If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well – the interview process is no exception. If you want to attract and retain top talent, then you need to optimise your interview process.
1) Get the job ad right in the first place
A successful job advert will attract the right talent to your brand. In order to control the number of applications you receive, it’s important that you’re clear as to what you expect from the applicants.
It’s no good attracting a huge number of applicants if 75% of them aren’t qualified or don’t have sufficient experience in order to be considered for the role.
Be specific about what the role requirements are and what you expect from the applicants. It may seem like you’re asking a lot, but in the long run you’ll attract an employee right for the role and an appropriate fit for your business.
Make sure the advert’s clear and easy to understand, don’t invent ridiculous job titles that only someone working for your brand would understand and, please, don’t advertise for Jedis or Wizards!
To make the advert clear and easy to read, use shorter sentences and bullet lists where applicable. Ensuring that applicants can quickly digest and understand the requirements will increase the chances of the right people applying.
2) Filter your applications to a manageable number
There will be certain factors that you can immediately use to filter the non-successful applicants from those who will progress in the process.
Those applicants who are borderline should be assessed by all those concerned and an agreement made as to whether or not an interview will be scheduled.
Using eRecruitment software to reduce the administrative burden is an effective way to streamline the interview process and ensure that notifications are sent and schedules maintained.
Killer questions can be used during the application process that immediately filter out applicants who are ineligible or not qualified for the role.
3) Read CVs, don’t just scan them
Once you have your interviewees, make sure you read their CVs as opposed to skimming through them without really taking anything in.
These are potentially employees who you’ll be investing in and wanting to retain, not doing them the courtesy of reading their personal advert is starting things off in the wrong way.
It’s also important that you know about the applicant in readiness for the interview process. You’ll have a much better idea of their suitability if you can ask the right questions based on their particular CV.
4) Personalise the interview questions
As mentioned above, it’s important to ask specific questions (as well as the more generic ones) based on that applicant’s experiences, qualifications and interests. If you simply prepare a list of generic questions, then you may very well miss something that could be of great benefit should that person be employed.
The reason you’re interviewing a number of applicants is to ascertain what makes them different from the rest, if you settle for a generic interview process and questions then you may not find out what that difference is.
5) Inform other areas of the business of the applicant’s visit
An applicant is also a visitor to your business and is just as likely to talk about their time with you as anyone else.
If your offices aren’t portraying the correct message, then you’re in danger of sending the wrong message to all those who the interviewee speaks to.
Things to consider include language in the office, stats visible such as sales or data protection, health and safety concerns.
6) Dress accordingly (it’s not just the applicant who needs to)
Many companies operate casual dress policies, but even if this is the case an interview situation calls for business dress. If the interviewee arrived in jeans and a t-shirt, then they’d probably not stand a chance, but they deserve equal respect from any potential employer.
Dressing accordingly for an interview will also put you, the interviewer, in the right frame of mind; be professional and act accordingly. Remember, in the interview you’re representing your brand.
7) Be honest about the role and brand
There’s no point in making outlandish promises to talent regarding the role or company in general. If you’re not honest with new employees, then they’re unlikely to stick around for long, which will burden you with the additional expense of looking for a replacement.
Honesty and transparency are two factors that separate average brands from the top ones that people want to work for and purchase from. Maintaining these values during the interview process will create a culture in line with your brand values.
8) Be polite and respectful
Being rude, overly aggressive, trying to catch applicants out and just not showing any respect is not the professional thing to do. This isn’t The Apprentice and any applicant in their right mind would most likely turn down a job offer from someone that had been rude and disrespectful for no apparent reason – why would they want to work with someone like that!?
Again, you’re representing your company brand; if this representation is one of arrogance, rudeness and general nastiness, then you could very well do some damage to your company name. People are more than happy to complain to anyone who will listen online and won’t be worried about naming your brand specifically.
9) Follow up with every interviewee
In a recent article Richard Branson spoke about how everyone should be treated the same, whether they’re successful in the application or not.
Following up with everyone is not only good PR and great for your employer brand, but it will also help to build a talent pool and persuade those applicants who may not have been successful this time to try again in the future. It’s also just a nice thing to do, which is rare these days and will make you stand out from the competition.
10) Learn and improve
Learning from what went well, what didn’t and what parts of the process require improvement, should be an ongoing campaign. There’s no such thing as a perfect interview process, but by learning as you go you’ll start to reap the rewards of attracting great talent and retaining them.
Asking successful applicants to provide feedback on the interview process, as part of their onboarding, is a useful way to get an honest opinion regarding the ease of use, communication and overall experience.