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Recruitment – the “Interview”

So you’ve started your own business, things are going really well, you’re reaching the point when you can no longer continue as a one-person band. Here comes one of the biggest decision points you’ve encountered yet – Do you recruit? And if so, how do you ensure you get the right people?

Interviews can be a nightmare for small business owners in the early days! Here we suggest a number of questions you may wish to ask candidates that will help you evaluate their softer skills as well as their expertise and experience:

  • What do you know about our company and what about it appeals to you? This is an easy and straightforward question that will help to place the candidate at ease as well as providing you with an indication of how much background work and research they’ve done prior to the interview.

    Strong candidates will be able to demonstrate that they have researched your company and aligned some of their skills, ambitions, and goals to the company and role for which you’re recruiting.

  • What are you like to work with on a bad day? We all have bad days at work, but it’s how we interact with others during these times and how we manage these challenging situations that is important.

    A strong candidate will be able to display a level of emotional intelligence, articulating their weaknesses and how they try to overcome these.

  • How was it when you left your previous company? This question can provide detailed insight into a candidate’s interpersonal skills and inherent ability to build rapport with colleagues. A large farewell party would indicate a strong bond with colleagues and a genuine sadness at their moving on; whilst a quiet exit may indicate they failed to relate to their colleagues.
  • What has been the proudest moment of your career? This question can provide real insight into a candidate’s motivations. Ask them to explain who else was involved and how as a team they ensured they achieved the right outcome and you will have a genuine insight into how they would approach their work within your company.

So as the employer, how can you get the most out of the interview? Recruitment is a costly and time consuming process, presumably you are recruiting for the long-term. With this in mind, ensure that the candidate has a realistic, accurate, and honest appraisal of the role and the company. The “job not being up to expectation” is one of the main reasons new employees leave a new company.

Encourage the candidate to ask questions of you. Strong candidates will be able to demonstrate that real thought has gone into the role for which they are applying.

However good your recruitment skills, there is always an element of gambling, there is no guarantee that you will have hired the right person until they begin working for you. However, by analysing their skills and experience, and taking time to ensure that their goals are aligned with your own, you will have increased the chances of mutual success.

Other tips:

  • Ensure your questions provide tangible insight you can use in your decision making
  • Take notes to refer to later
  • Be aware of legal requirements and avoid questions that refer to protected characteristics as per the Employment Act 2008
  • Remember to “sell” your business to the candidate

Be candid with your feedback. If the fit is not right, tell the candidate; whilst maybe not what they w

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