Hiring people is a daunting, and for some, a really unpleasant task. I have spoken to a number of hiring managers and they all have a story to tell of a disastrous interview they conducted or an interview that went so well only to find out later that the candidate was unapologetically lazy/negative/aggressive.
1. Have a plan
Interviewing without a plan is like base jumping without a parachute. It’s dangerous.
- How many interviews are you going to conduct?
- Who is going to be in each interview?
- What is each person’s role in the interview room?
- What are your timelines?
Once you have this plan you can then decide on what questions to ask
2. Formulate questions
There are many different theories around what to ask in an interview to identify the best possible candidate for the job. Some prefer a relaxed approach by asking one or two questions that will lead to a conversation and others prefer asking very specific skill related questions.
There is no right and wrong way to do this. You will know best what type of person will fit into your culture and questions can be formulated around this. It’s important to pace your interview with the following structure:
- The first few questions can be aimed at loosening up the candidate such as “Tell me what you typical day looks like”, this will help in starting a conversation which is after all what you’re aiming to do.
- You can then move onto specific skills that they possess with questions such as “to date, what has been your biggest challenge at work, and how did you overcome/solve this?”
- Now you can try to find out a bit more as to what motivates this person with “If I gave you a blank cheque for R500 million, what would you do with it?” Says Laura Reynolds CEO of Recruitgroup: “this really allows us to understand the internal motivations of a person; they might want to give it all to charity or buy themselves a huge mansion. No answer is wrong; however it’s a good indicator of where they want to go with their life.”
- End off the interview with explaining your timelines, when you’ll get back to them (and stick to that deadline) and what the process is further.
3. Cast Your Net
Whether it’s through a careers page on your website or through recruitment agencies, you will need to gather top talent to interview.
Interview – You may be asking yourself how you will be able to tell a good candidate from an average or bad one? So in order to make the decision easier there are a few guidelines that you can follow:
- Make sure that you listen. Treat the interview like any other business meeting with no phone calls, emails or any other interruptions.
- Try to avoid typical questions for example: “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” These are questions that the candidate has probably spent hours preparing for and their answer will be centered on what you want to hear and not necessarily what is accurate. “My biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist” is a firm favourite.
- Try to avoid describing the job in too much detail in the first interview. A brief overview is enough, more can be discussed in the second round.
4. Do relevant background checks
This can be through contacting previous employers or running criminal checks (with the candidates consent).
5. Offer stage
This is the most crucial stage. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of what salary the candidate is on, and what they are looking for. Too much great talent has been lost by over-promising and under-offering or general miscommunication at this stage.
Business owners have the best intentions to stay on track with their recruitment, however the daily responsibilities of running a business often take over. Your entire recruitment process for one role should not take longer than 2 weeks from interview to offer stage. Anything longer than this and you run the risk of losing top talent to competitors.
Finally it is important to remember that gut instinct often plays a very important part in hiring people. Don’t disregard what your inner voice tells you about a person, after all you know your business better than anyone else.
Related: Never Hire a Honey Badger