All interviewers, and companies as a whole, have the same goal when it comes to interviews – they want to find the best talent for the roles they are looking to fill. However, are clients remembering the difference between senior and junior interviews or are they keeping the same interview format for both roles?

The reason for writing this blog is because I am shocked at the way that some companies conduct their interviews. Whether it is being late; or only interviewing my candidate for 10 minutes; or not even asking the candidates any relevant questions to the role that they are applying for – this is just not good enough!

Most recently I was recruiting for a business that was looking for a senior manager candidate and a junior candidate, which could actually have been called a Graduate. The interview format, or style, was exactly the same for both candidates.  They were both asked the same questions, by the same interview panel who followed the same processes. In my view this is setting the Graduate up for failure! This could also make the candidate feel as if their potential employer wasn’t at all prepared for their meeting.

One of my candidates went to an interview and ended up waiting 20 minutes as the person conducting the interview ran late. On top of this, she wasn’t even given an explanation as to why the interviewer was late. This also resulted in her interview being shorter than it should have.

    • Was this candidate given a fair chance?
    • Did the candidate leave knowing that she had been given every opportunity for her to shine in the interview?
    • What kind of impression is this giving about your business to potential employees?

If these are the questions that I have, then what are our candidates thinking? What impression of your company are they left with? How many people are they telling about their awful interview experience with you?

My next cringe moment, was when my Graduate was asked to prepare a 15 minute presentation that they would deliver to a Senior Panel of four to five senior employers – CEO’s, MD and GM included, on the same topic as my Senior Candidate.

For a Graduate this was quite extreme and was it even necessary? Talk about being thrown in the deep end! They didn’t have the working experience, industry knowledge or product information to prepare what the business was looking for. The candidates had no working experience which was a hiring requirement from the company, may I add. When it came to the Senior Candidate, it is expected that they should be able to prepare and deliver a presentation to this panel with confidence. I have to ask the question of whether the client expected the same results from the Junior and Senior candidate’s presentations?

I have included a few things below to keep in mind when interviewing all candidates:

    • Experience: How many years’ experience in this type of role does the candidate have?
    • Industry knowledge: Has the candidate worked in this type of industry before or will they need some upskilling?
    • Education: Is it a role that needs to have a degree or is working experience enough? What kind of role are you recruiting for?
    • People Management experience: Is experience in team management important or will they not be required to run a team?
    • Communication skills: Will this person need to be able to communicate with Management or will they be reporting into a receptionist?
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