Finlay James

Squeezing the Most out of an Interview to Secure the Top Talent

Squeezing the Most out of an Interview to Secure the Top Talent

Know your objective - As an employer, before an interview you need to think what is the objective of the interview and what do you want to get out of it. Sure you want to find the best person for the job, but how are you going to do this? Once you know your objective you can tailor your approach and make sure you approach it in the right way – this will entail a few things:

Firstly remember you’re facing a candidate-driven market where there is a war for unique talent. This means you need to really sell yourself, your company and the opportunity. Why should top calibre candidates work for you? What makes your company different? It’s not like it was four years ago when the market was saturated with available candidates and  employers could call the shots. You need to impress the candidate and this requires thorough preparation before the interview.

Secondly, always ensure you’re on time for the candidate. After all, you expect the same from them. If you are going to be late let your candidate know in advance and either contact them yourself or through a third party. Don’t leave them hanging.

The Chinese have a great meeting etiquette that we recommend you adhere to for an interview. It basically stipulates that, when hosting an interview, it is proper etiquette to send another member of staff to meet the candidate outside the building or in the lobby and personally escort them to the meeting room, where you should be waiting to greet them. If you are tied up on a phone call or in a business meeting, then this is also professional way for another member of staff to let the candidate know that you just need 5 minutes. It’s all about giving the right impression and making a candidate want to work for you.

Thirdly, it is imperative that you know the candidate’s background well. This requires more than just a quick glance at their CV – have a look at their LinkedIn, their Twitter and the company they work for so that you can get a fuller picture of their career. Ensure you have read their CV thoroughly and highlight areas you’d like them to expand upon.

Fourthly, once you know your objective and have all the details you need on the person’s background you will need to organise your questions. We strongly suggest that you pick your questions carefully and  aim for no more than 10, as each question will inevitably generate further questions and discussion. Around 6 to 10 questions will get the conversation flowing.

Finally, how should you end the interview? This is the time to discuss the next step of the hiring process. Above all, the candidate will want to know the time scale. When it comes to decision making, honesty is the best policy – if a candidate is not right let them know and if a candidate is right let them know there and then. The worst thing you can do is waste someone’s time or keep them waiting longer than necessary. Keeping candidates in the loop is important as top talent doesn’t stay on the market for long. Use the end of the meeting to set their expectations and be sure to stick to this – going over the time scale will alienate candidates.