The job of a recruiter can be quite challenging. He has to identify the talented lot from the whole list of candidates who apply for the position. He also shoulders the responsibility to ask appropriate questions to each candidate and complete the whole hiring and recruitment process in the minimum possible time.
For this, he needs to prepare a proper interview schedule. Here are some simple tips to help interviewers prepare the appropriate interview schedule:
1. First Decide the Number of Candidates You Plan To Interview in a Day:
You need to have a clear picture how many candidates you will interview in a day. This will help you plan the day’s events in a proper manner. You may be having an entire list of candidates and so you will know how many candidates you will have to cover in a single day. This knowledge is vital as it helps you prepare the whole schedule properly.
If there are countless candidates, you may even try and keep separate rounds to shortlist the worthy candidates from the whole lot. This will help you simplify the whole process much more.
Shortlisting candidates proves even more useful when the interview is for jobs in sales, marketing or store manager positions as there is a lot of demand for these positions
2. Then Decide the Number of Hours You Wish To Allocate for each Candidate:
Once you know how many candidates you plan to cover in a day, allocating hours or minutes per candidate can be just a simple task. The time allocated per candidate depend on several different factors.
One of the major factors is surely the time available at hand. Another factor is the amount of time you would require to evaluate the candidate. Based on this, you may decide whether you can conclude the interview session in a single round or you would need subsequent rounds to evaluate the candidate.
You may need to allocate around 5 minutes for each question you are going to ask. So if you allocate around 45 minutes, you get to ask around 9 questions to each candidate. Based on the field in which you are conducting the interview, you need to decide whether that would be sufficient.
3. Prepare a List of Questions You Wish To Ask the Candidate:
You cannot be completely sure of the interview schedule unless you know the questions you are going to ask the candidate. It is thus vital to prepare a set of questions. These questions have many different objectives to fulfil.
The first objective is to know more about the candidate’s background and qualifications. The second objective is to understand the candidate’s skills and talents. Third objective is to gauge the true attitude and persona of the candidate.
The questions are to be framed keeping these objectives in mind. Here is a set of example questions that may be asked to candidates to gauge these different factors.
4. Questions to understand the basic background:
- Give me a brief introduction about yourself?
- Why did you choose this field?
5. Questions to understand skills and talents:
- What is your hobby?
- What is your strength?
- Are you a good leader?
- Are you a good negotiator?
6. Questions to gauge the attitude and persona of the candidate:
- Do you think you can handle the responsibility that this role/designation expects from you?
- Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
- Give me 5 reasons to hire you for this position?
These are just a few examples or sample questions. You may coin your questions as per the field for which you wish to hire. These questions just give you a fair idea.
7. Allocate Sufficient Time for Lunch and Tea Breaks:
While they allocate sufficient time for each candidate or plan an interview schedule, we may tend to neglect the trivial things. One such thing that recruiters often tend to miss out is lunch and tea breaks that are equally vital.
You need to consider the amount of time you would like to spend during snack and lunch breaks. You may allocate 15 or 20 minutes to snack and breakfast breaks. Lunch breaks may extend from anywhere between 45 minutes and 1 hour. Schedule a lunch hour and make sure that you adhere to it. Remember that any delay would affect the interview schedule.
8. Always Leave Some Buffer Time:
Very often, we assume our planning to be just perfect and leave no buffer time. This assumption is wrong and there can often be certain unexpected delays. You need to be mentally and practically prepared for such delays. The best way would be to leave some buffer time in between.
There are many benefits of leaving buffer time in the interview schedule. First benefit is that any unexpected delay can be accommodated without much loss. The next benefit is that it allows you greater flexibility that a tight schedule would not permit you.
While leaving some spare time, make sure that you have some task for the buffer time in case there are no delays and things happen as per the routine.
9. Be Mentally Prepared for Uncertain Delays:
While we leave ample time for delays or other adjustments, we often hope these adjustments are not required. That could be the reason why we are not mentally prepared for any such delays or unexpected changes in the schedule. Lack of mental preparation is not at all desirable in such situations. Less preparation for any situation can mean stress and panic when the situation actually arises.
Here are some simple tips to help you stay mentally prepared for any kind of delays or uncertainties. Firstly, when you allocate time for delays, do not look at it as an option in case of delays that rarely happen. In most cases, perspective matters a lot. If you perceive the delay as an alternative option that is equally probable, it may not affect your emotions so much. So try to look at it as an alternative option.
Practice for both the schedule options equally. Like for instance, if you have decided that in case there is a delay, you may schedule the interview of a group of candidates for the next day, practice for that option equally.
10. Some Other Things You Must Be Prepared for While Preparing to Take an Interview:
Recruiters often prepare the interview schedule keeping a certain picture of the interview in mind. The truth could be way different from the individual’s imagination. So, it is best to stay prepared for the most unexpected things that alter schedules.
11. Do Not Expect All Candidates To Be Alike:
Yes, one mistake that most recruiters make is expect that all candidates are alike in their thought process. This is not true in most cases. Every individual has a different thought process and preparing for their interviews in a standard way means a lot of shortcomings can be expected. Instead, keep in mind that each candidate is unique and has a distinct persona of his own.
While preparing questions, remembering this fact is sure to help. Recruiters should be ready with a set of questions that will get definite answers from all the candidates. The kind of questions also decide the amount of time taken in the interview.
For instance, if you wish to know the educational qualification of a candidate, it would be best to ask ‘Tell me about your educational qualifications, to be precise your degrees and career so far?’.
Strictly avoid questions like ‘Let me hear about your career background?’ because this is a vague question and can fetch many irrelevant answers.
12. Be Prepared to Be Asked Questions By The Candidate:
When the recruiters or interviewers fix schedules for interviews, they usually do not take into account the questions that may be asked by the candidates. You must remember that even a candidate may have several doubts and may wish to clear several things during the interview.While preparing an interview schedule, take that also into account.
Here is a set of questions that the candidate may ask and you need to make sure you have answers ready for the same:
- When was this firm founded?
- How has the growth of the firm been in the past 5 years?
- What are the special benefits the employees of this firm enjoy?
- What is the probation period for the designation I have applied?
- What are the rules regarding leaves in this firm?
- Are there any special concessions for pregnant women in this firm?
- Is there a bond or contract?
If you as a recruiter takes extra time to answer any of these questions, it affects in two ways. Firstly, the interview schedule is greatly disrupted. Secondly, you cast a bad impression on the candidate. Better preparation can help you deal with these challenges.