As recruiters, we tell our candidates that preparation is the key to ensuring they perform well at interview and communicate the reasons why they are the best person for the job. As an employer the same is true, as preparation will ensure your valuable time is well used and that at the end of the interview process you will have done all you can to successfully recruit someone new to your team.

You should have used your job description and person specification to create an effect job advert that attracts the right type of candidates, with the skills you are looking for – or your HR team may have done that for you. Your next job is to prepare interview questions that ensure you get the very best from the candidates you interview and allow them to demonstrate their skills and experience. By focusing on behavioural and situational questions you will encourage candidates to tell their story. Questions like “how would you tackle a negative comment on a Twitter post” for example, will get candidates to think on their feet.

Have You Read the CV?

You don’t want to spend time asking for information a candidate has already provided so take time to read the applicants CV before the interview. You can then ask questions that allow them  to elaborate on any experience you find interesting or you feel might be suited to the role.

Plan time before and after the interview, as well as setting an agenda and time frame for the interview itself. You don’t want to be flying into an interview unprepared and unfocused, or having no time between each one to draw breath before you see the next candidate.

As much as possible, ask the same questions of all candidates and record answers on a check sheet. Of course, it’s fine to add more questions to delve a bit deeper into a candidates answer but having a score sheet will help keep you focused during the interview and aid your decision making process when comparing candidates.

The Candidates Interview Experience

Candidates are also evaluating at interview so knowing information about the company, it’s structure and strategy as well as what perks and benefits the job offers is important. You don’t want to lose the perfect candidate because they think you don’t have a clear vision of the business and what you can offer them as an employer – the candidate interview experience is important too! Make sure you know what the next stages of the recruitment process will be and when they will expect to hear back from you.

Take time after interview to review your notes on each candidate rather than making a quick decision based on gut feel. Your gut might be right but by reviewing the answers to your interview questions you’ll make sure that the successful candidate has the right skills and experience for the job.

Don’t leave it too long to let the candidates know your decision. Candidates may still be pursuing other job opportunities, so you don’t want to lose out to another employer by delaying your decision making and making an offer. It’s important to update unsuccessful candidates too and ideally give them feedback. They may not be the right person for the job now, but in the future they may have gained more experience and be the right fit for another post within the organisation. They will be more inclined to consider working for you if they had a positive interview experience the first time around!