interview

Too good to be true?

Recently I was involved in the recruitment of an additional consultant to join the interim team here at Chadwick Nott. As the interviews progressed I was shocked and surprised at the feedback and comments that some of the candidates made in relation to other recent interview experiences. Firstly, in one situation, the interviewer had arrived very late, in scruffy attire (certainly not business casual) and they had obviously not conducted any research or preparation prior to the meeting. In another interview, the interviewer had commented that he was surprised that the candidate had turned up for the meeting as they tend to have “at least one person leaving every week”, and don’t really retain experienced staff. Maybe this is why the recruitment industry can often be subject to bad press?! Other feedback from our potential recruits included experiencing a very cold interview style with no rapport building whatsoever, an overly sales approach, think ‘sell me a pen’, and lastly an intensive interrogation with the interviewer making it very clear that they needed to really earn a place at second interview stage.

Today, most industries are facing a very candidate short market, whether you are recruiting an experienced recruitment consultant or 5 year PQE Real Estate Lawyer and it is by no means confined to professional services. So surely our interview style, preparation and technique is key to making sure that we effectively use the interview process to
a) not only recruit the right person, but also,
b) to present our business and opportunity in a positive way?
As recruitment consultants we do spend a considerable amount of time coaching and preparing candidates for interviews, but how many times do we provide feedback to our clients on their process and how is this feedback received?

It was certainly very interesting to receive feedback from candidates on our interview style and process at Chadwick Nott. Fortunately, the comments were very positive – given our day job, this was a relief! We were praised for our honest approach, rapport building, being informative and for our preparation. One candidate went as far as describing their experience with us as ‘too good to be true’! To be honest, our approach is not rocket science but I was really shocked by how so many companies can get it so wrong. I also believe that there is a strong correlation between the ‘interview experience’ and the culture that can be found in many organisations.

Our recruitment process was successful and in a very candidate short market we offered our first choice candidate who, despite a very tempting counter offer, didn’t hesitate to accept the role very promptly. I believe that by simply conducting a series of well prepared, insightful, rapport building and timely meetings, we secured the right person for the job, our company and culture.

Whether you are a large commercial law firm, international PLC or small high street legal practice, I think we all need to be mindful of the impact that the interview process has on potential employees. Whilst we strive to make sure that we make the best possible hire, we must also ensure that we do not exclude high calibre candidates by not following very basic pointers in regards to the interview process. We are always keen to share both clients and candidates feedback and are happy to discuss this if you would like more advice.

Charlotte Williams is a Senior Associate working in Chadwick Nott’s Birmingham office where she focuses on the Interim and Locum market. She can be contacted on 0121 200 5577, charlottewilliams@chadwicknott.co.uk.

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