Founder of Wilson Grey

Improve your interview process – 6 questions to ask yourself before interviewing candidates.

In an applicant lead market with a skills shortage, businesses need to ensure they’re not only doing everything to attract the best talent, but also that they aren’t making any mistakes in the interview process. This can either be hiring the wrong people or letting the good ones slip through the net.

1. Have you identified your needs?

Take the time to reflect on your business and the team you’re building. What are the essential skills you’re looking for and what makes a good “team fit”. If someone has the right skills but the wrong personality traits, could they still be an asset to your business? Be clear on the skills you need throughout the organisation but don’t start creating roles or taking a gamble simply because someone comes across well.

2. Do you have a results-focussed process?

Once you are clear on the skills and attributes that will drive your business, put together an interview process that all potential hires will be subject to. Decide how many stages are involved and importantly, which questions to ask and any potential skills tests you could include. Then be sure every candidate undergoes this process to give consistency to your approach throughout the management team and produces consistent results across teams. Not happy with the results? Then tweak your process.

3. Are you wasting time?

Before committing to sit down with candidates be sure your screening process is effective. After reviewing CVs an initial telephone interview works well to cover the basics of what you’re looking for. Once you’re happy with this you can invite candidates to conduct a skills test, if appropriate, or go straight to a formal interview. If there is more than one stage to an interview, make sure colleagues that are involved later in stages don’t have a holiday or meetings looming that could delay the process and see you lose out to competitors.

4. Have you put yourself in the hot seat?

What are your USPs and why would someone choose to join you over your competitors? Don’t enter into an interview assuming that candidates are there because they already know they want to work for you. Remember that you are also being interviewed so be prepared to talk about your business, the role you’re hiring for and why you believe someone would want to work for you.

5. Have you thought about the questions you’re asking?

As well as asking about the skill set you’re looking for, structure your interview with questions that everyone will face to ensure someone’s a good hire for you. These should always be composed to give you answers on which you can decide whether someone will be an asset or not. Think about what attribute each question is testing, what does a “good” answer look like and have you covered all the bases. By all means engage in “small talk” to make a candidate relaxed or bring more personality into an interview but remember to stick to what is relevant and legal (if you’re not sure, best not to ask).

6. What happens to candidates after they leave the interview?

Once your decision is made, inform the candidate as soon as possible. If it’s positive you need to be ready to issue an offer and you don’t want to risk them arranging other interviews in the meantime because they haven’t heard from you. If it’s not positive, also let them know quickly with constructive feedback. You want each candidate to feel that they had a positive experience with your business which will ultimately help build your reputation as a reputable employer.