If you have been to one interview in Kenya, then you have been to them all.
You will either sit in front of a recruitment firm panel or someone from the HR department.
They sit there stoic and unimpressed, look you up and down and then start with, “Tell us about yourself”
But will this get you the right person for the job?
Most interview questions have structured answers that can be learnt. So, there are two ways of preparing for an interview; the first is to cram all the answers to the questions they will probably ask; the other is to know what you do and be able to show your knowledge and worth.
And that is the part that most interviews do not cover. The question then becomes, how do you know you got the right person and not the person with the most right answers?
Here are five key ways to ensure you chose the right applicant:
Know the person
Asking the “Tell us” question will simply get you one of around 12 stock answers in return. Most people have already crammed them. So try to know the person by making them comfortable enough to talk about themselves. Ask leading questions. Structure interviews differently and see how they react to new information being thrown at them.
Are they all talk?
Informal sector employers have figured out how to get the best hires because they give their interviewees practical tasks and ask them to prove themselves.
For example, long haul drivers are asked to step into a lorry, an egg is placed just behind the rear wheels and they are asked to set off. If they set off without breaking the egg, they qualify for the next round.
It is possible to do this with formal sector jobs as well. Ask the candidate to make a presentation of where they think they can contribute most to your company and what they bring to the table. This not only challenges their research skills, but also their ability to process new information and their belief in their ability as well.
Tailor the interview to your industry
Generic interviews will not get you the person you want. You cannot ask a duck to climb a tree and expect it to do as well as a monkey. I once went to a content writer interview, where we were meant to develop web content and they still expected us to bring our CVs on paper. We were also told to bring our certificates as well.
This however was an interview for a creative job wholly be based online. Would it not have served them better if they asked for content portfolios? And asked candidates me to demonstrate their skills with a content management system?
Make it informal
Rigid environments are not the best place to find the right individual to suit your teams. This is especially true if you are a small or medium sized enterprise looking for someone who will slot in seamlessly. An informal interview could be over lunch or an afternoon coffee. You get to see candidates in a relaxed environment where they can be closer to their real selves.
Pick the right panel
This can make a world of difference. Whether it is someone from your in-house HR or someone from an agency, make sure they know what you are looking for. If it is someone from an agency, it is in your best interests to have someone from your own team to sit in on the interviews.
A great team is made up of moving parts that complement each other. Make sure you choose wisely.