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Employers who are specific and upfront about organisational expectations, whether it is about skills, key achievements, or personality requirements, stand a better chance of finding the right person for the job

Set expectations right before interview

We live in times where corporates leave no stone unturned to grab the best available talent in the market. If employers are serious about hiring the best people, it is important that they make a great first impact with preferred candidates. Yet, employers sometimes undervalue the role of a planned interview process in successfully cementing a hiring decision.

A positive interview experience will kindle the interest of candidates to work with the organisation. Even if the organisation doesn't make actual hires, it will still have made professional contacts that it can go back to for future requirements. Conducting interviews that make a great first-impact requires the right mix of gut feeling, insight and good preparation. Here are a few insights on how a streamlined interview process can help make the right hiring decision.

Set expectations:
To find the right people, the organisation must be absolutely clear about the kind of candidate it wants. It therefore makes sense to set clear expectations prior to the interview process. So also, the candidate must be sure of what to expect in an interview lest he should get nervous and apprehensive. This can in turn affect his performance.

Therefore, employers who are specific and upfront about organisational expectations, whether it is about skills, key achievements, or personality requirements, stand a better chance of finding the right person for the job.

Create a plan:
Provide candidates with as much information about the interview as possible. Put together a simple plan that briefly outlines the interview process and the areas the interview will cover. In case of written tests, include sample questionnaires and practice papers with brief instructions on how to handle the test. Some organisations also include interviewer bios and focus areas for each level of interview. You can either inform the candidates directly or post the information on your corporate website. It is a small step, but it can go a long way in reducing candidate anxiety and improving performance.

Clear path:
Top performers are interested in joining dynamic organisations that offer challenging opportunities and clear career paths. Many companies lose out on good candidates during the hiring process because they fail to sell a compelling employment brand. A prospective employee buys into the organisational brand from the moment he walks into the interview. Every step of the process that follows may influence whether the candidate wants to work for the organisation or not. Right from the physical environs of the office to how he was treated during interview and how he perceives the culture of the company matter. It is therefore imperative to make first impressions count, and capitalise on every opportunity to project the organisation as a great place to be in.

Not on the spot :
Many managers tend to 'freewheel' during the interview, asking questions that come to their mind on the spur of the moment. The limitations of freewheeling are particularly obvious when candidates are subjected to multiple interviews at the same firm. It is common in such cases for different interviewers to ask exactly the same questions in back-to-back interviews. Such haphazard questioning takes away the effectiveness of the interview process. By scripting the interview questions in advance, you can avoid tedious repetition or candidate frustration, and ask relevant questions that can provide the requisite information and insight into the candidature.

Take care
Gathering information is key to skilled interviewing. Hence, it is necessary to be thoughtful and discerning in the interviewing techniques adopted. Treat the candidate as you would your customer. Put him at ease and adopt a consistent line of questioning that will aid your decision making process. At the end of the interview, bring a formal closure to the meeting. Provide impressions to the candidate, intimate a timeframe within which a decision will be made and offer a business card for future follow-up. Summing up in a sentence, a well thought-out and organised interview process provides organisations better chances of identifying and recruiting the best candidates.

Bindu Sridhar