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Interviewing successfully - it's a real art form

Interviewing successfully is an art form . . . says KIRSTY CRAIG of Kirsty Craig Associates in Chester.

You’ve seen ‘the’ job with a company you’ve long admired, you’ve sent in your CV and filled in the application form, you’re shortlisted for interview, you’ve done your research and brushed up your interview skills. You’re ready to give it your all, and you walk confidently into the interview…

One hour later, you walk out again feeling dazed and demoralised. What happened in that one hour?

The senior manager interviewing you took two phone calls and even got up and left the office at one point because someone he needed to speak to had walked past his door. It was clear he hadn’t read your CV and his attitude was one of complete disinterest.

You couldn’t make it up, could you? Well, we didn’t; the above shocker is a true story told to us by one of our former candidates. There are, sadly, many more examples we could share but frankly, it’s not good for our blood pressure.

In today’s candidate-short market, it’s imperative that employers wake up and shape up on their interviewing skills front in order to secure the best talent for their business. 

In addition, every candidate that attends an interview will go away with an impression of your company, your brand, your ethics and values and the experience they have will set their opinion of you.  Good or bad, you can be sure that they’ll share it with their professional and social network, and on it goes…

So clearly, it’s a two-way street where you’re not just interviewing, you’re being interviewed - so whoever’s hiring in your business needs to be good at it. For example, someone who is very technically intelligent might not possess the right insight to ask the right questions when interviewing someone for a sales role – even if he is the MD of the company.

But we do realise that it doesn’t come easily to everyone, and if you don’t have an in-house HR department or consultant to give guidance, it’s easy to get it horribly wrong, so here are a few tips to help you.

* Do your homework. Make sure you read the candidate’s CV/application form/covering letter properly. Pick out a couple of things that interest you, so the conversation flows easily.

* Make sure your questions are actually relevant by having the job description handy to guide you and, above all else, make sure they’re legal! For example, questions about age, race, marital status, etc. are strictly off-limits.

* Be interesting and interested – remember to liste

* It sounds very obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the number of times we speak to candidates who have, in the past, been left wondering post-interview. So, make sure you follow up with the candidate after their interview; even if they’ve not been successful this time. Give them constructive feedback as to why they weren’t successful – this helps them in future interview situations and, most importantly, leaves them with a positive impression of you and your company.


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