With the advent of national and international recruitment many years ago, I saw a huge decline in face to face (f2f) interviewing as the norm.
When considering best practice, then of course, meeting with the candidate that you are going to put forward to a client is the best option. So, why do so many companies not even consider this, when it’s an option to them?
I’ve worked with hundreds of recruitment companies and it always surprises me when consultants don’t see the benefit of the f2f interview. Replies such as “the CV tells me whether they have the skills, experience and educational qualifications required to perform the job” and “it takes too long to get an interview organised, so my competitors may have already put them forward by the time I get to see them”.
Both are correct of course, so why do I advocate the f2f interview so much?
Firstly, your client can look at a CV and determine whether the person is likely to be able to do the job… so what are they paying you for if this is your answer? Secondly, the competitor answer is correct for the short-term, but recruitment is a ‘long-term’ game and therefore being able to secure high quality passive candidates as well as working with clients exclusively will negate this answer.
So what’s the answer if you’re recruiting nationally or internationally?
A very detailed initial screening call can make sure that: –
a) the candidate is capable of the role
b) they are motivated to make a move when it’s offered to them
c) a counter offer is not likely to be accepted
d) the candidate actually has something to offer prospective clients i.e. something of the ‘wow’ factor
e) the salary they would want to move is in the right ball park of the current market rate
This would normally take 10-15 minutes and will give you the opportunity to build rapport with the candidate and show them that you are interested in them and their situation… not just whether they can perform the role.
In an ideal world, you would now book a f2f interview to find out everything else about the candidate to be able to match them to their ideal job, which could take from 30 minutes to an hour. This is the first interview that you are completing for the client, so as to be able to provide them with 2 or 3 suitable people to interview themselves – i.e. the second and potentially, selection interview.
So what if location and time means you can’t bring the candidate into your office/location?
There’s no excuse to not ‘see’ your candidate with todays technology. So whether it’s a free app such as Skype or Facetime or paid telephone/video interviewing software by companies such as Tazio/Launchpad/Shortlister, that allows you to conduct a traditional interview or set up key questions and the candidate is able to record their replies in their own timeframe.
It may mean that you have to work outside of normal hours to interview people in different time zones, but whoever said recruitment was a 9-5 job? If they did… they were lying!
So what should the interview contain?
The key is to make sure that the 80/20 rule is implemented here. So the questions – whether they’re open, close, probing, hypothetical, or competency based – should be prepared to give the candidate the opportunity to speak for 80% of the time.
Topics to be covered by your questions are: –
• Work Experience
• Needs and wants
• Strengths and weaknesses
• Red flags
• Specialist skills/abilities
My final thought is to remember that the interview is all about the candidate, not you, for 80% of the time. Make sure the 20% that you’re talking, you are putting the candidate at ease as well selling your company and yourself. A lot of time is spent on sales calls to clients in our industry, but remember your candidates are your customers as well and you need to sell to them too.