Interview Planning

As an MD in a small business I know that the key to success is to plan for it. Infact, if five excellent years at the MD support group Vistage taught me anything - it was exactly that!


Recruiting new team members is tough. However I find that so often the employers thinks 'phew, we have three interviews set up and that's the hard part done with', not so, that is just the start.

Most recruitment projects are done under duress. We are in a hurry and we need someone yesterday - this is not a great planning environment I grant you, but planning as the name implies, is best done in advance and this is no exception.

Step 1
Job Description.

Not everyone does this in advance but it's essential especially if there's more than one person or groups doing the interviewing. Everyone needs to fully understand the role, including the candidates and a good job description facilitates this.

Step 2
How many interviews?

Best practise would ask for three interviews with three different people in three different locations, but this is not always possible. The point here is that this person will cost you a lot of money if they fail, whether they are recruited with a fee or directly. Therefore spend as much time as you can with them before you make any decisions.

Step 3
What do you need to know?

Looking at the meetings you have planned (two or three) and try and decide different ways to spend the time. For example here at Orchard we have a chemistry meeting to discuss previous employment. Then we have a presentation and competency meeting to discover more about the candidate. Then finally, we have a third offer meeting to discuss what Orchard can do for the candidate.

Step 4
Plan your questions.

If you want to find out information in Step 3 you need the right questions before the interview. If you are having multiple interviews then find out what questions are used in which interview. Ensure you have enough questions to spend time with the candidate, an important part of the process.

Step 5
Evaluate the interviews on paper.

It's important to have a writer to record the meetings incase any questions arise in the future. Also, it helps when evaluating candidates against each other. I would always sleep on a job offer if at all possible.

Within the digital, creative and marketing sectors the team we have is our most valuable asset, and as such hiring decisions are critically important. Mistakes can be hugely expensive in terms of time and money.

Can you afford not to sit down and spend between 4 and 8 hours to ensure that you do that process to the very best of your ability?

If you require any help in interview planning, or interview training for managers that have had no formal training, then please contact us.

Mike Carter - @Orchard_Mike


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