Job interviews are the way most organisations recruit but how reliable are interviews in finding the right person and how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of the process? Cheryl Bennett, Pelican’s organisational and people development specialist looks at the best way to recruit. Cheryl’s areas of expertise include culture change programmes, management training, executive coaching, team building and psychometric assessment.
Many of us think we know how to interview and select the right people when recruiting. I am sure we all think this is a pretty straight forward task. After all how hard can it be? But ask yourself: do you think you can pull the wool over someone else’s eyes at times? Most people would say ‘yes’, and if this is the case, what makes you think that someone else can’t do that to you?
It’s no surprise that recruitment companies often have a money back cut-off of three months, because it can take nearer six months to decide if someone is right for your organisation or for that person to decide if your organisation is right for them!
So how do you make sure you are recruiting the right person? Well my answer is quite simple really: find out the answer to three magic questions:
1. Can they do the job?
2. Will they do the job?
3. Will they fit in?
I suggest that it is impossible to be sure of answering all three questions simply at an interview. My experience tells me that interviews are the most unreliable method of selection. Research from a study carried out by Monster shows how first impressions can completely ruin a candidate’s chance of being offered a job: for example more than two thirds of employers (71 %) are immediately put off if the interviewee has tattoos .
So how do we answer the three magic questions? The best approach is to use a multi-assessment approach known as the ‘assessment centre’. This needn’t be complicated or long winded but is proven to be much more robust and objective than an interview alone.
Putting it into practice
Now how do you create the assessment process? Well, follow these simple steps:
• Decide what good looks like:
Ensure you have a profile of your ideal applicant. This includes a job description and a set of competencies against which you can measure the candidate. It is important to compare applicants against this profile and not against each other.
• Use the profile in the job advert:
This helps the applicants decide if they are right for the job and if the job is right for them. Remember that recruitment is two-way so include something to entice also: what is good about working for you? What benefits can you offer?
• Put together an assessment process:
It’s easy to find out ‘Can they do the job?’ All you need to do is decide which tools will assess which skills. A really good process will test each essential competency without simply relying on the applicant’s word.
The hardest of the magic questions to answer is ‘Will they do the job?’ This is better done through a psychometric test such as a personality questionnaire. This tells you what is not always visible such as deep-rooted characteristics and energy levels.
• Don’t do it alone:
Make sure that other people are involved in the assessment process: it is much more robust and objective this way. Ensure those who are involved are clear on what is required so they are looking for the right evidence too.
• Use behavioural interviewing:
The interview usually answers the question of ‘Will they fit in?’ Be careful that you don’t wander off topic or ask leading or hypothetical questions, as the applicant will simply tell you what they think you want to hear. It is vital to ask questions that will provide real examples and gather ‘live’ evidence. For example:
• Ask about their part in event which definitely occurred, as past performance is the best predicator of future performance
• Gather information from what you see in the interview such as making a good initial impression, speaking fluently, listening well or building rapport.
Make sure you stop the candidate speaking in generalisations such as ‘usually…’ and using ‘we’ instead of ‘I’.
• Score applicants
Use a rating scale for each competency being assessed and make sure you score each candidate against it. If there are several people assessing candidates then share scores at the end of the process and use that to make the decision. This will not only help you to make a good decision, but will also protect you from any claims of discrimination that may be made from a disgruntled unsuccessful applicant.
Pelican Communications is a specialist in the environment, food and drink, outdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offers a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management, design and people development. Contact us for marketing and communications expertise.