The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

May 08, 2014

Get Ready for an Interview: Employer’s Perspective


In the past, we’ve offered plenty of interview preparation strategies to job applicants – including a sample of thoughtful questions to ask the hiring manager; an approach to closing the meeting with conviction; and a critical reminder to deflect any aura of desperation by explicitly communicating interest in the opportunity, to name a few.  Such guidance helps candidates to arrive to interviews feeling ready: ready to present themselves competently and enthusiastically, and ready to evaluate the position and the organization. Preparation removes some ambiguity from a situation that is intrinsically unfamiliar from a candidate’s perspective. 

But candidates aren’t alone in their need to prepare for interviews. If the job market really is shifting in favor of the candidate, and is shaping up to be “The Year of the Employee,” then you – the employer – need a well-developed plan for meeting your applicants in person. Otherwise, you can anticipate the loss of highly qualified professionals to your direct competitors. When candidates discern a lack of attentiveness, receive inconsistent information or otherwise sense inaptitude, they’re inclined to look elsewhere. Additionally, poorly planned interviews leave businesses vulnerable to hiring some of the wrong people: those with insufficient technical skills, poor interpersonal attributes or misalignment with company culture. Employers can afford neither hiring mishap in a time when selecting and retaining the highest quality people is extremely critical. 

For professionals who are new to hiring or are looking to improve in the process, we’ve identified five important features of interview readiness. Thorough preparation for each objective will ensure that the most relevant information is both acquired and communicated during the meeting, giving way to the most effective hiring decisions. Here are fives ways in which employers need to ready to conduct their next interview:

Ready to enhance your mutual understanding of one another efficiently: Ensure that you are comfortable with the candidate’s resume, the job duties and requirements and, if applicable, feedback from colleagues or recruiters who have already communicated with the candidate.  Doing your homework in all of these areas lets the conversation run smoothly and maximizes the flow of information.

Ready to perceive the candidate’s strongest personality traits: How would they strengthen or weaken performance in the position? Conceptualize the personality traits of the ideal candidate based on the job description, and ask questions that will let you determine whether the candidate embodies them. 

Ready to challenge the candidate to think critically: Prepare questions for which the candidate cannot rehearse generic answers. “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “What is your biggest weakness?” hardly reveal anything meaningful when the candidate has already practiced his or her answers to these cliché questions.

Ready to intrigue the candidate with exciting information about the position and the company: This is your opportunity to elaborate on the best qualities of the opportunity – the option to work flexible hours, the ability to travel internationally, the excellent qualities of the position’s director supervisor and the company’s strongest cultural features.

Ready to ascertain how you ultimately feel about the candidate’s compatibility with the open position: Enter the discussion planning to leave with conclusions regarding the candidate’s capability and fit. In order for the interview to have been worthwhile, you want to walk away with a firm opinion to either make a decision yourself or enlighten your colleagues about your conversation.

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