The candidate interview is an important aspect of any recruitment consultant’s role. The interview provides an excellent opportunity for the recruitment consultant to see a situation through the candidate’s eyes. Carried out well, the consultant leaves an interview with a sense of the real motivation for applying, an assessment of capability, as well as the building blocks of rapport with the candidate. And all of these factors prevent misunderstandings later down the line in the client organization.
If you are new to recruitment, or find the candidate interview daunting, try following these 7 simple steps.
1. Open by explaining what the agenda holds and what you want to achieve from your time together. Clarify that honesty is key with regards to their experience. The answers they provide help you to find the most suitable role for them. In return you will provide feedback on their interview technique, as well as a realistic appraisal of their aspirations being met.
2. Question what the CV ‘tells’. Explore reasons behind career decisions to date. Chat through CV gaps. Start in the early stages of their work history, and work forward to the present in a natural flow.
3. Listen. This is so important we wrote a whole blog just on this topic. Listening is about hearing what is being said as well as what is not said. It requires focus and effort. Words, language, tone and voice are all important, as is body language. Trainee and experienced consultants alike fall into the trap of mentally finishing what they think the candidate is going to say and preparing their responses to those assumptions. Don’t become distracted and miss key information and signals in this way. Avoid putting the candidate off by lack of eye contact or incorrect posture. The interview is about discovery and collecting insights. Aim to set the best grounds for your candidate to speak up.
4. Clarify experiences and achievements, especially where evidence is not provided. Ensure that you fully understand what is presented to you. This paves the way for informed discussions on suitability and ability. You can also use this stage to check locations and salary expectations.
5. Sell. Now is the opportunity to discuss current suitable vacancies and facets of roles that the candidate may have concerns about and to overcome reservations. It is also your chance to widen the candidate’s requirements (location, salary, type of role). The less specific the requirement, the better the chance that you can help them.
6. Handle objections. How will the candidate react to different scenarios? In Step 6 we can test this. If the candidate says they are leaving their current role because they want a better salary, how will they react if the employer offers an increase in salary? These challenges gauge reactions to questions and to discuss the positives and negatives of staying put.
7. Close by agreeing a mutually beneficial plan of action. Ensure that you set realistic expectations of the candidate finding their ‘perfect’ role. Also clarify communication frequency with the candidate. You don’t want to lose a strong candidate by too little contact. But too much contact with all candidates saps time for other important tasks.
The candidate interview is an important part of the recruitment consultant’s role. Follow these simple steps to get better with each and every interview,
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