Your guide to interviewing

HireHive Team
HireHive Team

Interview time is precious. It’s that brief window of time, where you get the opportunity to speak to a candidate and assess if they do cut the mustard. Here are some interview techniques!

This brief window of time is essential for getting the right hire for the role, so you should do everything in your power to get the preparation done and to get the scheduling right. With recruiting software, getting through CVs and applications is pretty straightforward and keeping up communication with candidates is very simple.

You’ve also got the option to schedule interviews. With these tasks taken off your to-do list, you’ve got the time and resources to get down to the nitty-gritty of interviewing and making a connection with your applicants. Interviewing often requires a very acute understanding of what you need in hard skills and experience. A candidate might be bright and experienced, but are they suited to what you need at your organisation?

There are a number of key aspects to get right in the process of interviewing. You need to schedule. You need to review the CVs of the candidates who make the interview stage. You need to organise an interview space and facilities. You need to accommodate candidates to the best of your ability. You need to assess each individual interview afterwards. Using recruiting software can help you keep unified and well-documented notes on each candidate, as well as keeping up lines of communication.

Try to sort interviews for a time of the day when you are most alert. Evenings or late afternoons are probably a universal no.

Even the scheduling of dates and times is catered for. Not only is this process essential for the recruiter, it’s a massive opportunity to give a candidate a positive introduction to your organisation. A professional, productive, engaging interview is the best way to attract talented candidates. In this guide, we hope to give you a useful overview of tips and techniques to make the most of your interviewing time with candidates, as well as preparing those involved in the process.

Creating relevant social media content is a great way of increasing your reach and finding more relevant, interested candidates. Candidates will do their research and an active social media presence, where the whole team is involved will, of course, leave a lasting impression. Social media recruiting is what you make of it so take the time to set out your strategy and get the best out of what the social network can offer you. In this handbook, we aim to point out a few strategies and hints to give you confidence in embarking on your own adventure in social media recruiting.

Interview scheduling

Scheduling interviews is a fine art. Balancing your time, the time of your colleagues and the time of your candidates is no small task. Not only do you have to get the time right, but you have to get the very best out of that short time with a potential new hire.

At the interviewing stage, you are down to the top 10 or so candidates out of all applicants.

Candidate experience

There’s normally only one thing that candidates take away from the interviewing process, and that’s the thought “oh shoot! I forgot to mention that.” A candidate should not be taking away a poor impression of you or your organisation. You should respect a candidate’s time when scheduling interviews. Interviewing may require them to travel or even take time off from their current job, so balancing your time and theirs is the challenge you face.

One idea is planning pre-interview time to review a candidate’s CV one last time. It gives you a little extra buffer time between interviews and prep time for the next. A good general guide is that an interview will take 40 minutes, so you can use that as a guideline for scheduling time per candidate.

That little bit of prep time also gives you the opportunity to focus your interview, which will allow the candidate the best opportunity to express themselves and save you time. You should also avoid ping-pong of dates and times if possible. Though you are likely to be busy, it’s easier to go by the candidate’s free time.

Another thing

Avoid rescheduling as best you can. For the reasons highlighted above, among many others, it can be difficult for a candidate to make the time to see you, as much as they might want the role. Keeping appointments makes people feel valued and that’s exactly the first impression you want when recruiting.

If someone feels they’re being squeezed in for the sake of it, it does not inspire confidence. Dividing your time Getting the timing right is essential for getting the most out of your interviewing time. Try to sort interviews for a time of the day when you are most alert. Evenings or late afternoons are probably a universal no. We’ve all found ourselves putting sugar packets into the canteen fridge or addressing emails to Ms John Smith when it hits the 4 pm mark. Best leaving interviews for earlier in the day. Along with block booking rooms, you’ll have to make sure that the relevant hiring managers or staff members are free on the days you plan on interviewing.

A shared calendar, using tools from your recruiting software and tools like Google Calendar are universal solution to such problems. It’s essential to get the interview process right, so as not to slow the hiring process. Getting it wrong means greater expense, time and pressure on other employees. A little bit of organisation and planning before, as well as during, the interview process makes a world of difference.

Pre-interview

From having a quiet space to interview, to having a pen and paper to write with, organise any necessary resources beforehand. At the risk of sounding like your former history teacher, if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.

Preparation will save you time, effort and potential embarrassment. Have printed copies of CVs prepared for more effective note-taking. Block book an interviewing room, if that is necessary in your office. If not, make sure to have a quiet corner set aside for the interview period.

If you need to incorporate a test or assessment into your interview, make sure you have a laptop or tablet set up and available for use. In addition to making sure everyone taking part in the interview is free, have a meeting beforehand setting out your objectives and going through the job description/job requirements once more. You should also whittle down to 10 or so top candidates to interview. Using recruiting software, this can be done with relative ease.

This is also an appropriate time to compile a list of essential skills and preferred skills for a candidate to have. The essential skills list should be much shorter than the preferred skills list. Reviewing your job spec is a useful exercise to reaffirm what you actually need as an organisation. With all this done, you should also prepare a list of questions, behavioural questions if you think they’ll be necessary.

With all of these preparatory tasks done and your list of candidates whittled down, it is advised that you do some initial reference checks and a look at a candidate’s background. Preliminary or casual online checks using LinkedIn are a quick way of doing this. Social media checks are also a good way of establishing if a candidate has the right attitude for your organisation.

Interview techniques and strategies

Branding on social media is really all about presenting your company in a positive light and showing what it’s like to work with you. Any good candidate will do their research when applying for a job or going for an interview, so it’s important that you’re letting the world know what sets your company apart.

Reputation is everything, so you need to create a clear, compelling picture of what it’s like to belong to your organisation. Your existing employees are the best brand ambassadors you have, so making sure everyone is on the same page is essential.

Branding is as much about your existing team, as it is any prospective candidates. Get your current employees to contribute to your social media platforms and communicate actively with them.

If you can articulate or share company values and principles via social media content, do it. Whether you’ve got unique employee benefits, you foster leadership or you have a five-a-side soccer team, letting candidates know will help them form a better understanding of your organisation. How you use various platforms can present a certain view of your organisation. You should assert yourself as an industry leader or a unique place to work.

For example, LinkedIn allows you to participate in groups related to your industry. It also facilitates the sharing of industry focussed content. Both of these allow your organisation to set itself apart as knowledgeable or industry leading. Do you have an active presence on social media platforms outside of LinkedIn? You can again regularly post industry expert content and communicate with industry experts to show your expertise.

You should keep a consistent professional voice across all platforms. You can offer a clear insight into what your company is about by having cooperation among all departments. Your online presence is essential for company branding and should consistently reflect what life at your organisation is like. Communications is pretty important to your company brand too, here’s where recruiting software can help greatly in communicating with candidates in a professional way

Post-interview

You should schedule time with the hiring manager and anyone involved in the hiring process after the interview, to review all candidates. Even in the minutes immediately after the interview, you should sum up the interview.

Take this time to review your grading rubric and your job requirements, to ensure that candidates are a good match.

Taking your remaining candidates, you should filter and categorise in stages. While personal preference will always be at the forefront of your mind, sticking strictly to your specifications is essential at this stage. If a candidate does not have a number of your must-haves, it is not wise to include them in the next stage of selection.

The list of must-have and preferred qualities in a candidate come in very useful at this stage. When you’ve eliminated the initial unsuitable candidates, the list of preferred skills can help you pick out the candidates with the greatest diversity of skills that could benefit your organisation. This should all be done in light of interview performance.

Aspects like attitude can be easily determined from interview performance and from the responses to your questions. If you have used behavioural questioning, you can make good culture matches and find someone with shared values with your organisation.

Candidates also need to feel they are respected, so follow-up should be relatively quick. Whether the answer is yes or no, you should part from candidates on positive terms, as this is the lasting impact you will leave on them about your organisation. Recruiting software offers a very straightforward means of keeping up contact.

You can send a personalised email template to candidates that have not been successful while sending a personalised follow-up email to those that are moving forward. 

Interviewing tools

Skype

Video interviews can save an awful lot of time, effort and money.

If you’re recruiting internationally or you want to do some intensive pre-screening, video tools may be the perfect option. Video facilitates a level of interaction that helps effective assessment of a candidate’s attitude and personality.

Scheduling tools

Google Calendar and Apple’s equivalent are universal tools, widely used by many. Sharing events with your colleagues and applicants is made simple using such tools. Marrying such capabilities with recruiting software is now possible with scheduling tools in HireHive.

Meetup.com

Interviews are essential because they allow you to meet candidates face-to-face. Nothing beats that interaction with potential hires. Meetup.com is ideal as you can meet a number of industry experts, with the level of knowledge and enthusiasm every organisation needs. Setting tests or tasks for candidates is not unusual. In fact, it is essential for assessing applicants for more technical roles.

There’s a wealth of solutions out there to determine whether your candidate cuts the mustard. CodeEval is just one solution for testing your candidates for technical roles.

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