Recruitment series – Part 5: Face to face interview

About the Author: Ashley Thomson
Ashley Thomson

I’m sure at one point or another in our lives we’ve all taken a good, hard look at a piece of our own writing and said ‘gee, I’d make a good writer’.

Ok, maybe not.

But the next step is going to channel that belief (even if it’s never existed) and turn it into something tangible and useful in the process of picking the best candidate for your business.

It revolves around the face-to-face interview.

Now, if you’ve followed this series of posts on coaching businesses through the recruitment process, you’d already know that most of the nitty-gritty details are already ironed out before we start meeting our candidates face to face. (If you want to get up to speed, check out the posts on job descriptionsjob advertisements, screening candidates, and telephone screening.)

So, our focus now is on writing our own personal autobiography for our candidate.

See, now anybody can be a writer.

The reason we use this parallel is that we want the face-to-face interview to focus on the history of our candidates.

To begin with, before we get into the content of the “autobiographies”, we like to focus on a couple of key rules.

Firstly, don’t be afraid to get deep into the candidate. Don’t be afraid to devote thirty to forty-five minutes on each role to get a real robust understanding of who they are.

After all, it’s cheaper to hire than fire.

And secondly, interview as a team. It gives a greater responsibility and accountability gained through consensus so you’re sure you’re hiring the right person as a business.

Now to the writing part.

For the purpose of this of process, we like to split it into four main “chapters”.

Chapter 1: The previous roles

Start off by finding out about either your candidates roles within the last 7 years or the last 2 roles. In focusing on this section, find a bit about their general history in the role (specifics will come later). You might look at questions like:

Why were they employed?

What was their role?

Was it a developed role or was it a replacement role?

What was the outcome of the role?

Chapter 2: The accomplishments.

Start digging into more specific details of some achievements and accolades of the individual that has made them feel like they’ve been successful in their previous role.

Play detective in this chapter.

Find out why they were proud of specific achievements and ask questions, questions and more questions to get a real grasp of what makes your candidate tick.

Chapter 3: The failures

This is the chapter that tells us a great deal about who the candidate is (and the one we’d all love read). Get an idea of some low points in the career of your interviewee. Find out what made them angry or complacent in their previous roles. Find out why they left. Find out what de-motivated them and what didn’t work out in their history in their jobs.

Chapter 4: The team

A quick caveat on this chapter: This is generally included if it’s a management position that you’re hiring for. It will probably be irrelevant for positions that don’t fit that role.

Focus on the team your candidate was bestowed. How did your candidate feel they interacted, motivated and retained them and how they managed individual team members.

Put all these pieces together and you should have the perfect “autobiography” of who your candidate is, making sure your decision inevitably is the right one.

Next up in the Recruitment Series:

Part 6: Reference checks

Part 7: Trial day