Selecting people is just about the most important thing a business owner or manager does. It should not be left to chance – interviews should be planned.
- Prepare or review the job description. This should describe the main tasks to be performed, the desired outputs or results and how this will be measured. It should list the technical knowledge or skills, level of experience and personal attributes required to be successful in the role.
- Prepare a marking scheme for candidates. This should list the requirements of the role and have spaces for positive evidence, negative evidence and a score against each.
- Prepare a structured interview. This is a series of questions designed to establish positive or negative evidence against each of the required attributes. These should be open questions which encourage the candidate to talk, rather than closed questions leading to a simple “Yes” or “No”. The questions should be layered so that you can drill down and get evidence of the previous experience or attitude if this is not volunteered.
- For certain roles you may need to deploy additional selection tests, such as role play, a presentation, psychometric tests or skills tests.
- Prepare a briefing pack for the candidates. This should include the job description, history of the organisation, organisation chart, any mission or value statements you have and so forth. Don’t forget that you are trying to sell the role to them and that good candidates will have a choice. Make sure that reception knows who to expect and how to welcome candidates.
- Have more than one interviewer. The panel should include the person who will be the direct supervisor of the new employee and someone with good technical knowledge of the area concerned. Agree who will lead the interview.
- Set aside sufficient time (60-90 minutes) and make sure that there are no interruptions. There is nothing more important than hiring the right people.
- Make introductions and explain why people are there. Set the scene – company background, mission, values. Why the vacancy has arisen and key challenges/expectations for the role. Explain that you are following a structured process so that you will sometimes have to move the interview on.
- Follow the structured interview and stick to the time allowed. Listen actively to responses, encourage the candidate to open up but keep things focused and relevant. Cover all the questions and get evidence for all answers.
- Allow time for their questions at the end.
- Complete your notes and scoring immediately and compare with the other interviewers to reach a consensus.
- Take up all references and check all qualifications.
- Decide and appoint quickly – good candidates will have other options
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