Today we live in a world where it’s quite common to be advised that it’s ‘company policy’ to ‘only provide a confirmation of role and dates of employment’. Therefore, it’s more challenging and important than ever to really understand who the candidate is and what they can achieve for your business!
So how do you know that the candidate you are interviewing is telling you the truth about their past professional achievements? The answer is that there are not cast-iron guarantees, but there are steps that you can take to minimise your risk.
Preparation is key. You need to ensure that your interview technique is sound and that your questions will enable you to understand whether the person can do the job. You may also need to tweak your questions or style in order to get the best out of the candidate. For more on this, please see our previous blog on how to interview well.
Always ensure that you do your research on a candidate. Check that there are no unexplained gaps in their CVs. Look at the duration that previous positions were held for. It would be beneficial to understand any job changes with less than a 1-year duration. If there are several changes in companies, this is equally worth exploring further. Of course, there are always genuine reasons for changes, however, your job is to understand these.
LinkedIn is a useful tool that can help you understand the real person applying. The platform allows you to check their experience against their CV. There is also an endorsements section that allows colleagues and managers to write about the candidate. In addition, it is also worth looking at the number of connections and the level of seniority of people they are connected with, especially when recruiting for more senior positions. This provides some insight into the level of seniority that they hold and how many people are keen to stay in touch.
Exploring Twitter and LinkedIn professional accounts can be a valuable resource. What are their interests professionally? How active are they? How do they communicate and is that in line with your style, culture and values?
During an interview it’s worth paying attention to body language too. We all know the signs to look for when someone is feeling uncomfortable, perhaps an indication of stretching the truth. Fidgeting, jitters, constant head movement and folding in their lips can be a giveaway. These signs could just be down to nerves though, so ensure that you make the person feel at ease from the start. Tone is another indicator, too forceful, as the saying goes ‘doth protest too much’ or too soft, perhaps an indication that they are not confident on their answer.
Just as an interview is an opportunity for you to get insight into someone, so is the overall recruitment process and how the candidate behaves throughout. How do they communicate? What is the standard and style like in their written and verbal communication? How responsive are they? (someone who doesn’t return calls or e-mails for days is usually not very responsive to customers be them internal or external). Are they on time, organised, and are they doing what they promise and going the extra mile?
Lastly, we would always recommend following up. Whether that be contacting previous employers to check roles and dates on a CV, or asking the candidate if they can provide any professional colleagues contact details who could provide them with a reference. The more senior the role the more common this is.
This research and planning, whilst time consuming, all helps you to ensure you get the most out of the interview. It enables you to build the most accurate picture of the candidate in front of you and will help you determine whether they are right for the job.
Andrew James Specialist Recruitment Ltd 2022 © Copyright. All Rights Reserved
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