somewhere comfortable? Do you want someone with you while conducting the interview? Or have someone you trust conduct the interview and meet the candidate after that stage is completed? This is YOUR interview, you decide how it is conducted.