How to choose between candidates
Sometimes during the recruitment process you may come across two candidates who ticks all the right boxes, but you may only have one position to fill. Trying to choose between candidates who have both impressed at the interview stage, and appear suitable on paper, can be difficult. So what exactly should you be looking for when choosing between two candidates?ExperienceWhile it may appear obvious that a candidate with more experience is more employable, sometimes two applicants will have similar levels. It is worth considering which candidate will provide more in the specific scenario of your company. One candidate may be more suited to the actual demands of the role (remember - desirable doesn't necessarily mean necessary); another may have experience in areas you may look to expand into in the future. Yet, don't write off the value of bringing in someone from an outside industry for a fresh perspective.Also ask yourself if you'd prefer a safe pair of hands – someone that can do the job already, but who may potentially get bored of it quickly; or someone who maybe has a bit less experience, but is ready for the next step up into this role.Who wants it more?Following on from this, how much the candidate wants the job is an important factor. It is important to determine whether they simply need a job or if the position you are potentially offering them is their ideal role.Someone who wants to work in your field, and for you specifically, could bring you a lasting tenure, whereas somebody looking for a stopgap position is more likely to move on when something more suitable presents itself.ChemistryIt is not only a potential candidate's skill set that should be taken into account during selection, but also their softer skills. A new employee with strong interpersonal skills who easily gels with you and your team will be able to start working to the best of their abilities and operating successfully within the team more quickly than others.A candidate should be gauged on their cultural fit to the company and their fit with those they will be working with and for. Moreover, someone who is predisposed to work as an individual may not be as effective in a team that tends to work closely together. Remember – you're probably going to have to get on with them every day, so liking them is also important.ConnectionsIf choosing between two potential candidates is still proving difficult, it can be useful to look at what else they bring to the table. A candidate with a strong client base or background with already established relationships and connections that will bolster your company could help to secure contracts that you otherwise may not have won.
The path to success in phone interviews
Covid-19 has reduced the number of face-to-face interviews. This means organisations need to use phone or video interviews to assess jobseekers. While some are continuing to use phone interviews as a method of filtering applicants, others requiring quick turnarounds are using easy-to-arrange phone interviews as the only stage in the process.Phone interviews present different experience to face-to-face and video interviews. It might seem like a relief not to have an interviewer scrutinising your appearance and body language, but it also means it can be harder for you to make a good impression on them.Below are some tips to ensuring you give the best phone interview you possibly can:Prepare like it is a face-to-face interviewRegardless of whether your interviewer is using this as a single interview or as a first interview to shortlist candidates, you should still prepare as though this is a face-to-face meeting.Find out as much as you can about the organisation who you would be working for. Research your interviewer and what they do at the company. List your key achievements and areas which demonstrate your skills.Make sure that you write down any questions you want to ask. A phone interview is an ideal time to find out more about the role you have applied for, company culture and personal development opportunities.Have your preparation to handWhen preparing for a face-to-face interview, it is important to memorise information, as consistently referring to pieces of paper does not create a flowing conversation and can count against you.In a phone interview, an interviewer cannot see you referring to your notes, so you can do this much more often than in a face-to-face setting.As part of your preparation, make a note of any important figures you can quote back to your interviewer, such as your sales figures, number of customers you have helped and other areas where you have gone above and beyond targets.Have your CV and anything else you used in your application to hand, such as a cover letter, to ensure that you can refer to what you have listed on them; your interviewer will be doing the same.However, do not fall into the trap of simply reading off a piece of paper, as this will be apparent to your interviewer. Instead, drop any information in naturally, ensuring that conversation continues to flow freely.Communicate clearly and conciselyIt is more difficult to have a naturally flowing conversation over the phone than face to face. There are actions you can take to help the conversation progress naturally.The most important element is listening hard to your interviewer. Take on board all elements of their questions, making a note of anything that seems particularly important, in case they refer back to it later.Always leave a pause when an interviewer stops speaking, just to make sure that you are not interrupting them. This pause will also give you some time to frame your answer in your mind.When answering questions, put on your best ‘telephone voice’ and speak with enthusiasm and energy. Enunciate as much as you can, not forgetting to breathe. Having a glass of water to hand will also help you.Just because there is no visual element, it does not mean you have to speak as much as possible. Well-formed, concise answers will make a far better impression than you rambling to make the same point over five minutes that you could have made in 30 seconds.Finally, before the interview begins, make sure you can take the call in a quiet area where you will not be interrupted.By following these steps, and applying face-to-face interview practice, you will make a great impression on your potential employer.If you are looking for a job, permanent or temporary, across one of our 20 specialisms, contact your local Reed office.
How to ace your video interview
Use the following video interviewing tips to help you secure your next role.There are two types of video interviewLive interviews are what you would expect – a video call with the interviewer which is very similar to a face-to-face interview, but slightly different. Some may feel more relaxed knowing that they are speaking face-to-face with a person, even if it’s only through a screen.Pre-recorded interviews provide you with questions you must answer by recording yourself. These interviews are usually recorded with specialist software, such as Shine, and you will have a certain number of attempts to answer each question.Check your techTest your microphone, camera and internet connection before you start, and make sure your device is compatible with the software your interviewer is using. Making a test call will give you piece of mind that everything is set up correctly.In case of any unexpected audio issues, or your connection drops, ensure you have the interviewer’s contact number so that you can continue your interview over the phone. Don’t forget to fully charge your device or have it plugged in to avoid any potential disruption from a low battery.Just as you would in a face-to-face interview, you must also check that your phone is on silent and any notifications are off.FramingTo frame yourself well, position yourself in the centre of the screen, with the camera at eye-level, an arm’s length away. If you give the illusion of eye-contact by looking at the camera, you will seem more engaging to the interviewer. The interviewer will have a better impression of you, and will be more engaged in your answers.It is most important to choose a location where you won’t be disturbed and are least likely to pick up noise from your surroundings. Choose a space which is not too dark or too bright and remove anything from behind you that you wouldn’t want your employer to see, such as dirty clothes.Body language and appearanceBe as professional as possible, both in how you dress and in your body language – remember that this is your potential employer. Even if the interviewer can’t see all of you, dressing well will put you in the right mindset for a job interview and you will make a much better impression.Other than your facial expression and hand gestures, your non-verbal communication is limited, so it will be more difficult for the interviewer to pick up positive body language. Ensure you don’t fidget too much, avoid covering your mouth, and make sure to smile.Our YouTube channel has a fantastic series of interviewing advice videos detailing the dos and don’ts for candidates.If you’re looking for a new career opportunity, contact your local office via email or over the phone.
How to prepare for an interview presentation
Particularly for executive level positions, a presentation stage can be an integral part of the short-listing process.Many employers opt for a presentation interview as it gives a better overview of your general aptitude when compared to (or combined with) a traditional question and answer interview. The presentation is your opportunity to showcase your knowledge, experience and communication skills as well as your general organisation and diligence.Here are our tips on how you can ensure you deliver the best interview presentation possible.Preparing your presentation for an interviewKeep each slide short and significant, aiming for no more than 10 slides. This ensures the information you deliver is memorable and will help you to stand out from other intervieweesUse a range of formats to help illustrate your points. Include graphs, statistics, diagrams, video clips, and images to help break up large volumes of text and maintain the attention of the interviewersInclude quotes from industry leaders and/or research pieces. This helps give your points authority and demonstrate your commercial awarenessIncorporate company colours or fonts in the design of your presentation. This will show you’ve done your research and highlight your brand awarenessCheck spelling and grammar thoroughly – small mistakes can really undermine the content of your presentationPresenting tipsPresent confidently and enthusiastically. Remember to speak clearly, make eye contact and use open body languagePractice, practice, practice. Ensure you are well rehearsed so that you are familiar with the structure and are able to deliver your presentation smoothlyArrive early to give yourself time to set up the presentation and settle any nervesGet comfortable with PowerPoint and presentation equipment. Make sure you know how to work the projector, visual screens or remote control before you begin to avoid any awkward stumbles or pausesHave access to multiple sources of your presentation. Email the file to yourself and the recruiter, bring a copy on a USB stick and bring printed handouts. This way you are covered if anything goes wrong with the file you’re intending to useStay within the allocated time. If you have not been given a guidance on length, aim for the 10 minute mark. Time your presentation when you are practising to make sure it will fit within your allowed time slot. If you need to reduce the content of your presentation, cut out the least relevant or weakest pointsBe prepared to adapt. You may have practiced your presentation in a certain way, but the interviewer might not respond accordingly. Be prepared to be stopped for questions or further discussion unexpectedly10 minute interview presentation templateBelow is an example for the structure of your interview presentation. Use this as a baseline and adapt or reorder where appropriate based on the task you have been set by the interviewer.Slide 1:Introduction – Reiterate the objectives you have been set and lay out the structure of your presentation so that the interviewers know what to expectSlide 2:About you – Detail your professional experience, skills and working styleSlide 3:Company history – Give a brief summary of the company history, any milestones or awardsSlides 4-7:Answering the brief – Give your responses to questions you’ve been asked to answer, the benefits and limitations of your suggestionsSlide 8:Question and answers – Include a slide titled ‘questions and answers’ as a cue to pause for interactionSlide 9:Conclusion – Sum up the key points you have made, reach a decision and explain your reasoningSlide 10:Personal achievements – End the interview on a high with a brief slide on achievements that show you will succeed in the roleTaking these steps should help you to succeed in your presentation interview.
Getting the best from your interview
Interviews give your potential employer the chance to see you – in the flesh, or remotely over a video call – to learn about your likes and dislikes, capabilities, and get an overall feel for whether you will fit in with the organisation.However, getting the best from the interview doesn't just mean showing your best self to get the job - it also means using the opportunity to assess the environment you will be working in, those you will be working with and for, and making it clear in your mind whether the job and organisation are right for you.First interview, second interview, face-to-face interview, telephone interview, video interview: whatever the type of interview they all have one thing in common – you have the opportunity to shine."To be a great champion, you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are."Muhammad AliWhat's inside the guide?You may be the most knowledgeable professional for the job, but without performing well at an interview you won’t stand a chance of securing your next role.The guide takes you through the following:Getting to grips with the organisation you could be working forDress codeDifferent types of interviewTackling common first interview questionsThe big daySecond interviewsPreparing for a presentation taskOn-the-day tasksBy downloading this guide, you will learn the tips and tricks on the interview process which will help you to make the most of the short time you have to sell yourself.
Ask James Reed: how to write a stand-out CV
It takes just seven seconds for an employer to save or reject a job applicant’s CV. This seven-second rule inspired James Reed’s book on how to optimise your CV to land an interview.This webinar was the first instalment of a two-part series, in which James shares insight from his 25 years in recruitment, and two of his books:- The 7 Second CV: How to Land the Interview- Why You? 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear AgainJames presented his ideas and advice on creating a CV to impress. This was followed by a 30-minute Q&A session in which the audience put their CV questions to the expert himself and got his invaluable advice first hand.Speaker profile: James Reed, CEO and Chairman, ReedJames Reed has worked in recruitment and careers for more than 25 years. Reed receives forty million job applications a year and has delivered over one hundred programmes to help more than 200,000 people who had been long-term unemployed back into work.The Reed Group currently employs more than 3,800 people across the globe helping to improve lives through work. James Reed was voted Top CEO by employee-ratings platform Glassdoor in both 2018 and 2019, and Reed won a coveted Best Places to Work Award from the same company in 2019 and 2020. This means it is the top-ranked recruiter on the list of all organisations voted as excellent workplaces by employees on Glassdoor.ARTICLES