Kim MacNamara – HR Business Development Director
I am on a mission!!!
Ashley Kate HR have had over 75 responses so far to this question, ‘’what’s the worst question you have been asked at interview’’ when it was posted on our LinkedIn Group. It is my mission to support our HR clients in perfecting their recruitment processes and I work closely with HR to ensure all interviews aim for a positive experience on both sides which results in a successful hire.
Here are just a few of the responses and questions posed:
There have been several but the ones that stand out are: working for a large public sector organisation for many years and applying for an HR Management position I was asked “do you think the organisation has gone too far down the lines of political correctness!” I was offered the job and the interviewer advised he decided to throw that one in if candidates were doing well in the interview! Another was “do you prefer city breaks or beach holidays! (Again for an HR management position!) and the top one was “Single parents are not trustworthy as they always take time off to look after their sick kids how can you convince me that this won’t happen if I offer you the job? Job was offered and I “politely” declined!
Most interesting ones: “Do you think your husband will mind you being away overnight in this job?” (don’t think it was a proposition, but you never know); “Here is a list of the other candidates: what makes you better than them?”; “I was interviewing you for role A, but now I’ve seen you, would you be interested in role B? It’s not vacant yet but when she comes back from holiday I’m going to sack her.” (Run for the hills!).
My most hated interview question was posed by a director in an investment bank. “If there were 2 candidates with identical skills and experience but was one was from an ethnic minority, which would you choose?” Open pit for me to fall into. Mmm, wonder if he asked Caucasian candidates the same question…Didn’t get the job. Answers on a postcard, please!
I was asked by the Director “If the other Director asked you to do something I disagreed with what would you do”. I was tempted to say I thought you were in charge here!! I thought about this question for about 2 secs and decided I did not like the idea of being piggy in the middle of two opposing Directors and blew the interview in a grand style.
A private sector company once asked me: “If you were attracted to another man who would it be and what would make him attractive to you”. Clearly not wanting to disappoint the young man in question I stated that I found him attractive. His smoky grey eyes and sensitive mouth just promised so much. He left at this point. His colleague and I just looked at each other for an uncomfortable minute until I crossed my legs and said “well that was all done in the best possible taste!” (think Kenny Everett). He burst out laughing, I suggested that his colleague (who was his boss) needed re educating. I didn’t get the job. Gave me a good chuckle all day though.
I was asked ‘ You are holding a dinner party, off the top of your head’ (clicking her finger at the same time) name 3 guests you would invite. I said Bobby Robson, Chris Evans and Nelson Mandela’ …..Hmmmm all males, interesting ….I didn’t get the job.
Not great are they! Now put yourself in the candidates’ shoes how do you think they felt?
Not only do they have to cope with the stress of hoping they are a good match for your job role at interview stage; prospective candidates often are thinking if this is the right place and move for them.
Candidates are likely to be overwhelmed during an interview, trying to take in all the information being offered and interact well with you. They’re asking questions about the firm, the position and the culture. They are taking note of the work environment, your responses and body language, and trying to gather any titbit of detail that they can use to promote themselves in the best light.
As the Hiring Manger you are representing your firm and your brand so it is essential to promote a positive image as you are the first person the candidate will meet. The impression you make on the candidate during the selection process is an important factor in the candidate’s decision to accept or decline your offer of employment. It is imperative that the candidate has a great experience when they meet regardless of whether they are offered the position. You certainly want them to tell their friends, family and colleague that your process rates highly and in turn promote you as an employer of choice.
After all the ‘War for Talent’, according to HR related articles recently, is hotting up again so efficient and effective talent acquisition procedures are key.
Here are my top tips for when two strangers sit together for the first time!
- Choose an interview room that best reflects your firm and be welcoming and approachable.
- Ensure you provide an interview pack prior to the interview – not just the job role but details of e.g. the firm’s structure and future plans and how they will be involved.
- Provide the candidate with a map and information on where to park and/or provide a temporary parking permit — before the interview to minimise risk of last minute panics.
- Be prepared. Read the candidate’s resume before the candidate arrives. Develop interview questions that are directly related to the role and design enough time for all questions to be asked and answered.
- Go over the interview format and evaluation criteria prior to the candidate’s arrival. Ensure you understand what you are evaluating with the questions. Have you checked that your job role description is an accurate reflection of the role.
- Introduce yourself – be sure to put the candidate at ease during the interview. You’ll get better information if the candidate is comfortable with you and the environment.
- Ask easier questions first to get the candidate talking and feeling relaxed. An interview shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to scare or catch the candidate out. Instead, the interviewer should work with the candidate to help them demonstrate their best knowledge and expertise.
- Provide the candidate with full information about the role. Offer a wider view of the culture and environment they would be working in and prospects/training opportunities.
- Follow up and indicate when the candidate is likely to hear about the outcome, even if they are not to be considered for the next stage. Keep them engaged!
Let’s face it: knowing how to interview can be a real challenge and actually conducting the interview is not necessarily a god given natural talent that comes easily to everyone.
The team at Ashley Kate HR interview candidates daily so are well placed to advise you and steer you in the right direction and can provide access to local market and salary intelligence, which is incredibly useful in supporting your recruitment process. We are keen to focus on creating a great candidate experience and when we our HR recruitment services are retained by you we can;
- Sell the benefits of working for your firm above businesses competing for the same talent
- Provide all interviewed candidates with detailed interview feedback as to why they were successful/unsuccessful so even rejected parties view the experience as positive
- Provide all advert applicants and candidates submitted at CV stage with an outcome to their application
- Manage and communicate all changes and updates in the process to ensure candidates are up to speed and engaged
- Invite two way communication on the candidates experience to enable your attraction strategy to continuously develop
Don’t forget if you are the actual HR candidate going on interview Ashley Kate HR can also provide valuable tips on interview techniques prior to you attending – take a look at our You Tube video
Read the War for Talent blog written by Amanda Underhill from Ashley Kate HR for more information on this subject.
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