Interviewer tips for conducting a perfect job interview
What is a job interview?A job interview is a formal meeting between a job applicant and an employer to evaluate the applicant's suitability for a job role advertised by the employer. Interviews are commonly used for employee selection.Conducting a job interview is a crucial part of the recruitment process as it allows employers to gather information about the candidate's skills and prior experience, providing insights into their potential performance in the role.So, how can you conduct a seamless and professional interview process?Here are some top tips for interviewers to help you conduct the perfect interview:Familiarize yourself with the job descriptionBefore the interview begins, it's important to thoroughly understand the content of the job description and the associated roles and responsibilities.By reviewing the job description, you can formulate relevant questions and gain a clear understanding of the qualities you are seeking in a candidate.Define your expectationsWhile a well-written job description is a good starting point, it may not be sufficient for conducting a comprehensive interview. It is crucial for interviewers to have a thorough understanding of the desired qualities in a candidate.Consider the ideal behavior and characteristics of an employee in the role. As an interviewer, you should ask questions that assess the candidate's alignment with your expectations and determine if they are a good fit for your organization's culture.Creating a checklist of these expectations will facilitate the comparison of interviewees and simplify the decision-making process.Prepare relevant questionsPreparing a list of questions is essential for a successful job interview. The balance of question types is equally important.Include competency-based questions to assess the candidate's approach to the role. Use character-based questions to evaluate how well the candidate would fit within your team. Inquire about their career goals to gain insights into their motivations. Remember to ask open-ended questions that encourage the candidate to provide detailed responses rather than simple yes or no answers.By following these tips, you can conduct an effective job interview that helps you identify the most suitable candidate for the role.”Preparation is key: from greetings to the final question, make sure you have all bases covered.”Be Prepared Beyond the Job InterviewDo not underestimate the significance of small details during the job interview. It is important for the interviewee to feel comfortable enough to express their true personality.For instance, check the interview room. Is it private and comfortable? Do you have water available on the table? If the interview is being conducted remotely, ensure that your sound and camera are working properly and that your Wi-Fi connection is strong. Introducing candidates to your team members on the interview panel before the interview begins is a great way to observe how they interact with people, while also giving the interviewee an opportunity to learn more about your company.Practice Makes PerfectGoing over your questions and expectations with a colleague before the interview will boost your confidence.It is worth considering having a second team member join you in the interview to take notes. This will give you more time to focus on the interviewee and respond to their answers.Colleagues can provide valuable tips on how to conduct a job interview. They may also be interested in receiving your interview advice!Foster a ConversationA job interview can be an insightful and enjoyable experience for both the interviewer and the interviewee.Help the interviewee make the most of the session by putting them at ease from the beginning. Asking conversational questions will allow you to get to know the candidate better and encourage them to speak freely before moving on to more challenging interview questions.“Follow the 80-20 rule of interviewing: let the interviewee talk 80% of the time.”Listen moreAs the interviewer, your focus should be on your questions and guiding the job interview.Keep in mind that your goal is to learn about the candidate. A commonly recommended rule is to speak only 20% of the time and listen for 80% of the interview. While silence may feel uncomfortable, allow the interviewee time to think and answer your questions. Resist the temptation to break the silence yourself.Encourage the candidate to ask their own questions during the interview and at the end.Expect questions from intervieweesIn addition to encouraging questions from the interviewee, anticipate that they will come prepared with inquiries about various aspects, such as company culture, development opportunities, and career progression.Take this opportunity to provide additional information about the company that the interviewee may not have discovered during their research. This can include details about the working environment and how the business has been affected by the pandemic. It's important to give interviewees insight into the company's purpose and how the team operates effectively.Be aware of 'unconscious bias'As the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover. Your first impression of someone is formed in just seven seconds, driven by your unconscious brain.During a job interview, it's crucial to be mindful of this bias. Remind yourself not to make hasty decisions. Stick to your planned questions and use a standardized checklist to ensure every interviewee has a fair chance.Do not make promises you cannot fulfillIt is natural to want to present a positive image of the job and company, but be cautious not to misrepresent the role.The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development refers to this conversation as a "psychological contract." If the actual job differs from the expectations set during the interview, the psychological contract is broken, which may result in the new hire leaving.Conclude the interview appropriatelyInform the candidate when they can expect a response and how it will be delivered. Provide or confirm the contact information they should look out for, and ensure that the contact information you have for them is accurate.Before ending the interview, express gratitude for the candidate's time. This leaves a positive impression of the company and acknowledges that the candidate is also evaluating you. It is important to present the company in a favourable light.What happens after the interview?Conducting a job interview does not end when the interviewee leaves the room. Following up with the candidate after the interview is a crucial, yet often overlooked, step in the process.Put yourself in the candidate's position and consider their experience during the next steps. Inform them of when they can expect a decision and communicate any delays in the process. Failing to follow up can harm your reputation and lose potential prospects.Avoid making a final decision hastily during the interview itself. Take the time to evaluate the candidates' performance before informing every one of the outcomes. Additionally, be open to providing constructive feedback if requested by the interviewee.In this competitive market, it is essential that your interview process, whether conducted in person or online, is effective, keeps candidates engaged, and ultimately helps you secure top professionals.
Conduct the best video interview possible
Given the rise in remote and hybrid working, it is crucial for employers to understand how to effectively conduct video interviews, considering the differences compared to in-person meetings.This blog aims to assist you in making a positive first impression and successfully selecting the ideal candidate.PreparationPrior to the interview, find a quiet, well-lit, and tidy space without distractions. Remember that this individual could potentially be your next employee, so it's important to present a professional environment. Remove any items from view that you wouldn't want them to see.Dress appropriately, just as you would for an in-person interview, to help get into the right mindset, even if the candidate can't see your entire outfit. Have your questions prepared and gather all necessary materials for notetaking.Technology reliabilityFirst and foremost, ensure that you won't be disturbed during the interview by turning off notifications and email alerts. Test your tech setup beforehand, as you may need to adjust your microphone and camera settings.In case of technical issues or audio problems, make sure you have the candidate's contact number to continue the interview over the phone. If possible, use a headset to minimize feedback and facilitate smoother communication.FramingPosition your webcam at eye level, so you are looking directly at the camera while speaking, rather than at the screen. Keep the camera at arm's length and sit in the centre of the screen, facing forward. This setup creates the illusion of eye contact with the candidate.Tone and body languageSince you are only visible through a screen, your body language cues will be limited. Make the candidate feel at ease by smiling throughout the interview and using a positive tone of voice. Avoid fidgeting, as it can be distracting for the candidate trying to answer your questions.Watch for red flagsA video interview can reveal a lot about a candidate, even if their resume appears impressive. Pay attention to their eye contact and body language for any red flags, such as checking emails or multitasking while you are speaking.By following this advice, you should be able to efficiently select the best candidate in a short amount of time.If you require a quick hiring solution, please contact the closest office.
Eight essential leadership skills employers really want
Good leadership and management are essential for organisations of all types and sizes. To achieve this, leaders will need to have a unique set of skills that enable them to inspire, motivate, and guide their teams towards achieving their goals. So find below 8 tips to improve and communicate your leadership skills.Communication skills that inspire and motivateWhether you’re casting the company vision to your team, setting expectations, or sharing joint goals and targets, the way you communicate with others is vital. By giving team members clear goals (as well as a good level of autonomy), letting them know why their work matters, and celebrating their successes, you’ll build a team of motivated employees who know exactly what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.A strategic mindset built on dataStrategic thinking makes up a large part of a leader’s role. Primarily, you’ll need to see the big picture, but you’ll also need to be able to identify challenges, prioritise tasks, and pinpoint the best (and most achievable) opportunities within that picture. This involves making informed decisions based on data.Emotional intelligenceEver met a good leader that flies off the handle whenever things go wrong? Nope, we haven’t either. That’s because emotional intelligence is at the forefront of great leadership. Not only do you need to be able to regulate your own thoughts and feelings, you’ll also need to empathise with how others feel, and respond appropriately.Adaptability in challenging circumstancesLet’s face it, things don’t always go to plan in the workplace. This means that leaders should be flexible and open-minded, with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and make smart decisions accordingly. This could involve anything from amending a business strategy based on new budget limitations, or reallocating tasks after a member of staff resigns.The ability to grow your team and delegateYou know what they say: a leader is nothing without their team. In order to get the best output, a good leader is able to delegate tasks in a way that maximises productivity – and encourages team growth. This involves identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each employee and assigning tasks accordingly.Trustworthiness and authenticityIn order to be a great leader, you’ll need to build and foster a good relationship with your team. This means being ethical and demonstrating honesty and integrity in everything you do. Being an authentic leader is also a key part of building trust, and involves a high level of self-awareness and openness. In short – you’re human, don’t try to hide it.The ability to focus on the good above the badRemember: leaders have the ability to set the tone for the entire team. If you always approach problems negatively or give up at every roadblock, this attitude will quickly spread amongst others. To lead positively, focus on the good above the bad. This means celebrating successes (no matter how small) and approaching problems or mistakes with the mentality of learning from them.A flexible approach to your leadership styleA good leader has more than one leadership style under their belt – and an even better leader will know the right approach for every circumstance, situation, and person. This involves getting to know your team and goals and working together in a way that best suits each party. For example, whilst some people will benefit from a hands-on approach from their leaders, others will work better when given the autonomy to do things their own way.How to develop your leadership skillsLeadership is a crucial skill that is required in almost all aspects of life. And even if you’re not currently in a leadership position, that doesn’t mean you can’t develop your skills.Here are a few top tips to help you develop your leadership skills right now:Give your skills an auditFirst things first, you need to assess your current strengths and weaknesses. Which areas do you feel need work, and what do you want to become better at? Whether it’s that you’re struggling with positive thinking or you want to be more adaptable, knowing exactly what you need to focus on will help give your learning a clear direction.Read about leadershipWhich successful leaders do you look up to? Whether it’s in books, online blogs, social media, or biographies, great leaders are often sharing their stories, techniques, and career journeys, allowing aspiring leaders to learn the key to success. You can also attend seminars, conferences, and workshops on leadership to learn first-hand from experienced leaders.Take risks and make mistakesIf you want to become a good leader, you’ll need to take risks. By opening yourself up to new challenges and pushing yourself to grow (no matter how hard it is), you’ll develop core skills that the best leaders use on a daily basis. And if you fail? Use your mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve. Trust us, no one ever learnt anything in their comfort zone.Start acting like a leaderOK, so this might be easier said than done. But you’d be surprised at how your leadership abilities develop when you simply start acting the part. This means leading by example, becoming a role model for ethical and professional behaviour, building good relationships, holding yourself accountable, and listening to the needs of others.Take a leadership courseWhether you’re already working in a management role, or you’re looking to advance to leadership, taking a course is a great way to build on your skills.Are you looking for the next step in your career? Contact Reed today.
Changing perceptions: how to create an inspiring office space
The office space is often at the heart of business culture, as it creates collaboration for meetings and group work, enhances relationships across the business and helps with in-house training and development opportunities. However, increasing numbers of professionals across the world are finding office workplaces uninspiring and uninviting, with the after-effects of the pandemic causing a shift in work attitudes. According to a report by the International Workplace Group (IWG), for 70% of the people they've surveyed, a choice of work environment is a key factor when evaluating new career opportunities.So, what can businesses do to improve the office space? Becky Turner, Workplace Psychologist at the British interior design firm Claremont Group Interiors, explains more in our interview: Q. What can businesses on a budget do to update their office space to suit the modern workforce?A. On a budget, it's all about prioritising maximum impact. You’ll probably want to consider phasing some work and so potentially, if your maximum impact is to create a lot more spaces for your colleagues to connect and collaborate with each other, then you might bring in some open collaboration areas, some booths that you can have semi-private conversations in.But don't lose sight of the bigger picture. Consider a wider programme of works that you might want to do over five years. Maybe create a five-year plan of your real estate and then you can phase it into certain pockets of activity. So, like I say, you're spreading that budget over those five years.So, design for maximum impact first. Make sure you're communicating with your colleagues about the plan, if you can be as open as possible. Really take them on that journey with you, because then, all these little bits of disruption over the period that you're going to be doing some work, they'll be on board with because they understand the impact that it's going to have on them in the future.Q. What sort of approach should business leaders take when designing their office space?A.It's all about engagement. So, engagement with your colleagues at all levels. What do they need?In this hybrid way of working, which a lot of organisations are taking on board, what's going to be that thing that makes people decide, when they wake up in the morning or they're planning out their diary, ‘am I going to come into the office that day or am I going to work from home?' What's going to make them want to come into the office?To do that it's not a case of just thinking ‘I know my people, I know what they'll say’, because they might surprise you. It's all about understanding their needs and requirements because they're the ones who're going to be utilising the space, not making assumptions.Q. How can organisations prioritise energy efficiency for next-generation workplaces?A.This is a really interesting topic. It's hot on the cards for every organisation: you’ve got standards to meet, there's new and innovative ways to try and meet those standards, and really there's a couple of options here.It was staggering when we did some independent research and, bearing in mind it was in January so we were going through this cost-of-living crisis and things were a little bit uncertain, we found that 28% of people were coming into the office for the energy and for the heating, which is just absolutely staggering. It's so important; if people are going to come in for the energy, for example, then we need to make sure it's efficient within the workplace as well.It's largely about designing in some really smart ways to support your energy usage. You might try and look at your mechanical and electrical first and unfortunately, that's usually the biggest chunk from your budget. It’s going into things that are above the ceiling and below the floor that you can't even see, but it's going to make a huge difference to the bill at the end of every month, but also the comfort levels of your colleagues.Q. How much does an office space impact an employee’s satisfaction and overall productivity level?A.Employee satisfaction and productivity go hand in hand, they're highly correlated. It’s massive the impact your workplace can have on numerous levels.Purely functionally, as long as you can come into your space and you can work in the way that you work best, that's going to massively maximise your productivity. If you're an extrovert and you might be doing a bit of admin work, sitting in an area where actually you can get some stimulation, that's going to be important to you and maintain your focus, which for some might seem a little bit backwards, but that's what the research shows.And then equally, if you've got somebody coming in to do that same role, who might be an introvert or who might be hypersensitive, a little pod, such as the one that I'm in now, is nice and small. You can come, you can plug in, you can control the lighting and the temperature, and it's nice and quiet so you could get your head down and work.So really providing lots of different spaces where people can feel comfortable getting their work done and work to the best of their ability, that's going to massively improve their satisfaction levels and equally productivity.Q. How important is personalisation when revamping an office space?A.It's a really big deal, actually. Historically, if you think about offices and how they were portrayed in movies from the nineties and the early noughties, especially in America, people are in cubicles, and they've all got pictures of their dogs, their family, their kids. People have always enjoyed personalising their spaces; it's their safe space.So this is a big challenge when you're then opening areas up, and having a slightly more open plan office, particularly now in hybrid working, where not every everyone might have a designated desk. That's where maybe there's this idea that ‘oh no, I'm not going to be able to control my space anymore. I'm not going to be able to personalise it. It's not going to feel like mine.’It's a change in mindset, about thinking ‘ok, this isn't my space only, it's not my den, it's our space that we all share together and collectively, so how could we all get involved in the design process?’ And this takes me back to one of those first points about engaging with your colleagues. What do you want? What do you need? What's going to make it comfortable for you?That's the sort of bigger picture of personalising on a grand scale. Everybody's getting a bit of insight and an opportunity to put their thoughts forward within the design. So in a sense it's being created as a collaborative process.But then alongside that, you can create hackable spaces. These are areas where actually the function might be multifunctional; it's going to really maximise the space that you've got, particularly if you've not too much space. It could be a meeting room that's got walls that could fold back, it could have panels that you can move around. There's a lot of furniture that's on wheels nowadays, so you can move it, you can create the kind of experience that you need. So, on a day-to-day, you can equally personalise it to get exactly what you need from the space.I'd say an important thing here is that it's great to give somebody a little space that they do own. That might just be a nice sized locker so that people can put their valuable things they might have, especially if they've cycled in, they've got somewhere that they can lock everything up, that's just a little place that somebody owns.Q. Socialisation is a key part of office life. How can businesses utilise its space to help enhance socialisation and collaboration with colleagues?A.We’ve almost got two points here where socialisation and connection with your team is so important. We saw over the enforced lockdown period when people were feeling a lot more isolated, mental health went down in general because of this isolation and also the fact that people were unsure of what was going to happen and had lack of control.The amount of insight you can get from non-verbal communication – by body language for example – is huge. By connecting over teams, you don't quite get that full experience. We've evolved as social creatures to be in front of each other, so I don't think that there's anything that could quite replicate that.So, what we've been doing quite regularly is creating essentially a social heart to office spaces. Say you’ve got a three-storey office, rather than putting a big social space or a nice kitchen on each floor, you put a few tea points where you can go and get your water, make sure you stay hydrated and maybe a quick brew on each floor, but maybe on the middle one, you'd have a big social space. So that would have your really good coffee machine, as anyone that likes a good coffee will go up to that space and connect with other people that they might not do on a day-to-day basis.It's the space that you would go to for lunch, and it's the space that you would then go to for events in the evening if you had any social events or ‘lunch & learns’, if that's what your organisation does. Just really social things to get everybody together in one place rather than disperse across the three floors because that's the sure-fire way to create silos if you don't have a central space.So that's your heart. And that's where everyone's going to come together.Then you've got the collaboration side as well, and that could be informal. You could use this big social space and that could also be a big collaboration space. It could be an innovation area because it looks and feels a bit different. So you just have to move the furniture around a little bit, creating some tiered seating areas so you could hold big town hall meetings, for example, or present something or get an external organisation to come in and present to you. That way you're really showing that you value your colleagues, you're supporting them through their development, but it's all about providing the platform with your space to enable that.Looking for your next hire? Speak to one of our expert consultants today.
Internal communications: how to add value to your business
As workplaces evolve, internal communication (IC) is more important than ever – serving to strengthen bonds between employees and employers and foster an inclusive, supportive community. Often undervalued, the role of the internal communicator is that of mediator, successfully marrying fixed business objectives to the changing needs of the workforce. The Institute of Internal Communication drives standards through training, thought leadership, awards and qualifications across the UK and we interviewed the Chief Executive Jennifer Sproul (pictured below). Read the interview below on how businesses can enhance their internal communications strategy.InterviewQ. What is the value of internal comms, and how have strategies changed since the pandemic?A.Internal communications refers to the practice of communicating with employees, and helps drive organisational success by fostering engagement, collaboration and alignment. Its ultimate purpose is to improve the overall employee experience, contributing to high productivity and reducing turnover by keeping the workforce informed, engaged and motivated.Since the pandemic, employers have been adopting new IC strategies, such as increasing the use of digital channels, focusing on employee wellbeing, and enhancing transparency, authenticity and empathy.IC also played a big role in keeping employees engaged during the Covid lockdowns through online community-building activities. It continues to provide an opportunity and platform to keep everyone in the business updated, allowing stories to be shared and achievements celebrated.Q. To what extent is it only larger organisations that need employees who are dedicated to IC?A.Determining when to employ an IC professional largely depends on the company size, structure, and communication needs. Smaller businesses may not need a dedicated person for the role and opt instead for someone who can handle general comms tasks alongside other responsibilities. However, as the organisation grows, a team may be needed to manage the volume and complexity of communication channels. The goals for the business will shape the comms strategy.Q. What should small companies without the budget for people dedicated to IC do to improve their internal comms?A.Some options to consider when budget is tight might be to establish regular communication channels such as weekly meetings or a company-wide newsletter to keep employees informed about news and updates.Many people relish the chance to learn something new at work. Training and development programmes in communication can be a great way to improve employees’ soft skills. After all, good communication helps in all areas of life and work: leadership, presentations, influencing and mediation, for example. Confidence with communication can inspire staff to take on new tasks and more responsibility – increasing career prospects.It’s also good to encourage open and transparent communication among team members and provide opportunities for feedback and suggestions. It goes without saying that keeping up to date with the latest tech is crucial. Leverage affordable technology solutions such as instant messaging and video conferencing tools to facilitate remote collaboration.Regardless of the budget or size of organisation, understanding your workforce and prioritising a culture that emphasises communication, collaboration and engagement, can lead to better employee satisfaction.Q. Do you feel company intranets are an overlooked resource? What can be done to make them more attractive and valuable to employees?A.Company intranets are often viewed as a tool for top-down communication rather than a resource for employee collaboration and information-sharing. Several steps might be taken to enhance them, such as designing an intuitive and user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and find information, and ensuring the intranet contains relevant and up-to-date information, including company news, policies, procedures, and resources.Social media has resulted in people being far more enthusiastic about using comms professionally and personally – encouraging employees in forums or discussion boards to share ideas, feedback, and best practice can foster a positive culture.You could also consider the intranet as a learning platform featuring online courses, webinars, or podcasts. Fill it with easily-accessible tools and applications that make work more efficient, such as project management software or collaboration tools – and send reminders of any key changes that employees might find most useful and interesting.Q. IC can sometimes be undervalued – what are the signs of success?A.It’s all-too-often the task of the IC professional to have to explain or prove the value of their role to stakeholders who don’t fully understand its purpose.The success of IC can be measured by increased employee engagement, improved productivity, better morale, lower turnover, and increased innovation. When employees feel informed, supported and valued, they are likely to be more invested in their work and committed to the organisation’s goals. Good IC creates a sense of community and belonging.Q. What are some of the common challenges when responsible for IC?A.Every day presents new challenges, and probably greatest of all is striking the balance between the type, tone and timing of messaging sent. It’s not always easy to get right – employees have busy days when they barely have time to check their emails, so an understanding of when to try and capture their interest is key to engagement – and avoiding information overload. And it’s important to always be mindful of topical issues outside the workplace before releasing information that might be perceived as tone deaf because it was poorly timed.The job also involves ensuring consistency in messaging, a readiness to adapt to change, and overcoming language and cultural barriers. Empathy and confidentiality are important factors too.Q. Is it more usual for an IC role to sit within a marketing team than HR – does it matter?A.Where the role of IC sits depends on the business and its goals. Marketing teams often focus on external communication and promoting the company’s brand, whereas HR teams typically focus on internal comms and employee engagement. IC roles can fit into either team but should be where they can best support and enable effective company-wide communication.Ultimately, it’s essential for the IC professional to have a clear understanding of the company’s communication goals and work with both external comms and HR teams to achieve them.Q. What are the greatest industry changes the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) has noticed in recent years, and how might IC change in future as workplaces continue to evolve?A.The IoIC has observed several significant industry changes. One major trend is the increasing use of digital channels for IC, such as the adoption of enterprise social networks, instant messaging, and video conferencing tools, which have enabled remote and flexible working arrangements.Another change is the growing emphasis on employee engagement and culture. Organisations are realising effective IC plays a key role in fostering a positive workplace culture that pays dividends in the longer term.As workplaces continue to evolve, the role of IC is likely to become even more critical. We could see IC professionals adapting to new communication technologies and channels, such as artificial intelligence (chatbots) and virtual and augmented reality balanced with human-centred communication. Those working in IC will also need to develop strategies to communicate with a diverse workforce, including remote and contingent workers, to ensure success.Looking for hire new professionals for your team? Get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today.
Download - ESG interview questions for senior roles
ESG or environmental, social and governance is a holistic approach to sustainability. Getting the right people to implement any environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy is clearly important, making the interview stage for senior ESG appointments a key moment. Choosing the right ESG interview questions will allow employers to understand the sort of leadership capabilities a candidate has alongside the expertise they bring. What is ESG?: At the most basic level ESG stands for environmental, social and governance, with these three criteria broken down individually within a company’s ESG policy. Environmental: The environmental aspect of ESG looks at how a business operates as a steward of the natural environment, focusing on all aspects of sustainability including waste, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Social: The social element of a company’s ESG framework examines the impact of operations on the human rights of workers, covering areas such as diversity and inclusion, workplace equality and pay and conditions. Governance: The governance aspect of ESG looks at how a business polices itself and its corporate governance. This can relate to issues such as transparency, accountability, and compliance. ESG interview questions: Our downloadable template contains ESG job interview questions that should be asked of someone applying for a senior environmental, social and governance role. It includes important questions such as: What experience do you have with ESG frameworks? What do you see as the three essential pillars of ESG? What ESG key performance indicators do you work towards? How do you keep track of evolving trends in ESG? What ESG certifications do you hold? These questions will allow employers to understand the sort of leadership capabilities a candidate has alongside the expertise they bring. You will find many more on our downloadable template to give you the best possible chance of recruiting the highest calibre of ESG professional. Download our free template, ‘ESG interview questions for senior roles’, by clicking on the button at the top of the page.