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Recruitment and HR Blog

A Guide to Attracting Talent: Getting the Best Out of Interviewees

7th September 2018

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A Guide to Attracting Talent: Tips for Recruiting Online

Getting the Best Out of Interviewees


Have you ever interviewed somebody, completed the offer and induction process and then realised you’ve made a poor hiring decision? If so you’re not alone and you’ll know it is frustrating, time consuming and costly. Replacing staff costs British businesses £4 billion each year.


Of course as hiring managers it’s easy to blame the new employee; perhaps there were a few little white lies on their CV, they’re not the person they portrayed at interview or maybe they’re just not fit for the job? It happens.


However consider this; was your interview process as effective as it could have been? Here are some simple interview tips to help avoid this mistake before, during and after your next interview.


Be prepared


We seem to constantly remind applicants to be prepared, but in reality as the interviewer how prepared are we?


We’re not just talking about questions (we’ll get to that later) as there is a lot to consider even before you pen your first question. Is the interview room appropriate? Consider the set up: atmosphere, temperature, surroundings, possible distractions. Remember you’re interviewing that person because you want them to show you what they can do. People will do that best in an environment where they’re comfortable.


Do your research. Dependent on the type of role look into the applicant’s background. Does their LinkedIn profile match their CV? If not, why not? Know what you want to find out about them when you meet.


Interview techniques


Interviews don’t have to be the same monotonous back and forth we’re traditionally used to. Make them engaging, interactive and interesting– this will make what can be a tedious exercise more enjoyable for you and the applicant.


Plan ahead and ask them to do the same. Where appropriate to the vacancy request a portfolio of past work or set tasks such as preparing a presentation or completing a short exercise relevant to the role and ask them to bring it with them. Not only will this encourage them to engage, it will show you who really wants to work for your company and the potential skills and knowledge they can bring.


Do something different


Include assessments within the process. These can be group or individual tasks and can provide interviewers with a good insight into a person’s character, skills, knowledge and attributes that may be difficult to assess verbally. This also provides the candidate with another opportunity to shine; the strongest applicant might not be the best interviewee and this provides them with a different platform to perform.


Know your questioning technique


Use competency-based interviews with open, probing and closed questions as appropriate, seeking examples to back up bold statements. People will often say what they think we want to hear and this isn’t helpful. You need people who can answer your questions and provide concrete examples and apply these to your company or the role when doing so.


Ask follow-up questions


Good applicants will have prepared answers to most common interview questions. Asking a follow up question forces them to provide a more in depth answer which can be more revealing. Asking a thoughtful follow up question also shows them that you are listening and interested in what they’re telling you.


Get a second opinion


Ask somebody to interview alongside you. This makes for a more transparent interview process and it also removes some of the burden of making the decision alone. Interviewing with a colleague or two will offer another perspective, as it’s likely they will notice things about the applicant and their responses that you missed and vice versa. It will provide you with an opportunity for discussion and a more rounded opinion of a person.


If this is not possible then introduce them to the rest of the team as a minimum. It can be a brief five minute introduction disguised as a tour of the office; this will provide you with a good insight into how they may integrate with the rest of the team and how they cope meeting new people. It also allows your team to form an opinion that you can then draw on.


Non-verbal cues


We all know that it’s not just what an interviewee says that counts, it’s the way they act before, during and after. A person’s body language including posture, expression, presentation and attitude can also provide useful insights. There’s no exact science to reading another person’s body language, but being able to recognise positive and negative attributes can prove a useful tool.


It’s not only the candidate’s body language you need to be aware of; take note of your own. It’s often stated that when people are comfortable they will mirror one another’s body language. Be mindful of this – is the interviewee slouching because you are?




Take as many notes as you can without losing too much eye contact. What they’re saying, what they’re not saying, body language and tone of voice – anything to jog your memory later.


Having some pre-prepared questions with plenty of room for making notes can prove extremely useful when reviewing the interview later on.


Consider a second interview. Second round interviews can be useful to find out any information you missed the first time round, and provide an insight into a person on a different day or at a different time of day. You have to be sure about the decision you make and reaffirming initial perceptions can help with this.


Don’t make an offer for the sake of filling a role. If you haven’t found the right person, start again. It can be time consuming and frustrating but hiring the wrong person will only lead you back to the beginning anyway and after a lot of expense.


At JVP we guide and support employers on a daily basis to recruit the right people to their organisation. If you’re keen to implement a comprehensive online recruitment strategy but are concerned about the time and cost investment required, JVP can help – ask us how!


Drop us an email at or give us a call on 01745 774955.

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