Recruiters should keep in mind that effective interviews will result in revealing any potential red flags, reveal strengths, weaknesses and much more. Often a recruiter might consider this to be an easy task, but guess what? In reality, it's quite the opposite. You might have the job descriptions in place and your ATS & CRM software working absolutely well, but you will lose out on candidates if you're not effectively interviewing them. At some point, you might also think of shooting questions directly via the internet's help but if only the hiring process was this simple!
Interviewing candidates is considered to be one of the most significant portions of the hiring process. The subtlety in interviewing candidates lies in a recruiter's research capabilities, verifying skills, how well they're able to understand a candidate beyond their abilities and so on. Here below are some of the most actionable tips on how a recruiter can successfully interview a candidate and ask questions that truly matter.
How Should Recruiters Interview Candidates Efficiently?
A recruiter shouldn't completely depend on the job descriptions to create a list of questions for the prospective candidate. Below are 10 effective tips that will help you in the long run.
1. Note Down Essential Skills Required For The Job
Before doing the above, it's important for recruiters to first attract the right candidates via their job descriptions. For instance, if a recruiter is willing to hire for a position of a Software Engineer, he/she must mention the right skills required for the same. A proper job description must mention the right attitude required for the job apart from exceptional skills. Before you even schedule an interview, make sure you write down what are the skills you want to check a candidate has for this position in a company. Of course, the job description should be the blueprint to creating questions but it is advisable to not overindulge in the same.
2. Jot Down The Questions
Now that you have a fairer idea of what skills you want to look for and a basic idea of the questions, jot them down in a document or a notepad before beginning the interview. Ensure that you keep enough space to write down any notes that are essential during the interview process. Taking down notes will help you remember crucial details about them which might come to use later. Also, sticking to the same set of questionnaire while interviewing similar candidates for the same job role will help you overcome any bias.
3. Ask Detailed Questions About Their Previous Job Experiences
Recruiters frequently miss out on asking relevant questions related to a candidate's previous work experience. This is essential, especially for candidates with short-term roles (less than 2 years). It can be a sign of a problem and can help you understand quite a few things about the person. Once asked, if the applicant complains about their bosses and colleagues then it might be an indication of a sort of person who is a bit hard to get along with. Also, for instance, if the candidate tells they left because they had to work extra on weekends or sometimes late at night and if the job you're recruiting for demands the same, then probably this is not the right candidate for you.
Just as you would want the other person listening to your questions as you ask them, it's courteous if the interviewer does the same. If you feel that the candidate is nervous, make sure you listen and take the conversation off-track for a second, ask him/her about their personal experiences in life, any volunteering activities and so on. It's obvious for the applicants to find job interviews very stressful and they're often found anxious during the same, so remember to ease the atmosphere. If it's a virtual interview or an in-person one, make sure you explain the dress code needed and the company's goals and any other vital information that they should research upon before showing up. It's expected of a recruiter to make the candidate feel welcome and warm.
5. Ask For Real-Life Solutions
Questions like, "What are your strengths?" and "What are your weaknesses?" are a thing of the past. Show off your recruiting game by stating real-life problems and asking for a rational solution. For example, if your team suffers from creating good content, lacks a digital presence or engagement with their target audience, ask them how their role in the company can efficiently increase it. This will make sure that the person you're hiring knows how to deal with problems, approaches a problem in the right way and also has a fair amount of hacks up his/her sleeves to solve it.
6. Don't Involve Too Many People On The Interview Panel
Recruiters often ask other senior employees of the organisation (holding a similar job role) to help assess the candidates better. This is truly understandable but having more than 4-5 people can intimidate the candidate and who knows you might actually lose out on a great one? Therefore, it's often advisable to have not more than 3 people on an interview panel. Having a few others on the panel can help you decide better and ensure that you're really hiring the right candidate for the role.
7. It's Your Duty To Sell The Job
If the candidate you're interviewing leaves a great first impression and you conclude that he/she is ready to take on the second round or even the third round, then make sure you take the opportunity in the second interview itself to sell the job. Recruiters shouldn't make selling the job position a priority in their first interview round since this affects the main objective. If there's anyone from the company that the candidate would like to meet and ask them in person how a day in their life goes, they should be welcome to do so. All in all, the entire process should be fun. Too much seriousness can make the interview really dull having a major effect on the candidate experience.
8. Understand Whether The Candidate Can Adjust
Talent acquisition professionals shouldn't put too much effort into finding out who is the most culturally fit candidate. Rather, they should focus more on understanding whether a candidate can adapt to the culture or has abilities to adjust. Engage in conversations and understand whether they like working independently or are they more productive when working collaboratively as a team? This way you're not obsessing over hiring a culturally fit candidate.
9. Salary Expectations?
This is extremely crucial when it comes to interviewing candidates effectively. You and the candidate should be primarily on the same page even after negotiations. The easiest way to go about this is to ask them how much they are currently drawing from their job and their expectation from the job that they're interviewing for. It's more than often found that there is a vast difference between the above and when they end up receiving a salary well below what they expected, recruiters can conclude that he/she will lookout for a new job soon, even if they end up joining the company.
10. Ask Them What's One Thing They Are Passionate About
In the end, the concept of how to interview candidates will not come about from a textbook but from experience. The main agenda is to make your candidates feel comfortable. Ask your candidates what's one thing they are extremely passionate about in life and get ready to receive some really amazing replies like– 'I love cooking Polish food', or 'I am passionate about creating digital art' and some even bring their food samples for recruiters to taste! Smart, isn't it?