Hiring the right people pt 1

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Establishing an Interview Process

Part 1 – Interviewer’s preparation
Part 2 – The importance of selling your company

There is an abundance of material available for candidates on interview preparation. However, interviewers often neglect to prepare properly, despite the fact that research shows the wrong hire costs an average 2.5x the annual salary of the employee. Getting the interview process right is in other words vital, as the right person can help you drive your business forward. In the first of Fram’s two-part guide, we discuss successful interviewing strategies from an employee’s point of view.

Preparation

Let’s be honest, interviewing for many is an inconvenience. You are busy with your main job (often too busy and that’s why you’re hiring) and then you’re faced with hours of interviews to add to your pain. However, as much as interviewing can be a distraction, it is vital to get the process right.

Therefore, having a robust interview process, which enables you to accurately test and compare candidates, is essential. Below we suggest a basic structure for interviews:

Time Activity

0-10 minutes Rapport building
10 – 15 minutes Understanding the interviewees current situation, and why they are looking for a new role. At this stage this can be brief, and used just to give you context
15 – 30 minutes Understanding interviewee’s work history
30 – 40 minutes Testing for skills and competencies you are particularly interested in
40 – 50 minutes Telling them about your business and the role
50 – 60 minutes Explain the next stages in the process, and again focus rapport building

Rapport Building

This has two main purposes: firstly people still do business with people. Candidates often feedback to us that one of the reasons they choose one company over another is that the interviewer took an interest in them as a person. Secondly, the quality of your conversation will be greater if the interviewee is relaxed.

Understanding the Current Situation

Most training courses will tell you to start with the candidate’s first job and then work through their CV to the current situation. However, experienced interviewers realise that context is important and therefore briefly understanding the candidate’s current situation is invaluable. It will help you probe specific areas later on.

Understanding Interviewee’s Work History

Having given the conversation context, you can then run through the candidate’s work experience. Taking time to focus on certain skills, and listen hard to ensure their experience meets your requirements.

Testing for Specific Skills

In possession of the full facts, and understanding the candidate’s work history you can now test for specific skills, experience, and competencies. Focus on asking “open questions”. These generally start with “What, How, Why, When, Who” and don’t be fearful of asking follow up questions, or asking a candidate the same thing in a slightly different way – really get to the bottom of a particular issue. Try and understand how much they contributed to a process vs. the team or business.

Often people don’t know what competencies to test for. If that’s the case, then you could do a lot worse than copying the extremely successful and respected Jack Welch, who was the former CEO of GE. Mr Welch would test interviewees using his Four E’s principle:

Energy – Hire Individuals with energy.
Energisers – These people know how to inspire others to perform. They outline a vision and get people to carry it out. Energizers know how to get people excited about a project. They give credit to others and accept responsibility when things go wrong.
Edge – Those with edge are competitive. They make difficult decisions, such as hiring, firing and promoting.
Execute – The key to the entire model. Executers recognise that activity and productivity are not the same.

Tell them About Your Business and The Role

Most businesses have a reputation and there are inaccurate perceptions (both good and bad) about all businesses. This is an opportunity to address these and to discuss the culture. If someone doesn’t share the same values as your business, then the relationship will never work. Also, you need to accurately describe the role to someone. Hiring is a great responsibility, as it affects someone’s life. It is also an opportunity to accurately set a candidate’s expectations about performance and progression. This is also an opportunity to sell yourself, a part many employers neglect – we will be discussing this point in more detail in part 2.

Explaining the Next Stages and Rapport Building

If you decide to progress with someone, explain the next stages and their manage their expectations regarding timescales. It they’ve failed the interview, you can either tell them there and then, or perhaps call them the next day. Regardless of what action you take, you should always provide constructive feedback.

Once this is done, it is time to close the interview. On the walk back to reception you can use this time to again build more rapport.

The golden rule

Listen. Too many interviewers take up the hour talking and don’t get the information they require.

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