March 10 2022

Job interview tips for recruiters: Make hiring decisions a cinch

As a recruiter, one of the key aspects of your role is interviewing candidates for jobs. Selecting the right person for the role can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack. So whether you’re new to hiring or a seasoned recruiter, here are our top interview tips for recruiters to help identify the best candidate. 

Today’s job market is a candidate’s playground

Between October and December 2021 the number of job vacancies rose to a new record of 1,247,000 according to the Office of National Statistics. For recruiters, this means candidates can be highly selective about the roles that they take on.

To put your company and the role you’re hiring for in the best possible light, there’s a wealth of opportunity in the interview process itself. The added bonus is these job interview tips for recruiters will help you secure the very best talent. 

Why great interviews matter

When it comes to job interview tips for recruiters, it’s important to remember what the interview process is all about. You and your company need to find the ideal candidate in a pool of people with varying levels of skills and abilities. 

Of course, you won’t be hiring every person that you interview, but there’s good reason to put in the maximum effort every time. You can’t make a first impression twice, after all.

Candidates are assessing you and your company

With the great resignation still in full flow, some 32% of UK employees are considering leaving their jobs over the next 12 months. Attracting, and hiring, talent has become much harder, meaning that the interview process is more important than ever. 

Just as you’re looking at all that a candidate is beyond their CV, you need to showcase your company and demonstrate how it’s the best place to work. You need to impress the candidate as much as they need to impress you.

That’s why approaching an interview as a two-way process is vital so that you can both assess whether you’re a good fit. 

Job interview tip 1: Preparation, preparation, preparation

When looking at how to start an interview as a recruiter or interviewer, it’s a must to be fully prepared. This will allow the interview to flow, highlight to the candidate your level of professionalism, and make them feel valued – something you shouldn’t overlook. 

Having a plan also facilitates the purpose of an interview; it allows you to glean all of the information that you need and to assess whether a candidate is a good fit. 

How you can prepare to interview a candidate

  • Re-read the candidates’ CV
  • Highlight specific points from the CV that you want to visit 
  • Ensure that you have questions prepared (Indeed has a good list to consider)
  • Be clear about what the job description includes so that you understand the skills and abilities that you’re trying to identify in the candidate

HR teams are under immense pressure, with so many functions to carry out and not enough time to do them all. Sometimes this means recruitment processes are rushed. 

It’s important to convey to your company that the preparation time that you need is as vital as the interview itself. Without this you’re likely to miss key points and, if your lack of preparedness is noticeable, it could make the candidate more likely to explore other opportunities. 

Job interview tip 2: Be authentic to build trust and rapport

One of the most important job interview tips for recruiters is always to remember that one of the candidates will ultimately become your co-worker. For this reason, you need to think about how you come across and how you make candidates feel.

With research finding that between 60 and 90% of communication is non-verbal, body language is incredibly important when making a good impression. Striking the right pose will help you develop trust and rapport with the candidate.

Being self-aware and working on any bad habits in your body language is a great investment of your time from a personal development perspective too.

Relaxed candidates give better interviews

Putting candidates at ease will help them to perform at their best and allow you to glean more information from them.

Combining the right body language with warm and welcoming language will help you to be authentic. This attribute will give the candidate you’re interviewing a positive impression in terms of your company and its culture.

If you’re authentic, the logical thought process is that this is how the company is as a whole. 

Job interview tip 3: Dig deep and get to know the candidate 

We’ve already covered the need to conduct a job interview with it in mind that it’s a two-way process. Both you and the candidate should be engaged and conversing naturally. Use the time that you have with the candidate to get to know them. 

A good interview tip for recruiters to remember is the importance of encouraging conversation about the candidate as a person, as opposed to simply a role or job title. By doing so, you’re showing that your company cares about who it hires.

Demonstrating a genuine interest in candidates’ hobbies and passions outside of work will go a long way.

It’s not all about you

Don’t forget to give your candidates the opportunity to talk about what they want to. Be sure to allow time for them to ask questions and, as part of your preparation, be in the position to answer the most common ones. You may be asked about:

  • Your company’s growth plans
  • Chances for development
  • Promotion opportunities
  • Your benefits package

Job interview tip 4: The early bird catches the worm 

Do you remember the last time you applied for a job? Do you remember how it felt while you were waiting to find out if you had been successful? No doubt you wanted to know as soon as possible.

Understanding these feelings yourself, it’s important not to leave a candidate hanging on. If you want them to feel valued, be sure to follow up when you say you will. This shows your candidate that you respect them and their time.

Radio silence can send your candidates packing

The average waiting time from interview to decision is a whopping 38 days according to a recruiting benchmarking report from 2019. That seems like an awful long time even if internal decisions can take a while.

Keeping candidates informed can help alleviate this. Bear in mind that the longer a candidate is left waiting, the greater the chance of losing them to another company. 

Job interview tip 5: Not everyone loves a task 

A fairly recent addition to interviews is ‘the task’ – a piece of work or project that a company asks a candidate to do either before, during or after an interview. This approach may be more prominent in certain disciplines or even sectors, but it’s definitely on the rise judging by the volume of posts on LinkedIn about it. 

What these tasks and assignments essentially add up to is free work. Given the time that a candidate has already committed to applying for the job and preparing for an interview, it’s unfair to ask them to then undertake more work, especially since it’s unpaid.

Of course it’s tempting to ask a candidate to demonstrate their abilities during the interview. This can be great for you, but consider that candidates may find this quite stressful and it may not give you a true reflection of their capabilities. 

De-risking hiring decisions  

All hiring decisions involve a degree of risk. Recruiters and interviewers may never be 100% sure 100% of the time they’re hiring the best candidate for the job. 

But you can help mitigate this risk by considering the job interview tips listed above to help you select the best person for the job. Your role in recruitment and interviewing puts you in a unique position because your interviewing capability allows you to shape the future of your company.

Now if that’s not a great opportunity, what is?