With more companies competing for top talent, the interview stage has never been so crucial. Not just to discover whether or not a candidate is the right fit for the role - but if they are, to persuade them to join your team.
Here are four things that skilled interviewers to do make the process work for them - as well as their interviewee.
Is there any value in asking a candidate “If you were a biscuit, what would you be?” or “How many tennis balls would fit in this room?”
For some jobs in some sectors, oddball questions might give insights into character, thought process or problem-solving.
But when you’re interviewing for technical professional roles, like our clients at RHL do, the aim is to find out how applicants would handle real situations related to the job they’re going for.
So it’s usually better to stick to problems that are as close as possible to the team’s actual work. For example, ask the candidate to explain how they’d solve a small specific problem one of your teams has recently encountered. Or describe a process commonly used in the business and getting them to suggest improvements.
Many technical candidates demonstrate their abilities by including measurable accomplishments on their CVs, like percentages, figures or comparisons.
For example, “I was part of a team to improve process design which ended up reducing production cost by 18%.” Or “I worked closely with other members of the project team to deliver the strategy for a £5m infrastructure contract.”
The secret is to dig deep – as deep as you can - to get a clear picture on those claims, asking candidates to fully explain the part they played.
The process of establishing the full picture (and deciding for yourself whether their actual role matches what’s on their CV) can also give you valuable insights into how the candidate thinks about their previous role and achievements.
Hard technical skills backed up by industry-specific experience count for a lot when it comes to sleuthing out top talent.
But so do transferable skills like complex problem solving, critical thinking, active listening and flawless judgement.
And as more and more sectors face disruption thanks to emerging technologies, these kinds of timeless transferable skills are becoming even more crucial.
They may also be an extra consideration in categories of jobs that didn’t exist even a few years ago, like some of the fast-growing sectors we recruit for at RHL.
As brand new roles inevitably mean less candidates out there with that niche specialist knowledge, one solution is to look for candidates from other industries with skills that can be transferred and developed to make them industry-specific.
Top applicants are always in demand and it’s often about them making up their mind about your organisation as much as the other way round.
So the interview stage is a key time to show them what the job, the team and your company itself are about, including making your company culture work hard for you.
Get the candidate experience right - including at interview stage - and it’ll make star players more likely to accept a job offer if they turn out to be the chosen applicant.