Sitting in on interviews can be one of the most overlooked ways of adding value in the recruiting and hiring process. While this can be very time-consuming, whenever possible, the benefits are bountiful. The observations you encounter are very powerful and will allow you to make more placements.
Let’s face it: if a candidate is interviewing, we’ve done a great job up to this point of getting them there. But it’s what occurs in the interview that heavily influences whether the placement is going to happen.
Being part of the actual interview shows your commitment to being a partner in the recruiting and selection process. If handled appropriately, you’ll no longer be seen as just a source for candidates but as an expert in the interviewing and hiring process. You can share your observations about what the best ways are for hiring managers to present the company and opportunity and share it with others in your organization.
So many times we rely on a hiring manager and a candidate to debrief us on what occurred in an interview. While they try their best to tell us how it went, small details that really matter can be very hard to explain. By attending, you will be able to anticipate any candidate concerns and put both sides of the deal together.
To make this work, you need to be there only to observe. You’ve already had your chance to interview the candidate, so this is the time for the hiring manager and the candidate to get to know each other. Try not to intervene unless absolutely necessary.
During the interview, take notes on what the interviewer did well as well as areas for improvement. If you can coach your hiring manager to become more effective in selling the company and the position, you’ll have more candidates continue the hiring process, resulting in more placements.
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Not long ago, I had a corporate controller at a publicly traded company tell a director of tax candidate that if he were not to get promoted to the CFO position that was open within the company, he was going to start looking for a new job himself. The interview should be about what the company and candidate has to offer each other and whether or not they’re right for each other. This would’ve been less likely to have been said if a professional recruiter was sitting in on the interview.
There’s no better time than right after the interview to speak with the hiring manager about better ways to present the company and position it in the best light possible. If done appropriately, they’ll be grateful for your assistance because it will help them attract and hire candidates who will produce the results they’re looking for.
Even though we do a thorough needs analysis, collecting relevant information upfront when accepting a search assignment, we can learn much more by listening to a candidate and hiring manager ask and answer questions about what they do for a living.
Since candidates usually know more about what they do for a living than a recruiter may, we can get so much from the interview because they typically ask specific questions we never thought of to ask.
Although finding the time can be challenging, the rewards are there. It’s a great way to build relationships with your hiring managers and candidates and ensure your company is attracting and hiring the best talent possible.