Having a structured recruitment process in place helps filter out unsuitable candidates before they’ve taken up much of your time.
A client of mine told me about a recent narrow escape. He’d just first interviewed a number of applicants for a key role he was recruiting for and shortlisted a handful that he felt showed potential. These candidates he invited to attend a second stage, designed to investigate further some of the key skills and qualities required for the role. They were asked to take part in a written exercise and a presentation.
He was surprised at two rather disappointing reactions. One was that ‘my circumstances have now changed and I won’t be pursuing this opportunity.’ The other was consistently no reply.
They might as well have said ‘I'd rather tidy my sock drawer.’
Wow, he said, I could have easily hired one of these people.
Both candidates were clearly put off by having to complete these job-related tasks.
We can only assume that:
a. They didn’t really want the job that much after all.
b. They didn’t feel confident that they could do these tasks.
c. They have lots of socks.
The good news is that my client had a newly designed, recruitment process in place that prevented him from hiring one of these individuals who had performed so well in their first interviews.
Needless to say he was extremely relieved and delighted that he had invested in this multi-staged process.
Many small businesses still rely on interviews only which is a very risky practice. When you’re growing your business, you’ll want to hire great people.
A talented team will help you deliver a continuously improving service or product to your customers and expand your reach, revenue and profit.
Choosing these people is a huge responsibility. Getting it wrong can be a time consuming, expensive nightmare.
There are three things to think about when setting out to expand your team:
✅ Are you on the radar of great candidates?
✅ Does your website sell you as an employer?
✅ Do you have a warm, friendly but structured recruitment process?
If you can say 'yes' to all of these, great, keep doing what you’re doing.
If you can’t, you’re in danger of hiring sock drawer tidiers and you need to call me on 07971511731 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat.
We’ve just become proud owners of a new car. Well new to us. Nothing fancy, but it gets us from A to B nicely and comfortably. It’s a lovely upgrade from our previous 15 year old, faithful family car. That, had electric windows that didn’t go back up, a sat nav that had a very annoying beep that didn’t turn off and a music system that only did radio.
When we went to collect our new toy from the garage, the salesman, Chris, eagerly explained how all the gadgets worked, where the fog lights were and how to pop up the bonnet. He didn’t ask us if we knew how to drive though. He assumed we could.
This was the inspiration for this article.
When I design a new recruitment process for a client, I always spend time with them, explaining how it works. I make sure they know how the scores for the interviews and exercises come together and help them make a decision on each candidate.
I don’t assume that they can interview well though. Most people can’t. It’s an advanced skill that needs to be learned.
To get full value from their shiny new recruitment process, interviewers need to know how to interview candidates thoroughly, and be able to probe their answers to get all the information they need.
Some decline my offer of a short interviewing skills session by saying: ‘I think I’m ok thanks’.
It’s only when they’ve conducted a few interviews that haven’t gone so smoothly that they realise that they should upskill themselves and ask for some training.
Many people find making a decision really hard because they haven’t collected enough evidence from candidates, others say that their interviews go on for far too long, and sadly some make costly, time consuming hiring mistakes.
When we brought our new car home, all the family wanted to sit in it and play with the gadgets we’d never had before, including my son’s girlfriend, who doesn’t drive. She sat in the driver’s seat and immediately said ‘I’d better learn to drive now!’
That’s what my clients would be better off saying right from the start.
Here’s a client who wanted to maximise the value from the new recruitment process I designed for her:
Ali delivered an interviewing skills workshop for our management team. She made the session extremely interactive and engaging and we all thoroughly enjoyed learning how to ask the right questions and probe to get detailed answers. The practice interviews were really useful and Ali gave valuable feedback on how we could improve our techniques. I’d highly recommend Ali’s workshop if you’re recruiting staff or management and want to feel confident that you’ll do a good job and make the right decision. Helen Campbell-Wroe, CEO at Pathways to Independence
If you’d like to upskill yourself so that you’re ready for the driving seat, my online workshop: How to conduct a thorough probing interview and make the right decision is for you. It’s on Wednesday 18th November at 10-12 and will give you the knowledge, tools and practice to:
Please get in touch if you’d like to chat about this and how it would help you. Otherwise, go ahead and book your place here.
I was having a conversation with someone yesterday who has a job interview next week. He was doing a lot of the talking and was, in my opinion, scarily verbose. I was thinking to myself, what a challenging interview his would be to conduct and am hoping that his interviewer is well trained and experienced in controlling and keeping interviews to time. Otherwise this interview is going to be a record breaker!
I feel like reaching out to this unsuspecting interviewer and warning them what to expect in their 10am next Tuesday. I’d like to let them know in advance to get their stopwatch out and be ready to heavily interrupt, refocus and control this interviewee.
Controlling a candidate right from the start is crucial. If they blow you away by talking too much, you need to intervene, get them back on track, and ask them to come to the point. It’s your duty as an interviewer to let a candidate know when to stop talking otherwise they won’t have the chance to answer all your questions and give you the evidence you need to make a decision.
When interviewing, it’s really important to give the same amount of interview time to each person, so that you’re fair and consistent and allow each candidate the same chance to sell themselves. If you allow an interview to overrun by more than a few minutes, you’re giving that individual an unfair advantage and most likely, keeping another waiting. For your own sanity, back to back interviews that are running late is a situation to avoid at all costs.
Half an hour is a good length of time for a first interview. The purpose is to filter out unsuitable candidates and narrow down your pipeline to a manageable number of candidates who you then invite to further assessments. You don’t want to fill your day with hour long first interviews, as you’ll never get any other work done. Five, thirty minute interviews in a day is one thing but five, hour long interviews is quite another.
If your first interviews are taking up too much of your precious time, you might be interested in my online workshop where I share techniques on how to control an interview and ensure you run to schedule.
How to Conduct a Probing Interview and Make the Right Decision on 18th November 10-12 will give you the knowledge, tools and practice to:
1. Structure a professional interview.
2. Ask the right questions and probe answers thoroughly.
3. Gain key evidence to decide if the candidate has the skills and qualities for the role.
4. Assess and score all candidates fairly and objectively.
5. Have the competence and confidence to make the right decision.
Attend this workshop and you will:
The cost is just £45 which is great value to learn how to avoid record breaking interviews. Please book your place here.
I hope you can join me.
One in three UK firms expect to cut jobs by autumn (The Guardian)
If you are expecting to make redundancies in the next few months, one of the kindest things you could do is to provide those you have to sadly let go, with the skills and confidence to seek a new job.
Many of your staff won’t have had an interview for years and will feel terrified by the prospect of putting themselves out there in such a competitive job market.
How do you feel about working remotely?
Do you enjoy the cost and time saving of not having to travel to work? Or do you miss the office energy and people vibe? Or both?
Now, how do you feel about recruiting a new team member, would you be happy to do that working from home?
I was recently asked this brilliant question by Elliott King, founder of MintTwist, digital marketing agency based in London.
“It takes a long time to ‘triage’ applicants and to first interview candidates. What do you recommend we do to speed up and improve the quality of the process to save costs and improve the quality of 2nd interviewees?”
Such a relevant question for business owners wanting to grow their teams in the current market and for the foreseeable future.
Ingenuity, creativity, a willingness to learn, innovate and adapt. These are the traits of an agile business. They are trying new things and embracing new technology in order to continue to connect and engage with their customers. How better to stand out from the crowd and attract new clients?
Business owners are dealing with unprecedented challenges to their operations and those who demonstrate these attributes will weather the storm and emerge stronger and fitter.
If you need carrots for a recipe and put them on your shopping list, as long as you pay attention to your scribbles, you’ll come home with carrots. Simple.
If you’re recruiting for a new employee and you put on your shopping list (person specification), good time management, communication skills, good attention to detail, numerical skills, technical skills and learning agility, can you be sure you’ll get these?