Interview Inspiration vs Imperfection

Dear <<First Name>>
Finding the best people to join your team, within your growing business, can sometimes be a challenge. One area with which many people struggle is interviewing – especially if they run a small business and they’re not used to doing it.

This issue of HR Watch will give you some ideas on how best to carry out interviews for potential members of staff. It will also show you how not to do it, in the latest chapter from our Practical HR story.
I hope you enjoy this issue and get some inspiration from it!

Best wishes,

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Interview Inspiration

When you’re looking to take on a new member of staff, the time will come, once you have drawn up a shortlist of suitable candidates, that you’ll be ready to interview them. This is a very important part of the hiring process and needs to be carefully prepared.

You need to think about whether or not you want to include a test in the interview, particularly if you’re recruiting for a technical role; or if you’re going to ask candidates to prepare a short presentation or even use an assessment tool.

Here are the other things you need to consider

  • Create a structure for all the interviews. Plan the questions you’re going to ask, around the role
  • If there will be more than one of you in the interviews, decide in advance who will ask which questions
  • Avoid discriminatory questions. You should ask all your candidates the same questions and they should be relevant to the role
  • Don’t do all the talking. Your job is to ask questions and allow the interviewee to do most of the talking
  • Work out a way of scoring candidates against your key competencies (the ones you identified in the job description!)
  • Make notes. After a full day of interviewing your memory may become blurred
  • Be honest about the role you’re looking to fill. If it’s a tough job with challenges, a lot of travelling or a broken  team which needs to be re-energised, tell the candidate now. If it’s a basic admin job sitting at a computer all day, say so. Nobody likes surprises and honesty is one of the foundations of a strong relationship with your employees.

If you’re thinking about taking on new employees and you’ve never interviewed anyone before, think about getting some help. Go on a training course or find a local HR specialist to help – they can even help you with the interviewing process, to make sure you find the perfect person for your role.


Practical HR – Interview Imperfection

Do you remember last time how Bill had to let Brian, a member of his sales team, have his marching orders, for misuse of Social Media? This means that Bill had to recruit a replacement for Brian. He created a short list of candidates and invited them for interview, but he’s not done much interviewing, so here’s what happened.
Bill didn’t create a structure for his interviews. He just asked the candidates to come into his office and sit in the wonky chair, with the sun in their eyes. He only remembered to offer the very last one a cup of coffee (and that’s probably only because he’d been talking all day and needed some himself!)

Halfway through the day, Bill asked his colleague Belinda to join him in interviewing the candidates. He thought she might like a break from her normal work. They hadn’t spoken about who should be asking the questions, or what they should ask, so different candidates were asked different questions.

Then the phone rang, but because Belinda was there, Bill knew she could carry on without him, so he took the call. (He managed to answer a few emails that had popped into his inbox while he was on the phone too. Who says men can’t multi task?)

“Are you planning to have a family?” asked Belinda of one of the female candidates.

‘Good question,’ thought Bill. ‘I wonder if I should have asked that of the last chap. Now what was his name? Was he the one with lots of experience, or the one who didn’t like being asked his age?’

You guessed it – Bill hadn’t been making notes during any of the interviews.

“It’s quite an easy job,” he went on to explain to the quiet man sitting across the desk from him. “Anyone can sell, really. And there’s not much travelling involved; just a bit now and then.”

So what was the end result? Did Bill find the perfect replacement for Brian? Well, right now, Bill is trying desperately hard to remember who he spoke to and who had said what. He can’t really remember, so he’s thinking about asking them all to come back for a second interview. Although the young lady with the blonde hair was quite pretty ...

Employment Law Update

To help you keep up to speed with changes to Employment Law and to keep you and your staff legal, here are some of the things you need to know.

Military Reservists – from 1 October 2014, small and medium employers can now receive up to £500 per month for each full month a reservist is absent from work (reduced pro rata for parts of a month, or part-time workers.)  In addition, after 1 October 2014, if an employee’s employment is terminated in connection with being a member of the Reserve Forces, they will not need to have two years employment in order to qualify for an unfair dismissal claim, although such dismissal is not automatically deemed to be unfair. There is more information here.
National Minimum Wage – on 1 October 2014 this increased again across all age brackets. Click here to see the rates of pay.

Time off for Ante-natal Appointments – with effect from 1 October 2014, expectant fathers and partners now have the right to take unpaid time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments with their pregnant partner. They are also protected from any disadvantage or detriment in connection with exercising this right. There is a comprehensive employer guide you can download here.


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