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Are recruiters good at interviewing?

You would hope that the answer to this question is yes. I would suggest however that all of us have been guilty of ‘going through the motions’ in an interview or doing half a job. If you have already seen a number of candidates that day, have time restraints or potentially have already seen an individual that you feel is ideal for the role you can oversee talent.

Here are some pointers for improving both you and the candidate’s interview experience:

1. Ensure the candidate has the opportunity to talk

Most recruiters will have regularly been interviewed themselves either for promotion or for other jobs. There is nothing worse than coming out of an interview feeling you haven’t had the chance to show what you’re capable of or even the chance to explain why you’re suitable for the position. You should aim for the candidate talking for a minimum of 55 to 60% of the interview - this is the only way you’ll find out if they are suitable for the position.

2. Ask candidates at least some of the same open ended questions

This will demonstrate that they have the ability to think on their feet and give you, the interviewer, the opportunity to identify their personal traits, understanding of the subject matter and attitudes through the answers given. Using the same open-ended questions will also show a direct comparison between all the different applicants based on their responses.

Assumptions can be made prior to an interview based on CV checking and telephone conversations therefore this is their opportunity to convince you that they are the person for the job.

3. If the role is a key position try and ensure a 2 stage interview procedure

Whilst it is not always possible with every job, an interview procedure with 2 or more stages is the perfect way to double check you are making the right choice. Through introducing a secondary interviewer and ensuring the candidate has had to do some preparation for the second interview you can double check any thoughts or concerns are correct. If the candidate has prepared properly you should be convinced you’re making the correct decision after the second interview.

4. Ensure the candidate leaves the interview wanting the position

I believe this is the most important part of the interview process. Whilst I agree that difficult questions and scrutiny of work history, skills and suitability are essential when interviewing I am sure most of us have left an interview thinking - ‘I couldn’t work for that person even if they did offer me the job’!

Whilst a candidate needs to know exactly what will be expected of them should they be successful at the interview, it is equally important to focus on some of the benefits to them of securing employment. Discussing how pleasant their office/work environment will be, working hours, salary, career progression can all be used to create incentive. This is obviously far easier if you have taken the time to find out what is important to the candidate.

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