01 Dec 2020

Being a Good Interviewer

There are so many horror stories out there and we have heard most of them of an interview that just did not go well.

We have had instances where companies have not reviewed someone’s background to forgetting that they even had an interview with a prospective employee. (Not all of these were organized by us by the way, we hear all the stories and impressions of candidates with potential employers).

It is so important to realise that the way you interview people who are considering joining your company creates an overall impression of what your company is about, even if and in a lot of cases, especially if you don’t hire them.

The key elements to any interview are assessment and alleviation of tension for the candidate and they are equally important.

Firstly, you should have some level of preparation and this includes reviewing the candidate’s resume as well as taking on board any commentary from your recruiter if you are using one. I think really it comes down to taking an interest in the person who could be joining your team. Long gone are the days where an interview is an interrogation. In the world we live in today it is a 50/50 split between you interviewing someone and them interviewing you and your organization.

Increasingly in the market with the rare nature of top talent, especially in sales there is a real need for you to highlight what the benefits there are from joining your company. Increasingly there has been a shift from the premise of an interview being “why should I employ you” to “why should I work for you”.

So, take the time to prepare and explore the person in front of you as a person first and an employee second.

The real art of a quality interview is to make the conversation flow, whilst being able to perform an objective assessment of the candidate you are interviewing and whether they fit the role and your team. Have a consistent set of questions but allow flexibility. Nothing ever goes completely to script in an interview.

Choose your key questions carefully. There should be at least 5-10 questions that are asked to all potential employees. Record the answers! This will give you an objective framework of assessment and comparison. It will also help you avoid the halo effect, where you gravitate towards applicants that you are biased towards due to their rapport with you as an individual. It is so dangerous to conduct a subjective interview and by default we all have a predilection towards this.

Whilst a way to remove this is to interview with more than one interviewer, it is important to understand the response both conscious and sub-conscious response from the candidate you are interviewing. I can’t stress enough that an interview is an extension of your brand and you need to make the experience positive for the interviewee regardless of the outcome.

Be willing to go off the agenda and questions within reason of course.

The purpose of an interview is to determine whether the candidate has the skills to do the role and the demeanour to fit the team. It is an artificial setting. The real challenge is to make the experience as natural as possible. Of course, this is completely up to you.

We had a candidate attend an interview once where he was profusely nervous as he genuinely coveted the position he had applied for. The sales manager who interviewed him picked up on the cues and impulsively decided to shift the interview location from the company premises to a local café. This was a master stroke as the candidate relaxed and was able to demonstrate his capability. Whilst the candidate did not get the role (he came a close second) it was remarkable to hear him praise and promote the company that he was not employed by.

It is the little things that make such as big difference. The intelligence and empathy of the sales manager meant that the company had a brand ambassador for their business even though the candidate was not ever a part of their organization.

At Salexo we continue to encourage the human element that is essential to all interactions, especially in interviews. We have the challenge of keeping the best interests of our candidates and clients in mind at all time. Above all be real and appreciate that interviews are human interactions. The impressions on your brand are formidable regardless of the outcome and can be extremely positive if you take the time to interview in the right manner.

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