The importance of your candidate interview


Recruitment is all about relationships. You need to develop, build and maintain relationships with so many different people to do your job well. One of the most important relationships you have is with your candidates, and the first step on this path is a successful candidate interview. To support you on this, we’ve created a new IRP Professional Guide with tips for a successful candidate interview, which you can download here.

As recruiters, the key to placing our roles is to understand people’s motivations. We need to understand the wants and needs of our clients as well as what our candidates are looking for in order to marry both– and hit our targets!

There is nothing worse than a recruiter who just flings candidates at roles without pausing to think whether that candidate actually wants to do it. Besides being best practice, this can save major drama down the track if said candidate pulls out of the process at the eleventh hour.

This is why your candidate interview is so important. There are two different ways to interview a candidate – behavioural and competency based interviewing. But there are crossovers that you need to remember for both interviews types in order to get to know your candidate, so you can be successful in helping them with their next career move.

First things first, you need to prepare. Very recently I was sitting in an interview with a recruiter and have never felt more uncomfortable. I was left alone in the room for fifteen minutes while they went to find some paperwork , wasn’t informed I had to bring along my bank details and national insurance number and it was obvious they had only skimmed my CV. This does not make for a positive candidate experience. But everything that made me uncomfortable could so easily have been remedied if this recruiter had taken an extra ten minutes to prepare.

Another important thing to remember is to make sure the questions you’re asking are open and leave room for your candidate to expand organically. In a competency based interview, this is generally a given as it is how the questions are framed. You want your candidate to be doing the talking, while you remain in control to make sure the interview is following a logical order.

You must make sure you get all the essentials you need for yourself and your client – current salary, salary expectations, notice period and availability for interviews. A good way to approach it is to leave these questions for the end when you’ve established a connection, and your candidate doesn’t feel awkward sharing salary details.

I think that sometimes no matter how hard we try, we do tend to forget the importance of the key basics when interviewing candidates. It may be that we’re stressed because we have so many roles on and have clients demanding CVs or we are just tired and have talked to a lot of people that day. But there is always time to make sure you are interviewing your candidates correctly. It’s about taking the time to nurture the most important relationship you have as a recruiter. The bottom line is – if you don’t have candidates who trust you and who you understand, you aren’t going to be able to fill your roles.

What’s your number one tip for candidate interviewing? Let us know in the comments below!

Read our latest IRP Professional Guide on candidate interviews here.

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