Recruiting, Talent

Preparing for Your First Interview as a Recruiter

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor, hiring the wrong employee can cost a business as much as 30% of the individual’s annual earnings. Therefore, asking the wrong questions and making the wrong judgments in an interview could be expensive for your organization.

This makes an interviewer’s job quite challenging. What questions do you ask your interviewee? How do you gauge the person’s fit in your organization based on your limited time with him or her? Here is a short guide on how to prepare for interviews as a recruiter.

Create an ‘Ideal Employee Persona’

Entry-level positions are often easier to fill than senior positions, and roles that require basic skills are easier to fill than roles that require complex skills (like knowledge of big data or artificial intelligence (AI)). The pay scale for the vacant position often reflects the level of difficulty in the recruitment process.

The first step in this process is to create a persona for the ideal candidate. This is easier for entry-level positions or jobs that require basic skills, but you also should be mindful of the intangible attributes that make a candidate the ideal match.

For example, the ideal candidate for a telesales position should not only have great communication skills and be good with numbers but also be innately perseverant. It’s not as easy to assess a candidate’s perseverance as it is to gauge his or her communication and analytical skills.

Reverse Engineer Your Questions

Once you create the persona, find the right questions to gauge applicants’ fit for the job. Seeing as you already know the attributes you’re looking for, prepare a list of questions that can accurately measure those attributes.

In most cases, tangible skills are measured with objective questions, while intangible skills are assessed with subjective questions. If you are hiring a sales rep, candidates’ grit and “can-do” attitude can be assessed through questions that delve into their past projects.

For example, ask applicants about how they maintain focus on extended projects, or ask about their latest goals and how they are working toward them. Although these questions may not directly reflect their fit for the job on offer, they will demonstrate how well the candidates match your intangible skill set requirements.

Prepare to Be Questioned

From interviewees’ perspectives, you are the face of the company and the team they are being recruited into. It is important to be ready with answers to frequently asked questions, regardless of whether they are technical or administrative. Questions could be related to paid time off (PTO), sales targets, tools you use, and so on.

Convincing the Extraordinary Candidate

As any recruiter will tell you, average candidates sell themselves to you. However, when it comes to extraordinary candidates, they need to be sold. As the recruiter, the onus is on you to convince your interviewees to join your organization. You could do this by offering them the best packages or commissions, promising them attractive designations or perks, and catering to their aspirations.

As a first-time recruiter, such things might be above your pay grade. So, the job of selling the position would thus fall on your boss or the HR manager. In such a case, you must showcase your team to the candidate. People love working for organizations where their colleagues are passionate about their roles. By demonstrating this, you can make the best case as to why the candidate should work for your organization.

Did you recently conduct your first interview? What lessons did you learn from the experience? Share them with us in the comments.

Anand Srinivasan is the founder of Hubbion, a suite of free business apps and resources.