In part one of this article, we looked at the steps to take that lead up to the interview process. You can refresh your memory of these steps here.
In part two, we’ll examine in more detail the process around holding the interview itself and how to onboard your new employee, followed by some critical advice on making your whole process run smoothly.
So, you’ve advertised the role, sorted through the applications and decided who to interview. Now it’s time to consider how to organise your interviews to help you select the best candidate.
Conducting the Interview
As I alluded to in part one of this article, making sure you have someone to meet and greet your candidates is a critical part of the interview process.
Sometimes companies forget that in a talent-short marketplace, how you represent your brand at all time is critical. And no more so than at interview. Offering refreshments, showing candidates where the restrooms are, conversing with them about their journey to the interview – all these things help relax the individual, making them less nervous and more likely to perform well. It also shows your business as a great place to work.
It’s also worth considering at the first interview stage if you could hold a Zoom or Skype interview with your candidates, especially if they need to travel long distances for a face to face interview.
There are several interview styles, and which one you chose will often depend on the job vacancy you are looking to fill. Examples of interview styles include:
Structured (formal, closed questions)
Unstructured (casual conversation)
Behavioural (examples of past, specific situations and how the candidate behaved)
Problem Solving (identifies, tests and measures candidate's approach to difficult and unusual situations)
Panel (multiple interviewing team, sometimes with external individuals)
Strength-based (what they enjoy, demonstrates potential)
During the interview, make sure you actively listen to candidates, rather than formatting your next question while they are talking. Listening to their response and how they consider the question will give you insight into how they think and may provide additional information about them that will help in your selection.
Actively listening also ensures you will not ask a question they have already answered in another!
Asking open-ended questions can provide inspirational answers and give you insight into the candidate’s personality and knowledge. For example, rather than asking “What was your last job title?” instead ask, “What is your vision for your organisation five years from now?”
Remember that it is good practice to list your questions but also have a proforma that allows you to easily compare and evaluate candidates against the same criteria. This ensures you are following equal opportunity requirements and provides a useful audit trail. It also gives perspective and allows you to consider candidates objectively.
You may also wish to use psychometric profiling such as Myers-Briggs, SHL OPQ or DISC, to help you assess applicants who would be a good fit for your team. This type of psychometric testing uncovers core values and beliefs as well as personality – what working style candidates have, their general behaviour, and how they interact with others.
After the Interview
It’s good practice to provide the candidates with timescales as to when second interviews will be held, and when you are likely to make an overall decision. This is especially useful if candidates have other options to consider.
For those individuals you would like to take forward to a second interview, providing them with areas to focus on at second interview will make it a more meaningful process for you both, and enable you to really understand the candidate and their motivations.
For unsuccessful candidates, providing personal and constructive feedback is critical in helping them with future interviews. You will also leave them with a favourable opinion of your company, so they are more likely to recommend you to others and apply for future positions themselves.
If you can, offer to reimburse travelling expenses. Sometimes, employers forget the significant investment an unemployed candidate may make securing last minute flights or train tickets to attend an interview at the other end of the country. If you are unable to offer reimbursement, a formal letterheaded confirmation of their interview means they may well be able to recoup expenses from their local jobcentre.
Additionally, don’t be tempted to reject unsuccessful candidates out of hand.
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes a candidate who has scored well and is enthusiastic may not be quite right for the current role, but by keeping them in your talent pipeline, if another position comes along which may be ideal for them, you will already have someone in mind; saving you time and money.
Making the Offer
It's critical to make a verbal offer to your chosen candidate as soon as possible. Keeping candidates waiting is almost guaranteed to make them believe they were unsuccessful, and they may accept a job offer elsewhere. It's also worth remembering that a verbal offer may be legally binding.
Your contract should be drawn up within a day or two of the verbal offer and sent to the candidate to formalise proceedings. Use this opportunity to specify how you will take up their references, as well as expanding on any other requirements you have for the role, such as a DBS check.
A note about counteroffers. Clients sometimes come in at the wrong level for candidates to accept initially. If your candidate requests a counteroffer, before dismissing their request, I advise exploring in detail the request.
Evaluate where the shortfall may be – is the candidate going to have to travel further to work? Is the bonus offer less than they were getting previously?
Also, consider the cost-benefit analysis – what value will they bring to your business overall? It's likely this will greatly outweigh the offer they are seeking.
Finally, once you have made a verbal offer, be punctual in following it up with paperwork and contracts. It’s also wise to signal, when the offer is made, that it is subject to references being taken up. Make the timeline for this process appropriate, so your chosen candidate is not holding back their resignation until you have accepted references and confirmed their new appointment.
Some Onboarding Advice
A note about onboarding: having completed an in-depth selection process, it's critical that you onboard your new employee correctly to ensure all your hard work was not in vain.
According to Forbes, there is a strong link between onboarding and employee turnover. Nearly all low-turnover firms (95 per cent) have an onboarding process that helps with retention. In contrast, 20 per cent of high-turnover firms do not have an onboarding process.
The first thing to remember is to keep in touch with your successful applicant regularly between the time they accept the new role and their first day with you.
For example, you could email the company newsletter and brief email introductions to key colleagues they will be working with. Encourage key colleagues to hook up with them on social media and make them feel involved in the company from the start. This will make their first day so much easier.
Once your new employee starts work, you can implement a plan to see them through the first weeks and months of their employment with you, ensuring they remain engaged, valued and feel part of the team.
Onboarding plays a pivotal role in an individual's initial perception of your organisation, so make sure it is a positive experience.
How to Simplify the Hiring Process
Hiring can be an exhausting process, but there is a simple way to streamline it.
In addition to being lengthy, hiring has a significant cost attached to it, so you need to be sure you're getting it right the first time. The cost of a single poor hire reported by 41 per cent of companies in a recent survey was around £20,000, and for managerial positions, it can be as high £33,000.
Additionally, making the wrong decision can impact on your other staff with unexpected additional workload and low morale if a new employee suddenly leaves after a few weeks.
Working with a specialist recruiter in the sector can take some of the pressure off you by providing not only access to a talent pipeline of ideal candidates but insider industry knowledge, help writing your job spec and advert, advice on the best way to hold your interviews and what questions to ask, as well as handling initial interviews (leaving you to select from a handful of final candidates) and working with you to onboard your chosen applicant.
By choosing to work with a specialist recruiter like Martin Veasey Talent Solutions, you could not only save time but cut costs too.
Here at Martin Veasey, we understand that your investment in a new hire means you want the whole process to run as smoothly as possible. With many years’ experience placing executive level candidates in their ideal job role, we can help create this smooth transition.
So, if you want to get the best from your selection process and you would like to work with an experienced recruiting partner, call us on 01905 381320 or get in contact here.
About Martin Veasey Talent Solutions
At Martin Veasey, we have been working with blue-chip and SME businesses for over 35 years, both in the UK and around the world.
We are an independent consultancy company with highly qualified staff, including many degree and Masters educated consultants, with memberships of professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the British Psychological Society.
We have unique expertise in hiring for senior roles in Board & Senior, Supply Chain & Logistics, Purchasing & Procurement, Manufacturing & Engineering, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Sales, Human Resources, plus many more.
If you are looking to work with a highly accomplished recruiting partner, you can call us on 01905 381320 or get in contact today.