Friday 21 October 2011

Hire Right - The First Time by Ross Clennett

This is a guest post from Ross Clennett, The Recruiters Recruitment Expert.

Effective interviewing skills ensure you dramatically increase your chances of identifying the most suitable person for the job - the first time.

A recent research report about interviewing revealed the following; 

40% of respondents had declined an offer because of a poor interview experience

69% had experienced no response or feedback after a full interview

42% had experienced discrimination in an interview

30% had experienced rudeness in an interview, and

22% had been asked inappropriate questions, with respect to such things as their marital status, weight, dating habits (?) and sexual preferences.

The report further reveals, that of those people who experienced a bad interview 81% of them told up to 10 people about that bad experience!

Bad news travels very fast in the online world, as many companies have found out to their detriment. United Airlines discovered this recently after millions of people logged on to YouTube to watch aggrieved musician, Dave Carroll's witty ditty of complaint United Breaks Guitars

Whether you realise it or not, the way an interview is conducted provides a candidate with a window into your organisation and they may not like what they experience. The best candidates choose other opportunities and the average ones finish up being hired by you because they, and you, have less choice.

This is not an outcome that will help build a profitable organisation or one to be proud of.

Interviewing is similar to coaching, in that what appears to be ‘just a conversation' is in fact a structured, purposeful dialogue with a clear outcome in mind.

Here are my top 9 tips to increase your interviewing skills:

1. Before an interview commences understand what you need to know from the candidate to assess their appropriateness for the job and the questions you will ask to most effectively discover that information.

Questions that address issues irrelevant to job performance (eg. age, marital status, etc.) are not only useless questions in terms of identifying work related performance capability, but they annoy and deter good candidates.
2. Build high rapport. High rapport gains you high quality information from the candidate. Low rapport gains you low quality information.
3. Ask open questions rather than closed or leading questions to ensure that the candidate is not, consciously or unconsciously, biasing their answers with what they think you want to hear.
4. All good candidates have choices, so never assume the candidate wants the job you have on offer. Have a couple of powerful selling points that clearly demonstrate the benefits of your opportunity.
5. Understanding the context (i.e. degree of difficulty) of a candidate's past job performance is critical in ranking competing candidates and making an effective job match.
6. Evidence based answers drawn from past performance are the only effective way to assess competencies. Theoretical knowledge or speculative answers (‘would do', ‘could do', ‘should do') have a low correlation to actual competencies and performance.
7. Understand both the core competencies and the primary motivators required in the job and then interview candidates against these criteria to ensure that each candidate can both do the job and want to do the job.

8. Technical skills become relatively less important the more senior the job compared to behavioural competencies and personal motivators, so don't fall into the trap of placing too much emphasis on technical expertise (eg. years of experience and qualifications), especially in leadership roles.

9. Beware of ‘nice’. You are interviewing to assess a potential employee’s capability and motivation, not to add to your friendship circle. You may like a nice, friendly person after interviewing them but you won’t like them for much longer if you employ them and they can’t do the job adequately or if they aren’t motivated to do the job.

Ross Clennett is also a popular speaker, trainer, writer and coach on recruitment trends, recruitment skills and the recruitment industry in Australia. For more information on Ross’s services please visit his website here or email

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