Your company is growing successfully and soon you will be recruiting your first employee. You have attracted good candidates thanks to a well-written and super-efficient job advertisement, you have scheduled several interviews with candidates whose profiles seem perfect for the position to be filled.
What questions should be asked to avoid missing important information? What are the pitfalls to avoid when conducting a job interview?
To help you in this decisive step, our international recruitment agency has listed 20 rules to follow to succeed in your first recruitment and conduct a job interview.
Recruiters, prepare for the job interview
1. Define the position to be filled
Before you embark on a recruitment process, think carefully about the position you want to create.
Define the contours of the position:
What will the new hire’s duties be?
What are their responsibilities?
Are you looking for a junior or senior profile?
This will allow you to identify the typical profile of your future employee and will help you sort through the various applications received.
And above all, the more precisely you determine the limits of the position to be created, the more you will attract qualified and motivated resumes.
At the time of the job interview, remind yourself of the essential tasks of the position and check their point by point.
2. Filter CVs
You have received dozens of applications, now sort them in order to keep only the most relevant ones.
There is no point in interviewing so many candidates: you would be wasting your time and losing sight of your search criteria.
To facilitate the analysis of the CVs, draw up a list of selection criteria that you consider essential for the position and prioritize them. Then “scan” the resumes according to this grid.
Finally, classify the profiles into 3 categories:
Applications that are a perfect fit,
Applications that are more or less suitable,
Applications that are not at all suitable.
And of course, give priority to candidates in the first category.
3. Prepare relevant questions
Much of your preparatory work involves deciding what questions to ask candidates. By asking candidates relevant questions and analyzing their answers, you are sure to gain valuable information for evaluating them.
Recruiter, what are the most relevant questions to ask in a job interview?
Focus on behavioral and situational topics. Here are some sample questions:
- Why did you leave your previous position?
- What do you know about our business?
- Why should we hire you?
- What motivates you for this position?
- Do you consider yourself successful?
- What are your strengths?
- What do your colleagues think of you?
- What did your supervisor say about you?
- Do you know how to work under pressure?
- Are you willing to put the company’s interests ahead of your own?
- How would you motivate an employee with low morale?
- How would you deal with an unhappy customer?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What do you expect from this position?
- Why do you think you will succeed in this position?
Develop your questions around the hiring criteria that deserve the most attention. These questions will allow you to:
- Get to know the candidate,
- Evaluate the candidates’ knowledge and understanding,
- Evaluate the suitability of the candidates,
- Evaluate the candidates’ intentions.
- Find alternatives to cliché questions to avoid pre-recorded answers.
Try to memorize your questions to ask during the job interview, otherwise, prepare a concise sheet to place in front of you.
While it is helpful to have a list of questions in front of you during the face-to-face interview, be sure to maintain eye contact with the candidate during the conversation.
4. Seek professional advice
Hiring doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. Recruiting firms can be great allies in learning how to conduct a job interview.
If you decide to outsource your recruitment process, consider reading How to find a job with the help of a recruitment agency
Ask them for advice on how to review your questions or run simulations to improve your interview process.
Professional recruiters will also be able to help you maintain the legality of an interview. For example, it is illegal to ask an interviewee if he or she plans to have children. A good recruiter will advise against asking this question.
Conducting a job interview
Yes, many times it’s not the candidates who dread the interviews the most… it’s the business owners!
Entrepreneurs face multiple challenges and Human Resources is one of them.
Hiring one employee takes so much time!
You have to sift through hundreds of resumes and conduct numerous interviews to find the perfect fit.
5. Reduce candidate stress and relax
That’s it, it’s time for the job interview. You are the one who will guide this moment.
Remember to put the candidate at ease.
Candidates find interviews stressful because they are faced with the unknown:
What will my recruiter look like?
What kind of questions will they ask?
How can I fit this meeting into my workday?
And of course: what should I wear?
While the preparation phase is important, don’t conduct your job interviews mechanically to the point that you sound robotic.
Relax and encourage natural conversation: keep in mind that most people can sense if someone is a fake.
Also, in stressful situations, we perform less well. A candidate will express himself better if you conduct the interview in a more relaxed atmosphere.
In order to lower the candidate’s stress level:
Inform them in advance of the topics you wish to discuss so they can prepare themselves.
Be prepared to meet at a time that is convenient for them.
Specify your company’s dress code.
Your goal is to put them at ease so that the interview is productive and professional.
6. Involve others in the recruitment process
Involve other managers in the hiring process.
For example, if you manage Human Resources, you might conduct the interview first. The next person to interview would be the candidate’s potential manager, and then one of the key employees.
- Consider bringing copies of resumes to all interviewers.
- Explain to them the key criteria for the profiles’ suitability for the position.
- Allow time for the candidate to interact with each person.
- Bringing together several recruiters provides different perspectives on the candidates.
7. Get over your preconceived notions
The goal of every recruiter is to select the best possible employees.
However, our hiring decisions can be (and often are) influenced by our unconscious biases and stereotypes.
These biases are difficult to detect. They lead to imbalances in the hiring process, resulting in a uniform workplace rather than diversity. However:
A fair hiring process reduces the recruitment failure rate (which is a scary 1 in 2!).
Numerous studies show that it has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line.
This should convince you to fight your unconscious hiring prejudices!
And as proof, according to the consulting firm McKinsey :
parity companies are 15% more likely to outperform others,
Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform those that are not.
When conducting a job interview, always question your own judgment and be aware of your preconceived notions.
Here are 16 Pre-Employment Assessment Tools to Help With Your Next Hire
8. Putting the candidate in a situation
There is nothing better to evaluate a candidate than to put them in a situation.
Think of a small scene in which you can test their reactions to concrete problems.
Opt for a practical case involving tasks and decisions that they might have to make.
A role-playing situation will allow you to :
- evaluate the candidate’s reactions
- to know if the candidate meets your criteria,
- to verify that the candidate shares your company’s essential values.
9. Let the candidate express himself
Start by asking open-ended questions, such as:
- Tell me about your background
- What are you looking for from us?
These questions give the candidate the opportunity to express themselves freely and to get their bearings.
On your side, you evaluate their ability to synthesize, their elocution, their way of managing stress…
These questions give you key elements to draw the contours of the candidate’s personality.
10. Give the candidate a chance to ask questions
When interviewing, you should give the candidate the opportunity to ask their own questions. This way, they will be able to determine if the position is right for them.
In order to answer all of their questions, make sure you:
- Know all aspects of the position,
- Clarify your expectations,
- Indicate the benefits of working for your company.
These questions will help you ensure that the candidate is well prepared for the interview and is genuinely interested in the position.
The 80/20 rule is an effective interview strategy: you listen 80% of the time, and you talk 20%.
11. Verify the candidate’s motivations
Why did the candidate respond to your job offer?
What are their motivations?
By asking these questions to potential recruits, you can gauge their enthusiasm and confirm that they have understood what your company expects of them.
12. Do not hesitate to ask for references
Despite the questions asked during the job interview, you still have doubts about a candidate?
Ask the candidate to provide you with references.
By contacting the last companies where he or she worked, you can clarify any uncertainties and confirm the veracity of the information given by the candidate.
Before you check a candidate’s references, you are required to ask for their permission.
Use a written authorization, so you are sure to be protected by law.
You can find sample reference consent forms on the web for the candidate to sign.
13. Give a positive image of your company
Conducting a recruitment interview is also about seducing a candidate. The best profiles are generally sought after by several companies.
To convey a positive image that inspires confidence in your company. Present the advantages of the position, and the possibilities of evolution.
Your attitude during the interview is a determining factor in attracting the right candidate.
Listen to them, and answer their doubts and questions. And keep in mind that successful recruitment is the result of a mutual commitment between you and the candidate.
14. Conduct a behavioral interview
A behavioral interview is an open-ended question that asks the candidate to describe in concrete terms a critical situation he or she has faced.
Conducting a behavioral interview allows us to understand how a candidate has reacted to a particular circumstance in the past.
It is an excellent tool to check if the person has the right attitude for the position.
Examples of behavioral questions:
How did you stand your ground when implementing this unpopular decision?
How did you deal with a complex issue?
In the best behavioral interviews, the candidate may not notice the type of attitude the recruiter is looking for.
Also observe the candidate’s body language and the way they interact. This is an effective way to get to know a person and their reactions.
15. Listen and take notes during the interview
There’s no point in asking good questions in a job interview if you don’t listen to the candidates’ answers.
You won’t remember everything a candidate said when you conduct a job interview, so take notes.
Especially if some candidates demonstrate superior communication skills or show enthusiasm in answering questions.
16. Checklist for video conference job interviews
Thanks to the use of Skype-like tools, entrepreneurs can now recruit a candidate from halfway around the world.
Before you interview for a job remotely, consider this checklist:
- Find a quiet, private, well-lit location where you won’t be interrupted.
- Make sure your internet connection is stable.
- Make sure the sound and microphone are working.
- Test your computer’s webcam.
- Close all unnecessary web browser tabs and applications.
- Have a pen, notepad and a copy of the candidate’s resume on your desk.
- Put your phone on silent mode.
Mistakes to avoid during the recruitment interview
17. Poor time management
Conducting a job interview usually takes 45 minutes to an hour.
It is up to you to ensure that the interview goes smoothly, so prepare a precise list of points to discuss with the candidate, and let them express themselves while trying to control candidates who are a little too talkative.
Think about establishing an interview guide in which you will list the steps of your recruitment process:
- the most important data on the resumes,
- the information you want to give candidates about the position,
- the atmosphere of your company…
Before closing the interview, do not forget to ask the interviewees if they have any questions.
18. Asking illegal questions
Keep in mind that certain questions should not and cannot be asked of the candidate.
Specifically, to conduct a job interview in accordance with the law, you cannot ask about :
- private life (single, married…),
- political ideas,
- membership in a union,
- sexual orientation…
If a candidate feels that he or she has been the victim of discrimination in hiring, he or she can file a complaint with the public prosecutor.
In addition, you should know that if you intend to have your candidates take aptitude or personality tests, you must inform them before the interview.
19. Monopolizing the floor during the recruitment interview
Be careful not to monopolize the floor during the interview.
The candidate needs information from you about the job and the company.
But he or she must also be able to present his or her own qualifications and demonstrate how they are relevant to the position.
The speaking ratio should therefore be 80% candidate, 20% recruiter.
20. Let your prejudices influence you
We are all influenced by our unconscious reflexes, and they can make us make bad decisions.
Here are some tips for conducting a non-discriminatory job interview:
- Identify your own biases: despite the best of intentions, biases can interfere with your hiring process (social, ethnic, religious, etc.).
- Ask yourself what characteristics really affect the candidate’s job performance.
- For example, what a candidate wears may be of interest to sales managers, but not so much to developers.
- Slow down your decision making: Recruiters often make quick decisions about a candidate. Take your time and then refer to your notes to form an opinion about the candidates.
- Focus on job-related characteristics. If you want to assess skills, use concrete tests. Knowing what university they graduated from doesn’t necessarily tell you anything in terms of skills.
- Resist hiring in your own image: we often end up hiring “mini-me’s” with a profile similar to ours. Remember, this is not in your company’s best interest.
Once you’ve found the perfect candidate, make sure you check out all the hiring aids and formalities beforehand so that you comply with the law.
Also remember to protect yourself with an adequate legal framework. In particular, be sure to draw up an employment contract in accordance with the rules of the art, in order to clearly define the basic terms of the employee-employer relationship.