The reality is, conducting a thorough interview is hard. It’s an advanced skill, and many business owners interview candidates without any form of training.
The problem is, not only do you miss out on lots of useful, relevant details about a candidate's experience and skills, you also lay yourself open to the wool being pulled over your eyes with embellishments of the truth, fibs, and downright lies.
Without a structured, probing first interview, you waste valuable time, seeing the same candidate for a second time, still not knowing if they will be able to do the job.
Whereas, a properly trained interviewer can quickly gain ten times as much information from a candidate at the first interview as an untrained one.
I recently helped a client see just how much crucial information he was missing out on. His standard approach was to ask the candidate to talk through their CV, relevant experience and interests.
I asked him to tell me about one particular candidate that he had telephone interviewed recently. The role involved organising large conferences, often requiring working under pressure to meet tight deadlines, regularly overcoming setbacks, and building relationships with clients. He confidently told me that they had a nice conversation and got on well. They had all the relevant experience and he liked them so he decided to invite them in for a second interview, which would be face to face.
So, I asked my client, what he’d found out about this candidate that made him think they’d be good at the job and worth the second interview. He looked at his scribbled notes and his whole body language changed. He tried to explain but there were lots of pauses, reading and re-reading of his limited notes, followed by umms and, not sures. His notes read: ‘Has organised meetings, thrives under pressure, always meets deadlines, has great rapport with clients.’
Evidence that this person was worth inviting for a second interview was scarce. It felt like a huge piece of guess work and potentially time wasted.
To address the situation, we had an interview skills coaching session where we covered asking competency based, open questions, probing the answers thoroughly and writing detailed notes.
Following this, the business owner conducted the second interview with this new set of questions and using the probing techniques we’d covered in the session. He reported back to me on how much he’d found out about the suitability of this candidate this time. You may not be surprised to learn that his conclusion was "Not suitable at all". The candidate wasn’t able to give any examples that ticked any boxes and hadn’t ever organised a large meeting, let alone a conference.
We agreed that if this comprehensive second interview had been carried out as a first interview, this candidate wouldn’t have passed the first hurdle and the business owner could have spent the 45 minutes saved looking through other CVs to find his perfect new recruit.
If you’d like to save time and quickly find out the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, please call Ali Waters on 07971 511 731 or send an email.