Having been both sides of the table as a candidate and an interviewer Iâ€™ve learnt a lot about the recruitment process over the years!
As a Candidate, interviews can be daunting and yet exciting at the same time. You swot up on the job, research the company and the people, learn your CV verbatim and everyone tells you to just â€˜be yourselfâ€™. But as I reflect back on my interview experiences the more I feel that my performance has often been influenced just as much by the Interviewer and the environment than my own mindset.
I remember once coming out of an interview and feeling so disappointed, not because of my performance but because the agency and the Interview process just didnâ€™t live up to image I had of them. Externally their brand was something I really bought into and had always aspired to, but the interview experience just shattered that perception and made me feel a bit cheated.
Letâ€™s be honest with ourselves, all agencies talk about the importance of Brand consistency yet when it comes to ourselves we often overlook the experience we deliver internally. True?
I sometimes feel that when it comes to the interview process we all tend to lose sight of ourselves. We are so focussed on the person in front of us, asking questions and wondering how theyâ€™d fit in, we donâ€™t portray the real us.
So as an interviewer you really need to consider two things:
- How am I going to get the best out of the candidate and this interview?
- How am I going to represent my agency and my brand?
Just like the Candidate you need do your own Prep too, and I donâ€™t just mean flicking through the CV and stalking the Candidate on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. You need to really try and develop questions that are bespoke to them. Use questions that encourage them to talk about their personality as well a their profession.
Donâ€™t just ask them to â€˜talk throughâ€™ their CV, you should have read it! Pick out the bits you want to find out more about and be specific. Talk to them about their earlier life when they studied or started their first job. It will give you some real insight into the type of person they are and how they started out.
Iâ€™ve lost track of the number of times Iâ€™ve been asked, â€œDescribe yourself in three wordsâ€ to which I once replied, â€œFive Foot Tenâ€. Surprisingly I actually got the job. But really, what else can you say thatâ€™s going to set you apart from the competition with that sort of question? Positive, Energetic, Motivated, not very original.
The same goes for, â€œwhat are your strengths and weaknesses?â€ How can you possibly answer that with any degree of differentiation or honesty?
If you need to ask one of the â€˜standardâ€™ questions then look at how you phrase it such as:
From a professional angle: â€œWhat do you think your Boss would say if we asked him what you were good at and maybe not so good at?â€
From a personal angle: â€œWhat do you think your friends would sayâ€?
This sort of phrasing will really help the candidate think more deeply about what you are asking and encourage them to talk in a more open way. Plus it helps lighten the mood.
But ultimately I would urge any interviewer to develop questions that really reflects your agency, your personality and that uses your tone of voice. Which brings me on to how you represent your brand in the Interview process.