The first step is to collect the basic information about the position you are trying to fill from HR.
Interviews are stressful, not only for the candidate being interviewed, but for you as the interviewer as well! You want to be perfectly prepared for conducting the interview to avoid any embarrassing mistakes. Your performance as an interviewer is also key to putting the candidate at ease. A nervous candidate will not interview well. You don't want to worry that the basic information is wrong. As a manager, you will need to exude confidence to keep your staff content and working towards your objectives. That confidence comes from making sure you have as few surprises as possible, and that comes from careful and thorough preparation.
HR should provide you with the following documents:
The functional, technical, and business specifications for the job
The candidate pack
The interview questions with follow up questions
Check that the job specification and the candidate pack are correct. The requirements may have changed since having a discussion with your manager, for instance, the skills required for the job that you're interviewing for may have been altered; this could also apply to the location, salary range, and so on. In some cases, HR may not have picked up on those changes. You don't want to find out that you and your HR representative are not on the same page about the job with respect to the questions in the interview! The entire interview process could be a waste of time if the information is wrong.
HR usually advertises or searches for candidates. Ask to look at the advert and/or candidate specification to check if it is suitable. Most often, HR will handle the queries and correspondence with candidates.
To choose who to interview, you need to have a clear specification of what the essential attributes of the job are. I suggest you set a specification that gives you a handful of interviews.
Your organization may also research the candidates' social media profiles. Facebook and LinkedIn are the more obvious channels to get a background picture of a candidate.
We will cover illegal discrimination later in this chapter, but the use of background information, unless agreed to or declared by the candidate, is fraught with difficulty as the law is still being established case by case. It would be sensible to have a permission checkbox on the application form to gain the candidate's permission to do the social media profiling.
Make a note of the decision making criteria used to select candidates for interview in case you have to show the decision was not founded on illegal discrimination.
When it is time to hold the interview, you will have the candidate's application form, curriculum vitae, letters, and e-mails to consider.
Check with HR what the arrangements are for the interviews. It is usually HR who collects the candidates from your reception, gives health and safety information, offers the usual facilities, and then show them out after the interview. You must make sure these arrangements have been made before the candidates arrive!
Next, we will find out how you can create an interview experience that reflects your values. This marks you out as different (in a good way!) and starts the process of building your managerial authority with the candidates and your organization.