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Do interviews need to be tailored to each candidate?

Hiring the wrong candidate is, quite simply, one of the most expensive mistakes made by HR decision makers.

The CIPD estimates that hiring the wrong person for a senior manager or director level position costs businesses on average $15,000 per person [1]. That’s a significant price tag, particularly when you take into account the time and resources that also go into onboarding and training new staff.
 
Whilst there are many reasons behind why a new employee fails, the steps you take when interviewing will determine the difference between a poor hiring decision and one which adds value to your business.
 
Every candidate is different. Every job role is different. Every company is different. This all seems obvious, but if it is, then why are so many interviewers sticking with the same interview processes time and time again?
 
Below are five of the most common bad habits that prevent a tailored approach to interviewing:
 
 
Inadequate Research & Preparation
 
I’d like to start with a quick case study;
 
Tiim has recently been given a promotion from team leader to head of department at one of Montreal’s leading investment banks. Good job Tim. Previously his superiors handled hiring of all new employees, but now Tim is responsible for hiring across the ten teams.
 
On his first week in the new job he receives a request to source a new Java FX developer. Tim hasn’t worked with Java developers previously, but he’s been given a hiring specifications document and feels confident in his interviewing abilities. Tim meets with a few candidates after matching their resume’s with the job spec and does eventually hire a developer. Sadly just a few weeks later the developer hands in their resignation, stating the job wasn’t what they’d expected and they didn’t fit within the company's culture.
 
Tim’s mistake? He went into the interviewing process unprepared. He hadn’t learnt what the company really wanted in a new hire, or needed beyond the factual job specification. More importantly he didn’t ask perhaps the most important question;
 
“What don’t you want in a candidate?”
 
Alongside this and his inexperience at interviewing, not knowing the full hiring picture was a tremendous handicap, resulting in Tim hiring a ‘paper-perfect’ candidate that was entirely wrong for the business.
 
 
 
Asking the Wrong Questions
 
Consistency during the interview process is vital if you hope to compare and analyse candidates equally. It is therefore vital for interviewers to maintain a level of standardisation which you could say is at direct odds with the idea of a bespoke interview approach.
 
However, tailored interviewing does not mean doing away with traditional interview questions. Instead it refers to adjusting your interview actions each time, to best suit the needs and requirements of each specific job rather than always asking the same formulaic set of questions.
 
Going back to earlier comments around preparation, every interview should have a series of unique questions written in advance that match the real needs of the business. These can then be put to candidates applying to that specific role, enabling the collection of relevant consistent data which is bespoke to the job.
 
Often interviewers - particularly the most experienced - will feel confident enough in their abilities to skip this step; but doing this will only limit the volume and quality of information you’re able to extract, increasing the risk of a hiring mistake occurring. Tips for maintaining consistency include;
 
Using a scoring system | Asking competency based questions | Maintain the interview environment (same interviewer, location, weekday) | Know how to interpret answers
 
 
 
Allowance of Interviewer Bias or Favouritism
 
Naturally, as human beings, we are drawn to people that share similar traits. As hiring professionals it’s vital that we see past these commonalities and remain objective throughout the interview process.
 
Diversity is a vital element of any business, however even now we see issues with inequality in the workplace, whether that’s related to gender, nationality, race or simply personality. Avoiding bias, favouritism, personal agendas and individual preferences will enable any interviewer to vastly improve their success rate and will prevent quality candidates slipping the net.
 
To overcome or at least minimize predictive hiring decisions, ensure you allow sufficient time to accurately evaluate each candidate and put structured processes in place that increase accountability and accurate documentation.
 
Also, it’s important to remember that candidates are equally at fault of being prejudicial and having preconceived biases towards both your company, and you as interviewer.
 
 

Spotting Dishonesty in Clients
 
[Interviewer] "Sarah, your resume shows a 2 month gap between now and your last job. What have you been doing?"

[Sarah]
 “Oh my Mother fell ill so I took a break from work to care for her, as well as to reassess my career - which is why I’m so confident I’d be a perfect fit for this company!”
 
Is that true? Would you know how to spot the signs if Sarah was lying? Can you dig deeper and learn the real reason for that gap - when Sarah was actually partying in Europe.
 
Candidates come to interviews prepared to sell themselves to you, the interviewer. Every answer they give will be (consciously or not) skewed towards the goal of winning you round and obtaining the job. If you cannot interpret the subtle differences between truths and lies, how can you be certain of hiring the right person for the job?
 
With lie detectors generally being frowned upon, signs you should be looking for include;
 
Eye contact and movements | Voice tone changes | Shuffling and fidgeting | Over answering with too much information | Face touching or covering up | Speed of communication
 
 
 
Conclusion
 
In answer to the question ‘do interviews need to be tailored to each candidate?’ - it’s a resounding yes if your goal is to avoid bad hiring decisions and potentially expensive repercussions.
 
Crafting an interview process that’s in-line with your company's needs and culture is essential if you want to obtain great talent that will remain with the business long term. This is particularly true in competitive markets like FinTech where skill shortages are prevalent.
 
Need help? Whether you’re new to interviewing, a victim to bad habits or looking to audit your company’s entire hiring processes, take 10 minutes to speak with a recruiter at Caspian One.
 
Every day we work to find candidates that deliver more than just the job spec. We’ve heard every interview success story and every horror story too, so can guide even the most experienced interviewers.
 
Click <HERE> to email our CA/NA FinTech team, or call us on +1 (416) 900 1284
 

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Reference:

[1] http://www2.cipd.co.uk/NR/rdonlyres/C725AF28-202C-41FC-99CD-0EABB5A5B28D/0/4357MBAbookletWEB.pdf