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Recruiting remarkable people – part 4

After you have created a short list of ideal candidates it is time for the in-depth interview which can be split into three parts:

Part 1 – planning

Part 2 – interview

Part 3 – follow up

Each part needs thought so that you maximise the chance of recruiting the best people possible.

Consider creating a panel of two or more people. The benefit of this is that you come to a joint agreement on the same experience.

Decide on the tone of the meeting and understand that the experience you create is your brand. You may have brand guidelines with values and culture statements but you need to live them in your recruitment process.

Start the interview by helping the candidate relax. You need to find out who they are and you need to help them open up to you.  Consider a tour of the office or a coffee with some small talk.

Before you start asking questions explain that there are no right or wrong answers. Recommend they be totally authentic.

At this stage the candidate will want the job or at least the opportunity to turn it down. So, expect them to try to say what you want to hear. With that in mind focus on their past experiences as indicator of what they will do for you in the future.

For example, if they got a poor grade in Religious Education at school, ask why. If they say they didn’t like the subject, probe and ask if they always don’t put maximum effort into things they don’t like.

Ask candidates to tell you about situations in previous jobs. As them to share experiences with current and/or previous managers.

In addition, ask questions like:

What personal development have you done in the last 12 months?

What suggestions did  you put forward in your last company to improve the business?

How do you ensure you participate well in a team?

What would you do if someone wasn’t being a team player?

You could also ask off the wall questions to see how flexible the candidate is and to get an insight into them. Questions like:

  • Tell me a funny story about yourself
  • Justify this statement…David Beckham should be Prime Minister.
  • If you could have a super power what would it be and what would you do first?
  • Any question can work and perhaps ask these questions at the beginning.


Keep in mind that it is not just the words the candidate uses but how they say them. So, be aware of the candidates state.

For example, if you are recruiting for a telemarketer, you could ask them to describe the best day of their life or their perfect day outside work. Track their voice tone, body language and energy levels. Then ask them what they like about speaking to people on the phone. If their energy levels fall this tells you more than their words.

Listening skills are key and writing down questions before the interview can help because you can focus 100% on the candidate rather than what you are going to say next.

When you think you have found the right person make the offer but follow up with everyone. Consider making the offer by phone with a letter to confirm the offer. You may also want to call of the other candidates if you think they could join you later.

You never know, the person you offer the position to may turn you down.