Recruitment Interviewing Tips


4 Jul, 2014

It has been estimated by the Society of HRM, Saratoga Institute that the cost of a bad hire is 1-2 times the employee’s annual salary. There is the cost of any termination payments, cost of hiring including advertising and recruiters costs, the administration time and lost time of your involvement not to mention that any new person is only at best 60% productive for the first few months while they learn the ropes.

It pays to get your hiring decisions right from the beginning. Hiring a new employee doesn’t have to be stressful or challenging. With a bit of preparation and work, you will be more likely to hire the perfect person for your role.

Top 10 tips for recruitment interviewing

Prepare for the process

Before you advertise, take time to review the role and what you are looking for. Write down the skills and experience a high performer in the role will need to have, as well as the qualities that you are looking for in a great employee. These become your selection criteria – the things you measure each candidate against to check their match.

Set time aside

Book time into your diary to review applications, make appointments and interview candidates. Unless you schedule in uninterrupted time you will rush through the process and make poor choices.

Work out what’s in it for the candidate

Be clear why your business and this role is a great opportunity for candidates. You need to convince people to apply so you need to work out why you stand out from other employers.

Listen more than you speak

When you get to the interviewing stage, you want to listen to the candidate more than you speak. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to probe for more information. Listen to the tone of voice, ease of answering and clarity of answers.

Aim to get the best out of each candidate

You want each candidate to show you the best they can be. This is not a competition to see how they perform under pressure – any interview is by itself a stressful situation. Work out ways to make it easy for them which could include giving them the main questions you are going to ask a few minutes before they come into the interview.

Take notes

After a long day of interviewing it is hard to remember exactly who said what. Try and take verbatim notes of answers as it helps when you are comparing candidates.

Make sure your questions are legal

All questions must comply with anti-discrimination legislation. This means you can’t ask questions about things such as age, marital status, if they have a disability, if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, if they are gay, if they are union members, their childcare arrangements or their religious beliefs.

Tell the truth

Don’t try and oversell a role or dance around negative parts of the job. You are more likely to get and retain the right candidate if you paint an honest portrait of the role and all it involves.

Make your next steps clear

Be clear to candidates on the next steps of the process. If you are going to conduct referee checks (and you should), check the contact details of referees. Explain when you will be making your decision and how you will contact them.

Keep your process fast

The best candidates don’t stay on the market long. If your recruitment process drags on you are likely to lose them. Aim for a quick yet thorough process, no more than 7 days in length of time of close of applications to decision.

There are a lot of factors that go into a successful recruitment process. If you keep these 10 foundation points in mind you will be more likely to achieve the results you are looking for in filling your role.

Want even more tips on how to improve your interview techniques? Read more about effective recruitment interview questioning techniques.

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HR Author and Lecturer with over 25 years' experience in human resources and workplace relations in Australia. Lead Author of Instant HR Policies & Procedures, NDIS Direct Employment HR Manual, and Employee Performance Reviews: Tips, Templates and Tactics.

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