Top Tips for Running Your Interviews

2021’s wedding season is shaping up to be a pretty busy one, with many venues preparing to run a record number of weddings within a much shorter space of time than they normally would.

As such, the review of staffing levels is high on the agenda, and rightly so, to ensure that all wedding and event bookings run as smoothly as possible. It will come as no surprise that recruitment is likely to be in the top three activities happening across the industry right now. Many businesses are having to review their human resource against their event diary and take steps to either add to their existing workforce or hire a brand new team.

A crucial part of the recruitment process is conducting interviews. In my 20+ year HR career I have seen it done exceptionally well, but in some cases – not so well. Given that it is a method many businesses rely on to assess the suitability of a candidate, some time and effort does need to be given so that the process is effective, productive and doesn’t land you in court! Many do not realise that HR recruitment is underpinned by employment law, therefore it is a serious part of your business and should be treated as such.

I thought it would be useful to give you some quick do’s and don’ts on how to conduct your upcoming interviews in order to help you get this important process right.

Let’s Start with ‘The Do’s’

Do ensure that your interview questions are relevant to the job at hand
You can do this by measuring and assessing your questions against your job description and person specification. This ensures that you feel comfortable and confident in asking the questions that you need to get the right person for the job.

Do make sure that your questions are open-ended and not closed
When you ask questions that only require a yes or no response, this does not enable you to objectively assess someone’s suitability for the role, nor give them a score.

Do seek to do interviews that are competency based
This enables you to assess each person in line with the competencies you’ve identified as requirements for the role. That may mean looking at that person’s ability to work within a team and their capacity to communicate. Are they a leader? Are they self-motivated? Have questions prepared to assess whatever competencies you’ve outlined for the role.

Do note down some desired responses
You won’t necessarily get everything you need to know from the answers someone gives to you, but having an ideal response that covers the key things you’re looking for will not only help you to objectively assess if that person is suitable for the role, but also supports your scoring criteria.  Remember that candidates have the right to review their interview score or to ask you for feedback on why you didn’t hire them. You want to be able to give them this feedback based on your objective scoring.

Do ensure that you ask all candidates the same question so that you’re keeping the process fair and equitable
If there is any inference that you may have been discriminatory in your decision to not give them the job, the way that you can defend yourself – should it go to court – is by showing proof that you have a fair process and procedure set up. And yes, it can go to court even if that person is not an employee of yours!

Do ensure that there is more than one person conducting the interview
It’s very difficult for you to assess someone by yourself. You should get the second opinion of someone else in your business who you trust to support you on the interview. There could be some things that they see which you don’t, and vice versa. This is the best way to get a balanced view on someone’s suitability for the role and it’s a good way to make sure that you are being objective in your scoring. It helps to stamp out some amount of unconscious bias which we can all be guilty of.

Do ensure that you are familiar with the job role you’re recruiting the candidate into

Do also ensure you are familiar with the candidate by spending time reviewing their CV or application form
Take time to understand what their background is. If you’re inviting them into an interview, it has to be for a good reason. Review any areas where there are gaps in employment and note down anything you want to double check during the interview. Also highlight some key areas or points on their CV that you want to pick up on during the meeting.

Do ensure that you arrange a nice, quiet and comfortable space for you to hold your interview
No distractions! Book the room in advance and allow enough time for the interview to take place so that no one feels as though they’re being rushed.

Do ensure that you have asked the candidate ahead of the interview if there are any reasonable adjustments
There may be some things that they need, to facilitate them taking part in the interview process.

Do ensure that you ask candidates to bring with them original documents which include proof of their eligibility to work in the UK
It is legally your responsibility to check that they are eligible to work in the UK and to ensure that you have seen their original documents.

Moving on to ‘The Don’ts’

Don’t go into an interview without having structured interview questions and desired candidate responses
It’s tempting to just go with the flow but doing that means that you are likely to fail to ask all candidates the same questions which you need to do if you are going to be able to fairly compare and assess them.

Don’t ask questions that could be potentially discriminatory whether indirectly or directly
Asking anything that is not relevant to the job role can be deemed as being discriminatory. This can include asking about family situations, marital status or anything that is not appropriate or relevant to the job role.

Don’t rush your interview questions
Ask the questions and give the candidate enough time to answer. You may have allotted a specific window of time which is fine but remember, you are dealing with people, and interviews can be nerve-wracking so the person in question may need a little moment to compose themselves and articulate their answer. They are trying to give you their best impression after all!

Don’t give too much away
It may be tempting to let an exceptional candidate know that you are extremely impressed with them which could indicate that you want to hire them. This is shaky ground as you may have other candidates to see and you do not want to give false hope to someone who you initially think is great, only to then speak to another candidate and think that they are even better.  Try to remain friendly and neutral, and don’t make any promises.

Don’t feed the answers to the candidate
If you feed them the answers you’re not giving yourself an opportunity to assess whether they are genuinely suitable for the role.  You’re also not giving them the chance to show that they have the answers you are looking for.

Don’t overbook your interview slots
You may want to get as many interviews done in one day as possible which is understandable, but allow yourself and the candidates adequate time and remember to give yourself a break in between too. Sometimes interviews overrun a little and the last thing you want to do is keep someone waiting or for you to be flustered because you are behind schedule.

Don’t make assumptions
Unconscious bias is a real thing and as humans we form judgements or views on people without realising. This may be based on their appearance, their accent, their background or their education. You will have access to this information as part of the recruitment process through their CV and during the interview. None of this should cloud your assessment of the candidate though and is the reason why it is essential to have the job description, person specification and set interview questions so that you have the tools in place in which to objectively assess their suitability for the job role, and nothing else.

Don’t discuss the other candidates
It may be tempting to mention how other candidates have done during the interview process or refer to a previous answer from another candidate. This should not be done and may give the impression of unprofessionalism on your part.

Need help?

There is a lot more to the process, but these are just some quick tips to help you improve on what you’re already doing. The key is to remember the reason why you are holding interviews in the first place – to find the right person for the role. So spending a little more time at this stage making sure you have a robust process in place will save you time down the line having to deal with the issue of someone in the position who is not suitable after all. Given the expected intensity of this wedding season, you want to do all that you can to ensure staffing is not an issue for you. It starts here.

If there is anything in this blog that has made you question the way that you’re currently running your recruitment process and conducting your interviews, or if you want to learn how to run your recruitment process in it’s entirety and get it right the first time, there are a few options that are available to you.

You can:

Join the Recruitment 101 Live Online Masterclass taking place on Wednesday, 12th May 2021 at 11am and 7pm so you can choose the best time for you to attend

Engage with the “Done For You” recruitment service I offer to save you time running the process yourself

Grab legally compliant template documents to save you time creating them yourself

Book in a quick HR chat to ask your burning staff questions or sense-check what you’re doing

You can find further information on all 4 options via the link below.

Recruitment Masterclass

Join the Recruitment 101 Live Online Masterclass taking place on Wednesday, 12th May 2021 at 11am and 7pm so you can choose the best time for you to attend.

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