Recently we wrote a well-received blog post on the ‘Top Ten Hiring Mistakes’, and as a result we wanted to expand a little on one of those mistakes that can so easily happen if the market research or media agency is ‘not conducting a good interview’. This post is worth reading through, for even the most experienced of interviewers out there!
It should be simple to conduct a good interview, but it can so easily go very wrong for the interviewer. This is often largely down to preparation. Interview mornings/afternoons/days are often long, so firstly, make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Remember you are (probably) choosing a new member to add to your market research team, so it’s crucial that you are on the best form you can be.
Secondly, prepare by writing a list of open-ended questions that relate directly to the market research job description and then plan another list of questions that are more general and behavioural which will allow the interviewee to comment on past performance and will help you to learn things about them that may not be on their CV.
Now thirdly, CVs are there for a reason, and lots of hard work and thought usually goes into them, so please do your market research candidates the courtesy of reading them through before the interviews commence. Make sure you take the time to highlight anything that you would like to clarify or find out more about so you can ask during your time with them.
During the interview – we know it’s a cliché, but remember that the interview is a two-way process. If you have the ideal candidate and they turn out to be spectacular in interview, and you really want to hire them, you don’t want them not to consider taking the position because of you! Be professional, look professional, put them at their ease and create a good atmosphere in the interview room. Don’t be afraid to go ‘off piste’ from the questions that you’ve prepared if it seems like the right thing to do, but make sure all your questions are still appropriate!
Also make sure you’re not doing all the talking. Listening is key. Write notes on each candidate, as you won’t remember all the important information later, and watch for non-verbal signals when they answer. Read the interviewee’s body language during your time with them. What is that saying in addition to all the words they are speaking? Overall, it’s really essential that you have enough time with a candidate to be able to get a gut feeling for them, that you can properly assess whether or not you feel that they are competent enough to do the job and that you record all the information that you want to remember about them.
Use the time directly after the interview to make any further notes about the candidates that you wish to remember, and make sure you meet with colleagues as soon as possible to make your decisions on who gets the job. You will remember the candidates and what they said in much more detail if you meet on the same day as the interviews. And if there is one frontrunner for the market research, insight or media analytics role, get back to them quickly – chances are someone else will want to snap them up too. Always remember that the early bird catches the worm!