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Conducting a Successful Interview

In today’s candidate driven market, how do you ensure your interview process identifies the skills and personality you’re looking for from a shortlist of candidates?  And how do you ensure you have the best chance of securing them?

In this webinar you'll learn how to conduct your interview processes efficiently and effectively.

Watch our webinar ‘Conducting a Successful Interview’, with Ten2Two’s Jo Gregory and Tracey Adams linked below.



Tracey Adams (01:14):

Let's go for it. So thank you everybody, for joining us today on this business webinar, which is all about interviewing to secure the right candidate. We're experts in flexible and part-time recruitment at Ten2Two, and consulting, and we've got a wealth of experience in this area, and hopefully we'll share as much of it as we can with you right now. I'm Tracey Adams, one of the Directors at Ten2Two, and a co-host today. I'm going to keep an eye out for any questions that are coming in over the course of the session. Please do pop them in the Q&A below. And as we are going through, I'll pose them to Jo as she's talking, or we'll compile them for the end and have 5 or 10 minutes at the end to follow up. We will also follow up with a copy of the slides, so you don't need to worry about writing down loads of stuff. We've only got about 30 minutes probably for a webinar, and then five or 10 minutes for interviews. So without further ado, I'm going to hand you over to my lovely fellow director, Jo, to kickstart the presentation. Over to you, Jo.

Jo Gregory (02:24):

Thank you, Tracey. Welcome and thank you all for giving up your precious time. I know that everybody's really busy at the moment, and that's one of the things that we're going to touch on in today's webinar is just how important it is to put aside time for the interview process. So hopefully this is the beginning of some of you guys being able to carve out that process even before a candidate walks into your building. So recruitment is obviously one of the biggest investments that your business can make, and it's really essential to get it right. One of the worst situations is when you've brought somebody on board and soon after realize that it's not working. Much, much better to go through a really robust process and make sure you're bringing on the best possible candidate for your business and for the role. So today we're going to look at the stages that you'll need to go through and some of the options that you have, and also take you through some of the expected timelines involved, which hopefully will shed some light. Now, some of you will have interviewed before, some of you won't have ever interviewed, so please do ask questions, pop them across to Tracey. There's no silly question. We've heard them all before <laugh>. And we're more than happy to, to help you through this process as best we can.

Jo Gregory (03:48):

So, here we go. Let's talk through the agenda. So first off, we're going to be covering the purpose of the interview. Moving on to the interview process; your prep. I know that interviewing itself takes up a lot of time, but we're very sorry, we're going to put more time pressure on you, by giving you some prep to do for the process. Etiquette, structure and questions, measuring, what to avoid, always a big question mark for clients, post interview. And then as Tracey said, we'll have some time at the end for q and a. Please don't hesitate to write your questions while we're talking. And we'll try and address them as and where we can.

Jo Gregory (04:32):

So the purpose of an interview. Now even though the world is changing, the interview is still the core kind of hub, if you like, of the recruitment process. People have started using all sorts of different technologies to support the interview process. But the interview, the actual discussion based interview is still really the core part of your recruitment process. And it's exceptionally important for a number of different reasons. It's there to establish facts about the candidates. So that would be their skills, their ability to do the job, their culture fit, and the terms of the role. It's also a chance to make an impression on the candidate. This is very much a two-way experience. It's a two-way decision. So you want the interview to be able to make the candidate want the job, like the company. And above either of those things have a positive experience. So whether they are successful or not, you really want them to have had a positive experience with your business so that they can go off into the world and say nice things about you.

Jo Gregory (05:46):

Of course, you know, it is also a chance to establish a dialogue, you know, this person may end up working with you with. So it's really a chance to establish a relationship and make sure that you’re kicking things off on the right foot should that person then become part of your business. So let's touch on

The Interview Process

Now, this can vary from company to company and role to role. There are some processes that are going to be very, very in depth. And there are some processes that are going to be a slightly lighter touch. There are some processes that are going to involve multiple stakeholders, and some that might just involve a couple. So you really need to have a think about this and tailor the process to your company and to the specific role. Some things that you might want to consider, time commitment, as we talked about before.

Jo Gregory (06:48):

Yes, the interviews are a time commitment, but also the preparation and the work after the interview, you need to allow time for these things and we'll go through those in a little bit more detail in a second. Level of the role. So the interview that you conduct needs to be pitched at an appropriate level. You know, if you are interviewing for a graduate position, you're going to make sure that the interview process is pitched appropriately. If you're interviewing for a director position, you're going to make sure that the process is pitched appropriately. And that's not just in the number of stages or the sort of level of testing, but it's also in the kind of, communication style etiquette support that you might offer the candidate around the interview process. Number of stages. Now this can vary considerably. And I think it's exceptionally important to be very, very clear about the number of stages from the beginning, if you can.

Jo Gregory (07:45):

We understand that things might change through the process. We understand that you might reach a point where you have two candidates and you just can't decide, and you need to add an extra stage to be able to make that, that final decision. That's fine. However, when it becomes difficult is when a process gets dragged out over multiple stages and candidates are needing to engage with different stakeholders because they just haven't been thought about at the beginning of the process. So in that preparation, you really need to think about who needs to be involved and make sure that they are also dedicating the time that you need to the process. Diary management can be a real pain. So getting time blocked out in all of the relevant stakeholders diaries, right from the very beginning is important. Flipping that on its head completely, if you only have a one stage interview process, that can sometimes really throw candidates because they might not necessarily be expecting a decision so quickly.

Jo Gregory (08:42):

And they might actually really want to come in for a second time because they may have further questions, or they may have further things that they wish to explore. So again, you need to be thinking about the candidate experience, as well as your decision-making process. Pre-screening. This is something that if you're engaging an agency, they hopefully, and we obviously do, for those of you who've used us before, we'll conduct some pre-screening. That will normally be in the form of another interview. Myself and my colleagues are well experienced in interviewing candidates. We will go through a thorough interview with them, in line with the requirement that you have shared with us, and we will give you our thoughts. And a synopsis of the candidate. That isn't to take away from your process, that is to add to your process.

Jo Gregory (09:35):

So please don't see that as the first stage. That is a pre-screening exercise. There are other ways of pre-screening. Quite a lot of businesses are introducing using video clips or looking for application forms. So again, it depends on your process, it depends on your requirements, which way you take things. But as a little plug for us, we are all very, very skilled and experienced in interviewing. And hopefully it will add real value because it'll give you an extra layer of information on that candidate above and beyond their CV and or their cover letter. Yeah. Number of people involved. Again, this links back to some of what we've talked about. You know, if you've got a graduate coming in, you might not want to have a whole panel of people at the first stage interview because that might be a little bit intimidating.

Jo Gregory (10:25):

Maybe someone further on in their career could deal with a panel interview early in the process. But again, never make assumptions about people's nerves. Yeah, you know, we've had really senior fantastic candidates who've actually been really nervous at the interview stage. So it can happen. So, number of people in each interview, number of people required across the entire process, which links back into stages, making sure that the right people are coming in at the right stage. As an example, we would normally find that first interview would be something relatively informal. Maybe the exiting incumbent if there aren't any reasons that that person shouldn't be involved, and the hiring manager having an initial chat with the candidate. And then a second stage, you might involve the director of the department or the lead of the department, and the hiring manager again.

Jo Gregory (11:21):

Yeah, obviously, you know, this varies depending on your company and depending on the role at hand. Format of the interview, again, pre-thought is needed here as to what your interview format will be. whether you'll be asking competency questions, whether the interview will be remote, whether it will be face-to-face. There's a lot of different things to take into consideration here. So making sure you are really giving forethought, and arming your candidates with as much information about what that format will look like as possible so that they can do their relevant preparation. And then something that businesses are bringing in more and more, and we are big advocates of is testing. As long as the testing is relevant, and meaningful, then we think it's an excellent idea to integrate some testing into your recruitment process. This could be something as simple as an attention to detail assessment, maybe utilising some software.

Jo Gregory (12:18):

We also find that companies are bringing in lots more candidate profiling. So that might be using a disc analysis, for example, to understand the core strengths and weaknesses of the candidate that you're bringing into the business. This works especially well if you've used that profiling across your existing staff as well, because then that really brings the candidate into context with who you've already got in the business. That is something that we can talk to you more about if you wish, please don't hesitate to get in touch. So yeah, as you can see, there's a lot of stuff that you need to think about in this process. It's not just rocking up and having a coffee with somebody, unfortunately. But hopefully the more work you can put into these considerations, the more preparation and planning you can do for your recruitment process, the more successful it's going to be.

Jo Gregory (13:12):

Yeah. So we'll go into each of these sections in a little bit more detail.


Reviewing the job description is really important. When somebody leaves the business, it's a knee jerk reaction to kind of go, oh, we just need to replace them. And just, you know, like for like, keep the job description the same, just get somebody in the same. It's always worth reviewing your job description and just making sure that it's still fit for purpose, still fit for the business. Also making sure that it's relevant in terms of the skills that you need, the software that you're using. You know, has the business had some digitization happened since that job spec was last reviewed. Do we need to put in some more skills around particular software? Lining that up with prepared questions. We'll go on to questions a little bit more, but it's a really, really good idea to go into an interview process with some core pre-prepared questions that you're going to ask all of the candidates.

Jo Gregory (14:09):

They need to be linked to the job description. They need to be relevant, and they need to be meaningful. So making sure you're sitting down and mirroring that job spec in your questions is important. Read the candidate CV before you go into the interview. <laugh>. It sounds like something that's obvious, but it's amazing how many people will go into an interview and try and read the CV whilst interviewing the candidate. You really need to be prepared when you go into that interview so that you can listen to their answers and listen to what they're saying, rather than be trying to establish their work history whilst talking with them. If you've gone through an agency, like Ten2Two, then we will have provided you with a profile of the candidate. That can give additional information. It can give you some of the answers to the questions that you're going to probably ask.

Jo Gregory (15:00):

It doesn't mean that you shouldn't ask those questions. It's always worth doing your own fact checking. but making sure you've read that profile, because that will give you some extra colour around the candidate's experience. And making notes of key achievements. So it's always nice to be able to reference back to things that you know about the candidate in the interview. It gives you a strong line of questioning. It gives you a chance to give them something positive to talk about. So if you can see that there have been some really good key achievements in that candidate's profile, then just make a note of them so that you can refer to them. and it's a nice way of settling nerves and bringing a positive feel to the interview if you can identify those areas.

Jo Gregory (15:49):

Some other stuff that you can prep as we talked about. Diary management is a big issue and I'm sure that all of you have had struggles with diary management. but we will come onto that.


So some core kind of requirements, if you like.


Brief the candidate in advance, make sure that the candidate knows as much as possible about where the interview's going to be, who it's going to be with, any kind of access issues that the building might have. If you're using software like Zoom, for example, making sure that they've got the right links, making sure that they understand, you know, how the interview is going to be conducted. Allow enough time. We would say to allow 40 minutes to an hour for each interview. and give yourself a gap between interviews as well, because you do listen a lot, but you can talk a lot.

Jo Gregory (16:42):

So just to take a breather to write some notes. And probably say those two candidates don't walk past each other in reception. Yeah. Consider any adaptation requests. Again, if you've come through an agency, we would've asked the question and we would've talked to you about any adaptation requests that are required. But if you are going directly to the candidate, it's a really good idea to make sure that you ask them if there are any adaptations that they may need to make the interview possible for them. It's awful to turn up at an interview and realize there's a flight of stairs that you might not be able to get up if you've got lower mobility. So make sure that you're asking those questions to start with. Check your surroundings, you know, make sure that you've not got any massive distractions.

Jo Gregory (17:28):

If you are having the meeting online, then make sure your phone is switched off or, you know, the dog isn't going to come running in behind you. (She looks nervously to make sure the dog running in behind her). You know, it is a professional meeting, so treat it as a professional meeting. and then if you are using technology, if you're using some sort of online system, which is becoming more and more common, so you know, it's a really positive thing, that technology is being embraced in this way, then just test your tech. You know, the person on the other end of the conversation is probably going to be nervous enough without the tech going wrong five times in the first five minutes of your interview.

On the day.

Greet and reassure, you know, you are a friendly person, you want to work with this person, you want them to think you are lovely.

Jo Gregory (18:18):

So make sure that you are just being friendly. If you are having an online meeting, some interesting feedback that we've got is that there's no longer that walk between the elevator and the meeting room. So maybe build that into your interview. You know, if you are online, don't start by jumping into questions immediately. Don't bombard them. Take a step back. Ask them how their day's been. You know, if it's a Monday, talk to them about their weekend. Just remember that time when we used to walk from the elevator, lift, sorry, <laugh>, to the meeting room, and shoot the breeze. You know, you, you just have a chat. Make sure that you're on time. Again, setting a good impression. This is a professional meeting. Set the tone and the agenda. You know, if you are a really informal business and it's just a chat, then let them know that.

Jo Gregory (19:09):

Also let them know that, you know, your questions are going to be standardized. You know, if you're going to be taking notes, let them know that you're going to be taking notes. Uh, just facilitate them with as much information as possible so that they understand what's going to be going on over the next 40 minutes or so. Again, use notes, but don't necessarily fixate on them. So let the candidate know. You will be taking notes, but you'll retain quite a lot of it that you can then write afterwards. So if you're finding it difficult to take notes and really engage with the candidate, then that engagement is the real key thing that you need to do. And then check ID.

Tracey Adams (19:48):

Oh, yes. Just from that point, Jo. A question we've got here is, is it a good idea to have a dedicated note taker in the room to allow the interviewer to focus on the interview?

Jo Gregory (19:59):

If you've got the capacity, if you have somebody that would be amazing. Yeah, obviously there's a lot of diaries to work out. So it might not be that you have the luxury of a note taker, but if you have somebody who can be a note taker, absolutely fantastic.

Tracey Adams (20:16):

And be aware. I guess that they would need to have a grasp of what you're looking for, the role itself, the skills, what they're noting down, what's important.

Jo Gregory (20:23):

Absolutely. Yeah. They, they'd need some sort of involvement in that preparation and some understanding as to, you know, what the interview was there for, so that their notes were being taken in context. Yeah. But yes, if you've got the capacity, that would brilliant. Yeah. and our final point on the day is to check id. So again, if you're coming through an agency, the agency will have checked right to work identification, but it's always worth checking it yourself. at this stage, it just means that there's no nasty surprises later on. We have, or I've had <laugh> personal experience of somebody turning up on their first day and then us realizing they're not actually allowed to work in the UK. That's not, while I've been with Ten2Two, by the way, <laugh> many moons ago. So yes, checking id always a good idea and obviously let the candidate know in advance to bring their ID. You know, you don't want them feeling terrible that they haven't got a document that you need to see. If they didn't know were meant to bring it in the first place.

Jo Gregory (21:24):

The Interview Structure

Now obviously this can be designed in almost whatever way you want. You know, there is no fixed, this is the way that it has to be, but we thought we'd give you a quick breakdown, just to give you an idea of how long some of these steps take, and what we see as being relatively typical. So spend 10 minutes describing and explaining. So this is describing and explaining the business, the role, and what the interview process is going to look like. So there's quite a lot of information for you to give the candidate right at the beginning. This can be done in a number of ways. So some businesses don't like to necessarily tell the candidate everything about the role. Instead, they might ask what the candidate's understanding of the role is. Again, if the candidate has been through an agency, they're likely to have had quite a thorough briefing on the role.

Jo Gregory (22:17):

And it's quite an interesting way of getting them to start talking because you can see how much research they've done into the role, how much research they've done into the business. And you can also kind of guide or correct them if they've made any assumptions that aren't quite correct, or add a little bit more depth into their understanding. So that should take about the first 10 minutes or so. Then the meat of the interview, ask, probe, and listen. So this is where we're going to go into our questioning. This is where we're going to go into the career history, the competencies, so on and so forth. This is really where the discussion is two way, but predominantly you obtaining information from the candidate, so that you can then measure, and measure them against preset criteria. We are going to come onto this, take notes as we said, you know, or your note taker if you're in such privileged position.

Jo Gregory (23:16):

Make sure that you've got those notes. Make sure that they make some sort of sense. If you can't take them during the conversation, then allow time afterwards just to make those notes and make sure that you've got them. Trust me when I say that, if you are busy and you try and compare candidates without taking timely notes, you're going to forget who said what and who you spoke to, and it's just going to be a muddle. And that would be such a shame not to get the best out of this interview process that you've dedicated so much time to. It’s always, always, always a good idea to give the candidate the floor towards the end of the interview. Most candidates will have questions, even if they don't have questions at the beginning of the conversation, they probably will have thought of some questions while you've been talking.

Jo Gregory (24:04):

A lot of them will want some reassurance that they've done. Okay. <laugh>, which is always an interesting question, and that they will want a chance to assess you. And as we said, this is, this is a two-way decision. Yeah. and then a nice way to close the interview is to talk about next steps. So again, you might want to temper this in a particular direction, given how you feel about the candidate at the time. but making sure they understand what the next steps would be if they were to be invited back in, and what the timeframe around that is going to be and what your method of communication is going to be so that they know exactly what to expect and that they're not left hanging at the end of the interview, not knowing who's going to contact them when, so on.

Jo Gregory (24:57):

Competency Based Interviews.

I'm sure that all of you have heard this term. I'm sure lots of you know exactly what competency-based interviews are. But maybe there's some people there who aren't entirely sure. Competency-based interviews are there to test and assess the candidate's competencies. And this would be through a series of targeted and specific questions, looking at targeted and specific skills. The way that we do this is to ask questions that are tailored to ascertain particular answers, if those candidates are able to demonstrate that skill. So you would have predetermined criteria of what you would expect the candidate to be able to achieve in that answer. So maybe some key points that you'd expect them to outline within their answer. And you'd have some key questions to ascertain those answers.

Jo Gregory (25:57):

The whole point of this is that past behaviour is the best indicator of future performance. So all of your questions are going to be, ‘tell me about a time when’, or, you know, ‘can you explain, how you got from A to B?’ and you will be looking for them to be able to give you really, really deep examples of their experience within that area. Now, sometimes candidates won't necessarily have experience, and anyone who has really prepped for an interview will be able to think on their feet and give you a, ‘well, I haven't necessarily had experience, but this is how I would handle it’. We would say that that is an acceptable way to answer the question. It may be that you want to think away as probing slightly further into that, that sort of flips it into becoming a bit more of a behavioural question.

Jo Gregory (26:48):

But your side of things is to make sure that you have really, really thought about and understood what the competencies needed for the role are, and designed your questions specifically around those competencies. You also then need to think about how you're going to measure the responses, and we'll come onto a really nice measurement grid in a second. But making sure that those measurements are fully understood by everybody involved in the process from your side, so that you are all applying the same criteria.

Tracey Adams

Just to let you know, we're nearly at 1230, Jo.

Jo Gregory

Okay. I'll hurry up. <laugh>. Okay, so we've got lots of examples of Questions here and I don't have that much time to go through them. So, past behaviour, best indicator of future performance. So, you can start off by talking about work history. This is a nice way to get the conversation going.

Jo Gregory (27:37):

Candidates are very familiar with their work history. They can talk you through their cv, and it means that you can fact check the information that you've got. There might also be particular roles that you're interested in and, and you can ask questions kind of as they talk. So ‘can you briefly talk me through your cv?’ Good way to get the conversation started. Then moving into the competency questions based on the skills needed to perform the job. So if you're looking for teamwork as one of the core competencies, ‘tell me about a time when you supported a colleague who was struggling with an area of work’. The answer to this is going to give you a good idea of their ability to work in a team, their ability to support colleagues.

Jo Gregory (28:24):

If customer service and customer sort of focus is one of your core competencies, ‘explain to me how you would ensure that you deliver the best customer service’. Again, all of these areas need to be closely linked to the job description. There's no point just throwing in competencies that don't have anything to do with the role that you're recruiting for. but once you know those competencies, it's quite easy to tailor your questions around those requirements. So we touched on behavioural questioning. It shows how a candidate is thinking, shows their kind of core behaviours. So ‘give me an example of when you didn't meet a goal and how you handled this’. That is going to show you how a candidate would deal with failure, or how resilient they are. And hopefully gives you an idea of what their behaviour would be like if they were to find themselves in a similar situation.

Jo Gregory (29:20):

If you are coming into persuasive skills or leadership, then ‘tell me about a time when you had to persuade someone resistant to your direction on how to perform a task at work’. Again, their response to this will show you whether they're a kind of a domineering sort of, of personality. It's their way or the highway, or if they're a little bit more kind of discussional, a little bit more malleable in the way that they engage. Values. Lots and lots of companies have company values, and it's important to - where possible - make sure that your employees align to those values. It's becoming such an important area for candidates when they're choosing who to work for. Candidates really are driven by making sure that employers reflect their personal values. So this is as useful for them as it is for you.

Jo Gregory (30:17):

These questions can be a little bit more difficult to articulate sometimes, and it really depends on whether you as a company have really done the work on getting those core values written down and articulated. but an example, if integrity is one of your core values, then ‘describe a situation where you have demonstrated integrity’. Nice, simple question. Very open, really gives the candidate the floor to have a think about where they've demonstrated that value. And if you've shared your company values with the candidate in advance, this also means that hopefully they can come pre-armed with some examples.

Jo Gregory (30:55):

‘Tell us about a time when you have worked for an organization that has matched your values’. Again, this is a chance for you to understand the candidate's values because they're going to need to dig deep and tell you about one of their values that has been matched previously. Hopefully that will be a match with yours. Remember to probe and listen well. So yeah, dig in on those questions. Make sure that you are asking further questions and really, really listen to their answers.


So this is where it can get a little bit tricky, but it is such a worthwhile exercise. If you can establish a consistent way of measuring your candidates, it's going to be much easier to make your decisions through the process. And you are going to have much more, clarity in your feedback for candidates as well.

Jo Gregory (31:53):

So as we've got here, it makes for a more objective hiring process. It gives consistency, it keeps track, not essential, but it does add structure. Some people think it can be stilting. It can make it less kind of natural. That comes with practice. Defining your scoring in advance is really, really important. So you can't just go into an interview and then think about scoring afterwards. You've really got to make sure that the scoring and the questions are linked. And that before you go into the process, you've decided what it is that's going to provide you with a five-star score. What's going to provide you with a two-star score, so on and so forth. And maybe adding some additional soft categories. You know, we're not robots. We are not going to be programmed to, to only want to be measured on certain things. There might be additional areas that are important to the business or important to the role that will come out the interview process that might not have had specific questions related to them. So that might be, things like sense of humour or communication style, which is obviously something that comes across throughout the entire interview process rather than from the answer to a specific question.

Jo Gregory (33:15):

So, measuring example - this is a simple but very, very effective way of keeping track of your measuring. So on this example we've got five candidates being asked six core questions, with a potential score out of 30. And then as you can see at the bottom the justification for each score is written down in advance so that everybody's scoring knows how to apply a score to that candidate. So for example, to get a four out of five, the candidate would've need to have given a strong answer that goes beyond basic requirements of the question. Hopefully everyone's going to have - if you've done the prep work and had the initial conversations - hopefully everybody's going to have a good understanding of what that should look like.

Jo Gregory (34:06):

What To Avoid.

This is always something that makes employers very, very nervous about the interview process and the recruitment process in general. in the 2010, EU legislation, there were some protected characteristics. And these apply to applicants just the same as they apply to employees. So the key message here is that if you wouldn't discriminate against an employee for any of these areas, then don't discriminate against a candidate for any of these areas. The easiest way to make sure you're not discriminating against them is just to avoid them as much as possible. You know, you don't need to take into any, take these areas into consideration in any of your interviewing. You don't need to go close to them, reference them anything. If you are nervous about this, then our recommendation would be to speak to your HR person, be that an internal or a consultant, and they will be able to guide you. They'll be able to check through your questions. They will be able to give you really good employee advice on how to deal with these protected characteristics, and how to protect yourself against any discomfort following the interview process.

Jo Gregory (35:24):

So we're nearly there. You’ve done your interviews, you've done your scoring, you've met everybody, you've taken your notes, you've done a lot of work. Well done. The next thing is really timely to get across that finish line in a way that you are happy with. So collate your feedback quickly. Make sure that you're not waiting days and days to get together with the stakeholders who are in the interview. Make sure that you are getting that feedback down and the making sure that it's shared with the relevant candidates, and that's for the successful ones and the unsuccessful ones. Keep candidates informed - if there is a delay, make sure they know about it. You know, this happens a lot. So if you're interviewing a number of candidates, one might need to postpone for ill health or unforeseen circumstances, and you might really want to make sure that you've seen that candidate before going back to any of them.

Jo Gregory (36:18):

All of those things are completely fair enough. Yeah. But make sure everybody is informed so that people aren't worrying or disengaging with the process. it's a crazy market out there at the moment. People are disappearing off the market faster than I think we've ever seen before. So if you find the candidate that you know is right for the job, make the offer. Get that offer to them in writing within 48 hours if you're going through an agency, have that conversation through the agency, make sure they understand how important it's to get that offer verbally accepted and then followed up on it as quickly as possible.

Tracey Adams (36:54):

Jo - just a quick point on that as well, a question that's come through. So, you know, someone's asked us, we're finding more candidates withdrawing from our process than ever before. How do we prevent this? And I think it's quite timely because it is all about timeliness. In that competitive market, the longer you wait to do any of these stages, you know, the likelihood is you are risking losing someone to another role, another offer to be taken off the market. And I think we can't stress enough, can we, about timeliness and responsiveness to candidates following through the process?

Jo Gregory (37:27):

Absolutely, absolutely. And it's something that's tripping so many employers up, you know, it is such a crazy market out there at the moment, such a fast-moving market. And yes, we understand that things happen, and issues might get in the way, but communicating is the key thing. You know, making sure that the candidate understands exactly where they are in the process and exactly what the intention is with regards to timeframe so that they can stay engaged, and so that they understand what to expect. Giving feedback to everybody ideally within 48 hours, would be great. Sometimes it's, it's difficult, but again, as long as candidates are kept informed is really important.

Jo Gregory (38:16):

Top Tips

Prepare, prepare, prepare, prepare, make sure that you're doing as much preparation as possible. It feels like a lot of work, but it really will make sure that the process is as successful as you could hope for it to be. So it's all well worth it. Listen well - as we talked about, if you are in the interview and you're finding it difficult to engage and take notes, find a solution, get somebody else to come in and take notes or take the notes afterwards - immediately afterwards. But do listen to the candidate and make sure you're really absorb absorbing what they're saying. Focus on the candidate's skills and fit for the role. That really is all that matters, is that they have the skills and they are fit for the role. Don't go near any of those protected areas, just focus on the role at hand and the candidates ability to fit. Allow for nerves and personality types.

Jo Gregory (39:20):

As we said before, we've seen some very, very senior candidates full of nerves when it comes to interview day. Also, different personality types will react to interviews in different ways. So just have that in the back of your mind. You know, if things aren't going exactly as you'd expect, then allow for a candidate being human. Ask everybody comparable questions. Again, this is down to your preparation, making sure that you've got those core questions. We're not saying that you have to have the same robotic conversation with every single candidate. You can add some flavour, you can, you know, talk about that candidate's specific experience, but make sure there's a core of comparable questions being asked in that main questioning section of the interview. Embrace talent. Now this is an area that a lot of clients have raised issue with. Sometimes candidates can come through who look too experienced for the role.

Jo Gregory (40:22):

We've seen so many businesses have massive success with them bringing on people into the business who are often more experienced in particular areas than the line managers themselves or the people interviewing themselves. It's nothing to be scared of. You know, as long as you are still focusing on the skills and fit requirement for that role and they are able to demonstrate that they have the skills and fit requirement for that role, then why not consider them? You know, if they've got justification for why they're looking for a role that is beneath their capability, then there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn't be considered. And you can question around that in the interview, you know, as, as long as you're doing it tactfully, or if you're through an agency like ourselves, we can have those discussions on your behalf. Measure responses. Again, the chart that we shared with you, it could be in a kind of formal chart basis or through measuring it in a slightly more kind of conversational way with your colleagues.

Jo Gregory (41:21):

But make sure that you are applying some sort of measurement to the interview process so that candidates are comparable. And then finally follow up quickly. We can't labour this point enough <laugh>, you know, you really, really don't want to lose candidates through the process. So at each stage make sure that you're following up quickly. Make sure that you're lining up time in your diary for the next stage. Make sure that you are allowing time in your diary to have those follow up conversations. This is a big time commitment. So if you feel as though, I don’t know, quarter three is your biggest quarter of the year, maybe that isn't the time to go looking for a new member of staff. You know, unless you really, really have to. So make sure that you are, that you're treating the recruitment process as a project that needs to be worked into your diary as you would do any other business project.

Tracey Adams (42:15):

Yeah. Brilliant.

Jo Gregory (42:17):

And finally, we're open to questions.

Tracey Adams (42:19):

So Jo, just sort of following that point about following up quickly, you know, one area that that people seem to be asking questions about is feedback, giving feedback. So yes, give feedback quickly, but also how to give feedback. And I think you know, some tips here. One, it is important to give feedback and quickly following an interview because you know, we are talking about people, you know, and people have invested time in you and your interview and your company and your role. So I think it's respectful to be giving them feedback of some kind. You know, it doesn't have to be highly detailed for every single candidate, but just there'll be something in that interview that you, if you are doing that sort of measurability, that measuring that Jo explained, you know, there'll be something obvious there where it might even be another candidate had a deeper level of knowledge of that sector or they had a deeper level of knowledge of a certain software or system that you needed.

Tracey Adams (43:20):

You know, so I think we have to be respectful about candidates time that they’re taking. And this is also your employer brand that you are representing. So you want them to go away, even if they haven't been successful, you want them to go away thinking that was a shame, but maybe next time, you know, what a great bunch, what a great team. Lovely to meet them. So feedback is really important. And I think, they've just had one other, we sort of covered this earlier on, but what are the typical number of stages? I think it just varies by role and level. I mean, we're commonly seeing I think a first stage on video and a second stage face-to-face, but not always. I mean that might be a good rule of thumb as Jo said, one stage might be a bit too quick nowadays,

Jo Gregory (44:12):

<laugh>, but

Tracey Adams (44:13):

You know, it doesn't have to be, it can be one stage. If it's a straightforward administration role, great. If that's how it works for you. So

Jo Gregory (44:22):

Absolutely, and I'd just add to that in case we haven't laboured the fact enough, as long as you have pre-thought about the number of stages so that you're not letting the process drag on and on by adding a stage and adding a stage. And so your candidates know what to expect. So the very best process will be one that is planned in advance. The number of stages are planned in advance. Even the dates for those stages are pre-booked, with stakeholders involved, with the hope that the candidates can make themselves available for those dates, of course. Just to make sure that there is pace in the process. and that there is a preset number of stages, with justification as to why each of those stages is required as well. You know, you don't want to have a stage just for the sake of having another stage. There needs to be a reason for having another discussion, especially if you're bringing candidates into London, for example, or, or asking them to travel or take time out of their current role.

Tracey Adams (45:24):

And, and one quick question, Jo, I think then we'll probably wrap up, is a question about the use of intelligence assessments, psychometrics, Thomas International, those sorts, and I think you've mentioned they can be used and I would say we use discs quite a lot for clients. And we can run those for you, but what I would say is they're probably only relevant for certain types of roles, certain team sizes, you know, it depends what your culture is, if the rest of the team have them. And I think whatever you use, you need that expert advice to use them. I worry about someone just taking a report and trying to interpret it. So it certainly has a place in certain types of roles and I think it certainly is a good discussion point for a second interview. For example, I would be nervous about making a decision finally on that candidate based purely on a report.

Jo Gregory (46:21):

Absolutely. By all means they

Tracey Adams (46:23):

Should. Yeah. Sorry Jo

Jo Gregory (46:24):

They should be tools to use to be used in conjunction with the rest of your process rather than a decision making tool on its own. And exactly as Tracey said, if you're going to buy into a service, please make sure that you utilize a professional within that particular assessment. People go through huge amounts of training to be able to really interpret the information that the assessment shows. They’re not always as simple as what the report spills out. You know, there are layers of intricacy that that can be explained and expanded on by the assessors involved. So do think about whether they are relevant for the role and relevant for your organization. If you can bring them into your workplace, they are really, really insightful. and they really do help with structuring teams, based on different personalities.

Tracey Adams (47:23):

Yeah, absolutely. Jo, I'm going to draw it to a close there. I'm going to say thank you everybody for joining and I must say, I think, well apologies there's been some confusion about timings and the start time of this. So if anybody's missed the start, I do apologize and we have this recorded, so we will send out afterwards and if there's any follow up questions, uh, Jo , and I've got our contact details on the slide here and we can also send this out. So please do get in touch with us if there's any questions. You know, when you've seen the recording. So really apologies about that. That's it for now though, and thank you for joining and we hope to see you on another webinar soon. So thank you. Absolutely. Thanks everybody. Bye.



43 min read