Are you hiring? Understanding the candidate interview “experience”
Much of our focus at BCL Legal is preparing candidates for interview however our clients are becoming increasingly aware that interviews are a two way process. In this competitive market the firm and its chosen representatives are as much in the spotlight as the prospective candidate. Often a candidate choosing between two offers of employment will go with the firm where they had the best “experience” at interview. What can your organisation do to ensure its own interview “experience” is the best it can be?
1)The interview strategy
Do you have one? Have you sat down with all those involved in the selection process to understand what you are (and are not) looking for? What are you basing your decisions on? Is experience key or are you willing to take on candidates with the right attitude? Ensuring your selection criteria is uniform is a key element of the shortlist process.
2) The interview message
Why are you hiring? What actually does your need look like and what will the day to day job involve? The psychological contract of employment starts at the interview stage – is your message an honest account of the opportunity on offer or are you selling something that in reality does not exist? One of the main reasons for a candidate looking for a new job six months into accepting an opportunity is that they feel they were misled as to what the role actually involved. If your department is process led with not much opportunity for client contact far better to find out at interview stage that the prospective candidate would not fit into that environment. The real cost of hiring the wrong talent in terms of training and staff morale is surely far higher than the cost of your department remaining stretched whilst you recruit the right person?
3) The company story
Painting a picture of your organisation is a key part of candidate attraction. Conveying a sense of shared history, values and experiences amongst existing employees will engage prospective candidates and start to build a picture of what it would be like to work for you. Does your department have an interesting back story? Have you a shared vision or aim? Communicating this message with candidates on interview will mean they come away with an impression about what it means to work at your firm
Who is representing your organisation and are they cut out for the job? A bad interviewer who fails to challenge the candidate and fails to represent your organisation properly will mean you loose out on securing the right talent for your business. If your selected interviewers do their job properly every candidate who leaves your organisation should do so ideally wanting the role regardless of whether they are right for you. Of course there will always be those candidates who for whatever reason decline an offer totally out of your control but if you find more often that not that candidates are repeatedly turning you down have a serious think about who is conducting the interview and what “experience” they are providing.
The final message would be the importance of providing timely and meaningful feedback. A candidate’s “experience” will be a far more positive one if they are able to understand why they are not right for an organisation. If you are able to spend five minutes debriefing after an interview whilst it is fresh in your memory it will help especially when you may see up to eight candidates in one day. Rejecting a candidate properly should be as important as offering a candidate. Often someone has taken time off work and has spent money on travel to attend an interview – if they feel aggrieved post interview due to a lack of constructive feedback it may come back to bite you in a few years time when they have the required skills and join a competitor!
For more information please visit our website BCL Legal.