A great interview experience that reflects well on the organisation can make the difference between a candidate accepting the job offer or declining it. Since the life science industry is currently facing a skills gap and many employers have been surprised by the competition to attract candidates, it’s essential that you conduct an interview that will make that ideal person want to work for you.
However conducting a good interview can be tricky to get just right. Jim Gleeson at CK Group has given his top tips on how to conduct an excellent interview:
It is not only the candidate that should prepare for the interview. The more preparation you do for the interview, the easier it will be for both you and the candidate to get the information that you need to make your decision.
Before the interview:
Follow these simple steps to help you prepare:
- Plan the interview climate. Think about things like the layout of the room, how will you develop a rapport etc. A stress-free interview in comfortable surroundings has been shown to facilitate a better flow of information. Make sure that you have plenty of time and the interview is not rushed, book the room in advance if you need to and make sure there are no interruptions.
- Plan what questions you will ask by thoroughly reading the applicant’s CV or application form.
- Look for any gaps in education or employment or things that don’t seem to add up that you may wish to explore.
- Beware of possible discrimination in the questions you ask.
- Know the job and person descriptions of the job really well so that your questions help you compare candidates and if they have questions for you, you can answer them.
- If two or more people are interviewing, decide who will deal with what topics or who will lead the interview.
- Think about what information candidates may want to know about the job and your organisation.
- Plan the appointment – When you are arranging the appointment, make sure that the candidate has a map of where to go, a copy of the job description and role specification, details of who they are meeting and when.
- Most importantly of all, make sure that you start every interview with an open mind.
At the Interview:
- Once the interviewee arrives at your premises try to put them at ease with some rapport building questions like “Did you find our offices easily?” or “I see from your CV that you are interested in the theatre, I am too, what have you seen recently?”.
- Don’t make them wait to see you for an excessively long time.
- Introduce yourself and other people present.
- Explain the structure of the interview and how long it will take.
- If you plan to take notes, ask the candidate if they are comfortable with that? (We suggest that you always take notes).
- Outline the company background and role, and where the job fits.
- Encourage the candidate to talk about how their skills and experience apply to the vacancy.
- Ask viewpoint questions – ones that cannot be answered with a yes or no. These will normally start with “What, How, Who, Where, Tell me about…..?”
- Allow the candidate time to think and speak. Remember to use your mouth and ears in proportion i.e. listen twice as much as you speak.
- Keep control of the interview. If you feel the candidate is going off-track turn the conversation back to the information you need.
- At the end of the interview, ask the candidate if they have any questions.
- Inform them of the next stage of the recruitment process, eg appointment, second interviews, tests and the estimated time scales.
- Thank the candidate for their time.
- Keeping records of the process.
- Backup interviews with a detailed record, written as soon as possible after the interview otherwise you may forget important information.
- Only record what has been said in the interview and how the selection decision was made, NOT your beliefs or thoughts about the candidate.
- Only record or keep personal data after an interview if it is necessary and relevant to the recruitment process, or in respect of a discrimination challenge. Data that is kept should be securely stored.
After the interview:
- Contact the successful candidate as quickly as possible, this will lessen the likelihood of a counter offer.
- Contact the unsuccessful applicants as soon as possible and give relevant feedback. It could be that in the future you may want to see them for a different role and so you don’t want to put them off the company by never letting them know the outcome.
This article is our latest release from our drug discovery and development spotlight which aims to highlight everything the sector has to offer, from highlighting the variety of careers available to help attract new candidates, to an infographic on how to improve your recruitment processes, not to mention a series of articles aimed at supporting employers in the sector. Take a look here
If you would like help on how to make your recruitment process more effective, take a look at our latest infographic here
This article has been written by Jim Gleeson, find out more about Jim here