How to recruit right first time with effective interviews

Interviews are a key part of the selection process when you’re recruiting your next team member. But there’s so much that can go wrong – from inconsistent questioning which creates an uneven playing field to questions which don’t get you the information you need to make a good decision.

As experts in recruitment, we’re often asked by clients for our advice on conducting effective interviews, so here are our top five tips:

1. Create questions and activities based on the role profile

An effective role profile should be the starting point for any recruitment. Done right, it will guide the remainder of the process. It also helps potential applicants to decide whether or not they want to apply, so spend time on creating a detailed profile, specific to the role you’re recruiting. Ensure it contains the key skills you’re looking for and then create interview questions and a relevant skills test linked to those skills

2. Pay attention to non-verbal signals

Of course, most candidates will be nervous when you interview them, but if you’re looking for someone warm who can empathise with your customers, open body language – smiling, looking you in the eye, leaning forward – is what you want to see. Someone who makes a bold statement about their abilities which isn’t backed up by confident body language might be embellishing what they’re really capable of

3. Add a team member to the interview panel

Interviewing shouldn’t only be the job of the hiring manager and HR. Presumably the role you’re recruiting to is part of a team, so involve one of them in the interview. It’s a great development opportunity for the team member and gets you a perspective on how the candidates would be viewed by the team if they got the job. It’s also important to observe how the candidate behaves towards the more junior member of staff as that could be an indicator of their real attitude at work

4. Give the candidate a chance to ask their questions

Whether an applicant has smart questions about your organisation can be a good benchmark of their commitment to this job – as opposed to any job – as well as a way to test whether they’ve done their research. For more senior roles, expect questions about company strategy and culture, rather than the standard holidays and dress code queries

5. Creating a scoring system

You need to be sure you’re recruiting the right person for their skills, not just for a personality the interviewers got along well with. A scoring matrix helps you remember which candidates did well on which questions and is a useful prompt if interviews are spread over a few days. It also helps you define in advance what brilliant looks like. In the future, a scoring matrix will be a valuable record of why recruitment decisions were made in case you need to refer to it

Our final tip is don’t be afraid not to recruit. Hiring the wrong person is expensive and can be more damaging to the team they join than having a vacant post for an extended period of time.

At Bagnall Hopkins we pride ourselves on matching the candidates we suggest to you not only to the skills you need, but the values of your organisation and the team they will work with. To discuss your latest vacancy and how we can save you time and money on recruiting to it, give us a call in Wakefield on 01924 365680, or in Huddersfield on 01484 509828.

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