How to Conduct an Interview in a Candidate-Driven Market

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Jul 26, 2019 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights, hiring trends, Interview Tips, client

The internet has made the gap between employers and job seekers smaller than before. A job seeker just have to input the job he's looking for in a search engine or a job aggregation site, then voila! He will have a vast job role and company options right at his fingertips.
While job seekers find it much easier now to hunt for jobs, companies find it more challenging to compete against each other for top talents. Not only that, review sites, such as Glassdoor, have also unveiled job interview and workplace experiences from different companies. The opinions have long been buried in candidates' and employees' minds before, so when review sites launched, they finally had a platform to speak about companies. If these reviews from past job seekers and employees made candidates feel turned off about a company during the interview process, they know they have other options.
So as the human resources personnel (HR) or hiring manager (HM), how would you make the interview process more worthwhile for you and the candidates? How do you change the candidate's initial impression based on review sites and convince him to pursue his career with your company?

Let Candidates Feel Comfortable

A candidate's best self cannot only be measured during a stressful application process. Though "grace under pressure" could signify how much a candidate wanted the job, HRs and HMs should not put too much weight on it. They should still be supportive of the candidate's career possibilities with their company. One of the many ways to do this is by telling candidates in advance what to expect: the dress code, the interviewer,  the interview topics, and so on. You may also offer an interview schedule at a convenient time for the candidate. Anything that would make them feel comfortable could give them a confidence boost during the interview. You would be surprised how they could be expressive with ideas, turning the interview to a more professionally fruitful conversation.

Draft Questions with a Top Performer in Mind

Imagine how a top performer would act in this role. Should he need specific platform certifications? How about specialized or multiple expertise and experiences? What uncompromisable soft and hard skills should he have to wing the role? You may start-off with these ideas to craft a perfect set of questions, but of course, the list goes on as long or as short as it is relevant to be. Rank your questions from most required to the least required. This should help you focus on the core skill set and attitude during the candidates' interview.

Get a Few Others' Point of View

Invite some of your trusted colleagues to help you interview the candidate. Besides the HRs and HMs, the hiring manager's boss perspective would be important, too. Peer interviewers can also add value not just to the hiring process, but to the new hire's and team's success as well in the long run. As you involve your team members, they feel a sense of ownership to welcoming new members and helping them to stay and thrive. However, be cautious of including too many colleagues if you want the process to move swiftly, so you can fill the position sooner rather than later.

Look for Adaptability

Gauging a candidate's "cultural fit" with hiring companies has been a hot topic before. While it's important to ensure that the new hire will be comfortable in the office culture, companies must not obsess over it. People are adaptable to their surroundings, and diversity is what makes teams stronger. Hence, it would be better to check if the candidate’s attitude towards work could fit within the company setting. Ask the candidate about examples of how he adapted to a new environment in the past.

Talk About a Real-Life Setup

Everyone knows the trick to answering a question about "weakness" is to disguise a strength as a weakness. In fact, gone are the days of asking scripted questions like that. A better strategy now is to give the candidate the actual daily challenges of the job and ask how he would go about them. If a problem comes up, how would he juggle the different aspects of the job while solving it? If he would join your company as a learning facilitator, how would he prepare and present a training module? The key here is to take a peek on how a candidate processes a situation in his mind that would make him succeed on-the-job.

Evaluate for a Growth Mindset

Allot enough time to truly assess the candidate's talents. See if he has the fundamental qualities of a life-long learner that would make him grow in whatever role he takes. Observe if the person expresses interest, understands the job's responsibilities, engages in the conversation, and shows eagerness to join your team. You may ask what if he takes a future leadership role, how would he take the lead? How does he stay engaged in the ever-changing industry he's in? How does he foster his learnings to remain relevant? This way, the questions are not only focused on the current role, but also on growth opportunities.

Persuade the Candidate

After ensuring during the interview's first half that the candidate is the right one, it's now time to take the conversation to the next level. If you are fully convinced that the interview has gone really well, sell the role and the company to the candidate. Explain openly to the candidate why you think he would be a good fit for the role. To make joining feel more exciting, offer the candidate the opportunity to meet the team, so your colleagues can help sell the job, too. Team members would give you the best testimonials and truthful representations of what the job and the company are like.

What You Must Remember

To make the above tips handier, here's a summary you could always refer to:
  • Relay the dress code, questions, and other relevant details in advance, so the candidate can feel more comfortable that he prepared ahead of time.
  • List down the qualities of the job's top performer to help you craft relevant questions.
  • Involve only a few valuable colleagues in the interviews, so the process won't take too long.
  • Check how the person can adapt instead of placing much emphasis on cultural fit.
  • Put more importance on questions that assess the candidate's behavior in actual job situations.
  • If you're decided to hire the candidate, influence his decision by selling the job and the company.

How ICS Can Help

ICS provides clients with a dedicated account manager responsible for knowing your company's products, services, and culture. We have a robust recruiting platform that identifies the target market of your staffing initiative. We also have an established candidate network from an extensive referral program developed from thousands of successful placements. We also provide pre-screened candidates that our recruiters assessed before referring to your company for an interview. The pre-screening includes technical and niche expertise as well as soft skills to find proactive, team-oriented professionals. If you’re currently looking to grow your team, be sure to contact us.
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