A quick internet search will reveal multiple online articles about “interview techniques” aimed at job applicants hoping to impress an interviewer. However, it’s important to remember that interview technique can be as important for the interviewer as it is for the interviewee. Across the financial sector we are seeing highly qualified and experienced candidates enjoying the benefit of a wide range of employment opportunities and they are in the position of being able to choose between a number of different companies. With 47% of job seekers stating that the job interview gives the biggest impact when it comes to their impression of an employment opportunity, prospective employers need to be ready to interview to impress.[i]
Here at Aston Charles, we are adept at recruiting the “best of the best” to apply for your specialist roles. Once they enter the interview room it is over to you. How can you positively impact job applicants, to ensure that you get the pick of the best?
Read your candidates’ applications to ensure that you are able to ask questions that are pertinent and specific to them. Job seekers often spend many hours filling in application forms. Realising that an employer has taken the time to read it carefully can create a very positive impression.
Think about what you want to know and tailor your questions accordingly. A question like, “what is your biggest weakness?” is likely to elicit a response that is – in reality - a positive trait with a negative angle; such as “perfectionism” or “working too hard”. Both you and the candidate will be aware that the answer is not indicative of what you want to know, but they don’t really want to share their weaknesses with an employer! What you actually want to know is probably whether the candidate can recognise their own limitations in order to bring in assistance when necessary; or whether they are adept at finding ways to recover a situation that is not going to plan. Instead of asking about their weaknesses you could ask; “when have you encountered a problem, and what did you do to resolve the situation?” This will allow the candidate to feel they are answering a positive question and will allow you to get the answer you need in order to assess the individual’s suitability.
No more “nonsense” questions
The last decade saw a trend involving asking candidates a range of questions that didn’t appear remotely connected to the job in question; “if you were a fruit, what kind would you be and why?” or unusual brainteasers; “How many ping pong balls can you fit in a car?” The idea was, presumably, to prompt a prospective employee to think creatively, identifying their ability to think quickly and outside-the-box. However, it is more likely to create frustration and resentment, as well as being unlikely to identify any important work place character traits. Several years ago one of the vice presidents at Google admitted that the technique was a “complete waste of time”.
[ii] It is far better to stick to asking applicants about their life and work experiences that may be relevant to the job in question.
Treat all candidates as a customer; even the unsuccessful ones
[iii] This could have the impact of reducing the number of candidates that may apply for future roles. Ensure that throughout the interview and afterwards, each interviewee is treated with respect. That includes letting all candidates – including the unsuccessful ones – know about your response post interview. 65% of job seekers say they do not often hear back from prospective employers when the response is negative. This means that you may miss these individuals reapplying if a more suitable role comes up again, as candidates suggest they are 3.5 times more likely to reapply to the same company, if they had received notice that a previous job application had been declined.
Advertise the perks of the job
Surveys taken of modern job applicants suggest that decisions on accepting a job depend largely on financial compensation, with salary having 61% importance. Other important factors include work/life balance, health benefits, growth opportunities and flexibility.
[v] With so much competition for job perks throughout the sector, be sure to advertise the opportunities within your own company to job candidates.
[vi]Don’t underestimate the effect of eye contact, facial expressions and body language in making an applicant feel at ease – and, more importantly – that the company would be a fun and enjoyable place to work. It also helps you to look confident and at ease yourself; good traits in an employer. Show that you are interested in the candidate, keeping eye contact while they are talking and avoiding slouching. Speak slowly; questions fired off rapidly can be overwhelming.
These techniques will help to keep all the best job applicants interested in your company, right through from the recruitment stage to the post interview decision making - allowing you the pick of the most suitable candidates for the role.
[i]Jobvite, 2016. Jobseekers Nation Study, 8.
[ii]Adam Bryant. 2013. In Head-Hunting, Big Data May Not Be Such a Big Deal - The New York Times. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/business/in-head-hunting-big-data-may-not-be-such-a-big-deal.html. [Accessed 04 August 2017].
[iii]Candidate Experience Study. 2016. Candidate Experience Study. [ONLINE] Available at: https://workplacetrends.com/candidate-experience-study/. [Accessed 04 August 2017].
[iv]Candidate Experience Study. 2016. Candidate Experience Study. [ONLINE] Available at: https://workplacetrends.com/candidate-experience-study/. [Accessed 04 August 2017].
[v]Jobvite, 2015. Jobseeker Nation Study, 8.
[vi]Psychology Today. 2011. Is Nonverbal Communication a Numbers Game? | Psychology Today. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beyond-words/201109/is-nonverbal-communication-numbers-game. [Accessed 05 August 2017].
[vii]Psychology Today. 2015. What Puts People at Ease? | Psychology Today. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-wise-brain/201511/what-puts-people-ease. [Accessed 05 August 2017].