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issue 21

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Training Bulletin Issue 21

Interviewing: pitfalls or perfection?

A crucial member of staff has resigned and you have a vacancy to fill, often in as little as a month. And after the expense of advertising, the time spent weeding out inappropriate cvs, scheduling and holding interviews, you find the ideal candidate, offer them the position—and they turn it down.

Worst case scenario—you’re back to square one. Or you have to go with your second best candidate.

So, what went wrong? With over 15 years’ experience in recruitment, we have seen most of the factors that could have contributed to this. And a recent study highlighted one of the most common problems.

Who is interviewing whom?

A survey by T-Mobile found that 56% of people who took away a negative impression after an interview did so because of an interviewer who they felt was unprepared, unprofessional, or painted an unattractive picture of the company’s values and culture. Of these people, 40% turned down a job offer from that company.

If you receive hundreds of applications whenever you advertise a position, it’s tempting to think you have the upper hand. But the number of applicants doesn’t reduce the cost of recruiting and can increase the time it takes to produce a shortlist of people worth interviewing. And with an unfilled position increasing everyone’s workload, you can’t afford to have anything go wrong at interview.

So how can you make sure that, not only you select the best candidate, but that they, in return, select you? And if you or your staff find interviewing stressful, do you need this added worry?

Prepare for the interview

Make sure that you are familiar with the position you are recruiting for and its requirements. Read the candidates’ cvs and note the things you want to discuss. But as well as knowing what questions you need to ask, what questions might you have to answer? With unemployment low, people can afford to be choosy and increasingly, they want to know about your organisation’s beliefs, ethics and culture. And they probably won’t be convinced if you just spout your company’s mission statement!

What room arrangements will work best? One suggestion is to avoid having large pieces of furniture between you and the candidate: this creates a barrier and can give the idea that authority figures in your company are not approachable. Make sure that neither of you sits with your back to a bright sunny window: the other will have to squint at you and won’t be able to see your face.

Create the right first impression

First impressions: it’s a truism that these will disproportionately influence the way we feel about people—so how can you create a good first impression?

These suggestions, along with many others, are from our new, one-day course on staff interviewing and selection skills. See the course outline or contact us at for more information.

Public course schedule

Follow this link for the dates of our public courses.

The price is £495 + VAT per person for a one-day course and £850 + VAT for a two-day course. Half day courses are £295 + VAT per person.

We also offer private courses at your premises. Please call 01235 60 30 22 for details.

How to book

To book, call Abi on 01235 60 30 22 ext 20 or use the booking form.

Kind Regards
The Plain Words Training Team

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