Interviews can be just as stressful for interviewers as the interviewee. In our four part series on interview tips for interviewers we will look at how to plan an interview; how to structure an interview; interview questions and topics to cover; and following up after an interview. In this post we look at planning an interview.
Part 1: Planning
Good planning will reduce anxiety and therefore enable panel members to give their full attention to the actual interview. Before the interview, the panel needs to take time together to sort out the following:
1. Clarifying and agreeing selection criteria
The selection criteria should be taken from the person specification. The panel need to take time to ensure that they are all agreed on these criteria with a common understanding of what they mean. Develop an interview marking form for each member of the panel with the names of the candidates and a list of the criteria. The panel should assess each candidate against each criterion. They usually do this individually directly after the interview.
2. Planning questions
From their agreed understanding of the selection criteria then develop a limited set of specific questions pertaining to the essential duties and responsibilities of the position to probe for the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. The interview is for a limited time so it is essential that each question is focused and purposeful. The questions should be designed to make sure that the panel gets the information needed to assess whether this person will be the most suitable for the position.
Interview questions should only relate to the job requirements. When framing questions employment and equality legislation should be borne in mind. Care should be taken to avoid questions whose content or wording might be perceived as giving rise to unequal treatment of one candidate compared to another of a different age, gender, marital status etc. Questions should deal with a candidate’s skills, talents, qualifications and help him or her demonstrate their capacity to do the job.
The panel should decide in advance who will ask which questions and in what order. The panel also needs to clarify what information they should give to the candidates during the course of the interview, for example:
– Terms and conditions: It is important that the panel is clear about the range of terms and conditions being offered. Be clear about the period of probation, if there are unsocial hours to be worked, the nature of the contract, permanent or fixed term, and the salary scale.
– Making the decision: It is good to be explicit about the timing of the decision-making and how the decision is to be communicated to the candidates.
3. Interview practice
If one or more members of the interview panel have not interviewed before it is helpful to practise agreed questions to check that they are clear and well communicated. Role plays are very useful for practising interview skills.
4. Roles on the interview panel
The panel needs to allocate roles, responsibilities and question areas. It is important not to stereotype members of the panel in the process. It is advisable to have a chairperson of the panel. The four key tasks of the chairperson are:
– To facilitate the panel in planning the interview process together
– To facilitate and direct the interviews according to the agreed structure and timing
– To ensure that the panel reflects on how they are working as a team throughout the day as necessary and make changes accordingly
– To facilitate the panel discussion and decision making process
5. The panel as a team
The panel needs to work together as a team so it is very helpful for members to consider in advance how they will deal with potential problems and disagreements. They also need to ensure that they have shared understanding of what equal opportunities interviewing entails. It is advisable to discuss how they can interrupt each other if they think it is necessary. It helps to take time after the first interview to evaluate how it went and how the panel are working together.
6. Structure of the interview
The interview should be planned so that it relates directly to the job description, the person specification and the candidate. If it is a large panel it is important to ensure that the interview is not just a series of short, superficial exchanges with each member. It is useful to tell each candidate the plan for the interview at the outset.
7.Timetable for the interviews
It is wise not to cram too many interviews into one day, six to eight at maximum. To make the best selection and to be fair to all candidates the interview panel needs to be able to maintain attention and remember all the interviews with equal clarity.
There should be a copy of the timetable for the day, with the timing and spacing of interviews, breaks and running order with the candidates’ names, for each member of the panel and for the person working on reception. The length of interviews depends on the job and is usually from half an hour up to an hour. It is essential to give the panel adequate time to ascertain fully the interviewee’s skills and experience in each of the requirements specified in the person specification. If there are two sets of interviews for a position the first is usually shorter and the second is longer, giving the panel an opportunity to explore areas in greater depth.
8. Venue and physical environment
The physical environment for the interview and for candidates waiting to be interviewed is very important. The furniture in the interview room should be arranged to help both the candidates and the interview panel concentrate, feel comfortable and be at ease. Put up notices that indicate the interview and waiting rooms are in use and ensure that there will be no interruptions during the interviews. Make sure that there is somebody to let the candidates in, get them a cup of tea or coffee and show them where the bathroom is.
9. Agreeing a decision-making procedure
The panel also needs to agree in advance how they will make a decision. It is recommended that the panel takes time after each interview to score candidates individually according to each of the selection criteria and then to have a short collective discussion. Members should be reminded that in order to ensure fairness their assessments must be made on the basis of evidence from the interview rather than gut reactions or intuition. It is essential to have time for reflection and note-taking after each interview as people forget things easily. At the end of all the interviews, the panel should take time to make their decision by comparing their assessments and discussing each candidate. If the panel have used an interview marking form, the final decision may be on the basis of this.
The following official records should be kept for six months after the interviews are completed in order to be able to deal with any subsequent complaints:
- Job description
- Person specification
- Job advertisement
- Application forms
- Shortlisting procedure
- Selection criteria
- General framework for questions as planned in advance and where possible particular questions that arose during the interview
- Interview assessments for each candidate
- Any correspondence with candidates
- Final decision and the reason for making it.
It is important to clarify in advance what status will be given to references and at what stage in the selection process they will be sought. Generally references are not seen as a source of objective information so they should be weighted accordingly. References are most useful for checking out factual information, e.g. qualifications, length of service, sick leave record, attendance record, terms and conditions and reasons for leaving a job.
It is advisable to plan what information is required of referees and not to ask for more than is necessary.
It is important to consider the possibility that a negative reference may be due to personal bias. In the case of a negative reference about a candidate who the panel considers very suitable, it may be necessary to check it out further by discussing it with the candidate to get his/her version of events. One of the referees should be the candidate’s current or last employer.
Posted by Recruitment Consultant, Sigmar on 7 December 2017
87% of Companies Expect No Brexit Impact
87% of Companies Expect No Brexit Impact
As reported in The Sunday Business Post (10th March 2019) Sigmar Recruitment/ EY Talent Survey Takeaways · Companies remain bullish with 87% expecting little or no impact of impending Brexit. · Irish companies benefitting internationally from Brexit uncertainty with Sigmar Recruitment attracting French investment in 2018 that otherwise would have gone to London. · US companies considering investing in Ireland more concerned about costs, housing, property and ease of doing business. · Irish industry-led FDI delegation Ireland: Gateway to Europe to travel to Boston and Chicago in April to attract investment. · 75% of non-banking jobs come from US multinationals With the Brexit deadline looming, a survey of over 300 international companies, carried out by Sigmar Recruitment in association with EY, found that 87% of companies expect no impact due to Brexit. Whilst most business commentary on employment in Ireland tends to concentrate on Brexit, the steady positive growth in US investment continues to be the major contributor to jobs in Ireland. Says Adrian McGennis, CEO Sigmar Recruitment & Founder Ireland: Gateway to Europe: “Demand for talent in Ireland is at an all-time high and US investment is still the main contributor. We all feel for Irish companies facing the challenges that Brexit/currency uncertainty brings but overall the employment situation is very positive. Ireland: Gateway to Europe is an annual privately funded FDI mission that travels to the US to showcase Ireland as a choice location of investment in Europe. The Irish delegation of industry leaders will visit Boston and Chicago in April, meeting over 400 US CEOs including the CEOs of some major companies who are currently in Ireland. “When we survey about the topics they want to discuss, Brexit barely features. They are asking about talent, property, costs and ease of doing business, as they have been for the last ten years. This gives us the opportunity to share the success stories of the many companies who have set up operations in Ireland,” continues McGennis. “In 28 years, I have never seen such a strong pipeline of new jobs coming from existing and new US companies. 75% of non-banking jobs at Sigmar come from US multinationals. Last year we travelled to Washington and Boston, well prepared on what we thought were the topical issues such as Brexit, the Euro, even GDPR. Instead they were all focussed on their needs to set up in Ireland.” The Ireland Gateway to Europe group comprises banks, property specialists, recruiters, tax advisors, auditors, HR advisors and other professional services and we work collaboratively to get Ireland’s positive message by case studies and data. Says McGennis: It’s great to have specialists who can credibly answer any specific queries these CEOs may have. We have competitors in most sectors but have always worked as a team to get the Irish message across. Indeed, we are very inclusive and always welcome new participants to the group. “In particular, the relationships that we’ve developed with Boston College and Notre Dame University have been incredible in getting access to CEOs, ministers, congressmen and high-profile business leaders. The upcoming American Football games in Dublin in 2020 will give opportunities to further develop these relationships.” www.gatewaytoeurope.org About the Survey: The largest survey of its kind, 302 talent leaders from across Ireland took part in the survey, which focused on key talent themes and priorities for the year ahead. The respondents comprised of senior executives responsible for talent decision making within their respective organisations, ranging from CHROs, CEOs, HR Directors to Heads of HR functions such as L&D, Recruitment, Organisational Development and Performance Management. This is the third year this survey has been conducted.
Reflections on Talent Summit 2019
Reflections on Talent Summit 2019
Almost two weeks have passed since Talent Summit, yet the excitement from the event is still very much alive. I met with Talent Summit Founder, Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig to ask him to share some of his key takeaways and highlights from Talent Summit 2019. Kate Costello – “Have the Heart of a Lion Even When You Feel Like a Mouse” After being asked for his top five takeaways, without even a moment to reflect, Robert started with “Kate Costello’s speech was a particularly significant take away”. Kate, who is only 16, spoke at Talent Summit to present the Dermot Costello Outstanding Leadership Award in honour of her father to the Irish women’s hockey team who reached the World Cup finals for the first time ever last summer. In her speech Kate told the story of a mouse who wanted to look bigger and stronger than those he feared so they would fear him. He asked a wizard to change him from a mouse to a cat, then a cat to a dog and then a dog to a lion. After some time, the wizard said, “with the heart of a mouse there is nothing I can do for you”. It’s a powerful statement to those in leadership. Being a leader means being brave in your actions to lead and guide others. You need to be courageousness to lead beyond the odds, have the heart of a lion even if sometimes we feel like a mouse. Robert reflected on the parallel message in Kate’s story of how we can leave a lasting impression on those close to us, shaping and activating change beyond what we expect and, in many cases, never even knowing we’ve impacted on a person. “The fact that Kate stood on the stage, eloquently recounting a story her father once told her, shows the personal impact we can have on those around us, can be truly transformative, beyond what we intend it to be. The irony here is that Kate not only showed the “heart of a lion” as she presented the award to her own heroes, but she herself was demonstrating outstanding leadership through her actions. My takeaway from this is that we inspire and activate those around us, every day in most cases without even realising it.” “Last year, I recalled how spending time with Dermot, was often like a life lesson, as you would come away with a different twist on whatever topic we discussed. It’s clear that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree… Thanks for that lesson Kate!” Robert Gibbs, Chief Human Capital Officer, NASA – The Power of Positive Intent The NASA transformation story shows very clearly how purpose is our defining competitive advantage. Robert reflected on Robert Gibbs keynote which explained how NASA’s raison d'être boils down to the flourishment of human kind which allows them to operate on the fringe of what is commercially viable, giving them the ultimate competitive advantage. “Robert Gibbs also reminded us that change is a ‘contact sport’, it’s personal, constant and unpredictable, requiring continuous communication and feedback”. When Robert later spoke on a panel with Niamh O’Beirne, Partner, EY and Barry Rudden, Director, Sigmar Recruitment, what surfaced in the conversation was the power of presuming positive intent. Belief goes a long way and sometimes to get the best out of people you need to believe in them. Margaret Heffernan – Leading Change Is Human During Margaret Heffernan’s keynote she emphasized how building social capital takes time, focus and energy and if the ingredients are right, can bind human capital to achieve beyond measure. The strength of the social capital creates the foundation for companies to succeed, the components of which are uniquely human; kindness, helpfulness, warmth and candour. Robert went on to say “The thing that struck me is how the ubiquity of loyalty, friendship and comradery in the workplace create a shared commitment to success, something we may struggle to replicate in the gig economy. In short being trusting and trustworthy is the basis of creating a just culture”. Ian McClean – Every Conversation Matters Given that Talent Summit is a humanic conference, Ian argued that conversation is where the rubber hits the road in expressing our humanity. It reminds us that how we make people feel in our presence is the true measure of our engagement. Robert added “every conversation can either create a gap or close a gap in our daily connectivity and we need to be mindful of the residue that every conversation leaves”. Monica Lewinsky - The Importance of Being an Upstander Robert quoted a Mexican proverb when introducing Monica, which in mays ways captured the spirit of her story; “they tried to bury us, but they didn’t realise we were seeds”. Monica Lewinsky’s story, in many ways reflects this juxtaposition of humanity and technology. As the internet catapulted her into the limelight bringing the uninvited attention of the world upon her, it was the compassion of those around her, coupled with personal resilience that brought her back from the brink. Reflecting the theme of this year’s Talent Summit, it’s the human element that has enabled Monica to lead change through her social activism and create a global anti-cyberbullying revolution. “Monica has turned personal trauma into grace and raised a profusion of lessons we can apply in our personal lives, working worlds and within our family units. My main takeaway from spending time with Monica is that each of us can make a difference by showing compassion through our actions, by being an "up-stander". Monica spoke about this in the context of societal change, but the glaringly obvious parallel in our working world, is that as some resist change and others passively act as bystanders, we truly need to firmly stand “for” the purpose behind the change we hope to achieve.” Mirroring Margaret’s Heffernan’s comment on workplace loneliness and Kate’s story of the need for the heart of a lion, when we sometimes feel like a mouse, Monica harpooned the message of individual impact home when she said, “there is power in small numbers when there is consistency over time.” We need to create a narrative steeped in empathy to be truly compassionate in all aspects of our lives. “Our purpose at Talent Summit is to create better working lives as the world of work augments and being more compassionate is really what it all boils down to! "Tanx" for sharing such a powerful message Monica.” …..and tanx to all who supported, spoke, attended and participated at Talent Summit 2019. See you next year!
Monica Lewinsky Announced as Keynote Speaker for Talent Summit 2019
Monica Lewinsky Announced as Keynote Speaker for Talent Summit 2019
Social activist, global public speaker and contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Monica Lewinsky has been confirmed as the keynote speaker at Talent Summit 2019, for which tickets are now available for purchase. In recent years, Monica has been at the forefront of leading global societal change around the “culture of humiliation”. At the heart of Monica’s personal story and what she advocates for is more human compassion and personal resilience, unique human traits and actions that are fundamental to leading change in transformative times. Talent Summit will take place on Wednesday 27th of February 2019 at the Convention Centre Dublin. Talent Summit has grown to become recognised as one of the most respected and largest HR conferences in Europe. With over 20 global thought leaders contributing and speaking, this summit is aimed at business owners, corporate executives, HR leaders and those with a professional interest in shaping the workforce of tomorrow. Talent Summit was founded by Sigmar Recruitment and is proudly supported by EY Ireland. Welcoming the announcement, Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig, founder of Talent Summit commented: “With the talent agenda ranking as the number one priority for business leaders around the globe, we need to reimagine how we create better workplaces and working lives in an increasingly complex world of work. At its core, Talent Summit is a humanics conference focused on people and our interaction with technology. The workforce is augmenting, becoming more digital, diverse, global and automation-savvy which presents major opportunities for HR leaders to influence how their organisations invest in people in parallel with technology to attract, organise, develop and drive the performance of their people. This year’s theme is “The Talent Revolution; Leading Change” where we will unlock global thought leadership on how HR leaders can lead desired change to develop their workforces.” “We are delighted to partner with Talent Summit again this year. In an environment characterised by disruption and uncertainty, rapid technological development and fast-paced economic growth, successfully leading organisational transformation remains critical. Having culture change and employee experience at the forefront of transformation will be central to achieving sustained success. In addition, to support continued growth, businesses in Ireland need innovative workforce-planning strategies in place to attract the best talent in the market, and to retain and up-skill their existing workforce, equipping them with the skills and expertise needed for the future. The world of work is changing, and a changing working world needs a new approach, with focused and strategic leadership. The calibre of speakers at Talent Summit this year is second to none, and we’re honoured to be part of such an inspiring international line-up. The event promises to be full of stimulating discussion and we’re looking forward to meeting colleagues from Ireland and around the world,” Niamh O’Beirne, Partner, People Advisory Services at EY Ireland, added. The central theme of Talent Summit this year is The Talent Revolution: Leading Change. Key topics covered on the day will include: The New Talent Supply Chain: Buy, Build, Borrow or Bots Unlocking Performance through Engagement. Leadership in the Digital age Leading Organizational Transformation & Cultural Preservation Future of Learning, Development and re-skilling Keynotes from over 20 national and international expert speakers will be given on talent; attraction, development, leadership, performance and transformation strategies. There will be real life case studies from successful global and local brands, as well as panel discussions and audience Q&A. Tickets for Talent Summit are now available for purchase. Please see www.talentsummit.ie
7 Ways to Increase Engagement in Your Company
7 Ways to Increase Engagement in Your Company
Changing the way that employees understand and interact with culture can significantly increase engagement in the workplace. We’ve listed 7 ways to increase engagement among employees through cultural realignment: 1. Talk About Culture Management need to communicate the culture of the company to all stakeholders in order for everyone else to understand what the company believes in. Buy-in from management is essential. 2. Energise Existing Jobs Offer job rotation, job sharing and combine tasks so that staff are not doing the same thing every day. Introducing a new task which will improve abilities or push employees to learn new skills will motivate staff to improve in their role. Forming self-directed teams can help employees feel like they are in control of their jobs and have a say in the company. 3. Hire for Fit When hiring for new staff it is important that companies don’t just hire people with the right skills, without judging if they will fit in with the company culture. An introverted project manager can be detrimental to an IT project so knowing your culture and the culture of the job role you are advertising is paramount. If outsourcing the hiring process to a recruitment company, it is important that the company understands the culture that you are portraying. In a climate where new recruits are hard to keep and are constantly changing jobs for a better company fit, knowing both the culture of the company and the role can save a company time and money 4. Leverage Manager/Employee Relationship Employee satisfaction relies quite closely on the affiliation they have with their manager. Frequent praise and recognition will empower employees to keep up the good work but if managers are too busy to take notice of their team or to spend time talking with them this bond will turn stale, leading to eroded trust and confidence on both sides of the relationship. Taking the time to schedule meetings with team members and keeping note of the work that your team is doing will leverage this relationship allowing a confiding and open connection. 5. Upward Mentoring Mentoring does not always have to be downward. For employees that have been in the company for a longer period of time and understand the inner working of the company they can provide valuable insight that managers may not have thought of before. Fresh eyes can alert companies to newer technologies and more efficient ways of doing jobs so do not discount something until you have tried it 6. Job Referral Bounties Offering rewards for employees finding and placing workers in your company that suit your culture can prove a successful recruitment strategy. Presenting long-term bounties are even better as employees are motivated to help others progress through impromptu coaching and team working. 7. Measure Improvements Send out surveys every two to three months to measure key performance indicators to see if the culture is changing for the better and if people are becoming more engaged. Measuring the profit and productivity levels in the company overtime can also highlight how successful the project is. Conducting six monthly reviews where employee satisfaction rates are measured and bench-marked can show if some employees are lacking culture fit. Having a programme in place to help these employees find their feet can further increase engagement in the company as you are showing staff that you value them.