How to structure a job interview for active sourced candidates

Once you actively source candidates, you will notice a difference in the job interview processes. 

  1. Your questions are more specific: You most probably know more about the candidate in advance, since you contacted them after careful consideration/screening. So now is the time to really focus on details, and ask questions you can’t find in a CV or questions that are too personal for just an email exchange
  2. There is a lot of sales involved: You most probably established that the candidate fits into the job profile, so now it’s about finding out their motivations/goals and how this fits into the employer brand and job positions you are offering. You might need to explain the work environment, the team involved, the company culture and try to positions this as an opportunity you would not want to miss out on.  

When structuring your interview process, it’s best to keep a common structure while being flexible enough to choose specific questions on the spot, depending on the situation. 

Here, we provide a step by step guide to transform your sourced candidate interviews into reliable, efficient and structured processes.

Before you begin the job interview for sourced candidates

Do a job analysis – identify duties and qualifications – match skills to job tasks.

Analyse the job profile and be specific. You’re questions need to correlate to the job competencies and requirements which are derived from the job description. Create a list of must have and nice to have factors – then see how you can include these insights in your questions, while placing different weighting on each one.

  • What are the profile requirements you couldn’t find in the CV and should ask?
  • What are the regular responsibilities?
  • Is there opportunity for growth?
  • How does this position fit within the organization?
  • What does the team look like?

Determine grading scale – The presence of a scoring system is very important to ensure objective decisions.

Create a specific scoring system with a range of acceptable to unacceptable answers. 

This is necessary in order to compare different profiles for the same job position. To reach a consensus you must record the interpretations of the answers in the interview.

  • How will you evaluate the candidates?
  • What weighting do certain questions have?

Identify job selling points – your employer marketing

You will realize that sourced candidates need to feel convinced of your open position being a real opportunity. Analyze what selling points you can mention in the interview. How could this be of favour to your sourced candidate? What might they be looking for in a job that you can provide? These are the details you should be aware of:

  • Why should the candidate choose to work for you over other competitors?
  • What are the growth possibilities this job offers: in terms of training/development, monetary and team-related communities
  • What are the special highlights: is there anything unique your offer includes?
  • Online: If the interview is taking place online, then include videos and pictures of the work environment, team, building. Don’t use stock images.
  • Offline: If the interview is taking place in your office then include a tour and introduce them to your team.  

Plan your feedback loop: explain what will happen after the interview and provide a timeline if possible

  • Candidates expect professionalism and feedback if they take the effort to listen to your job opportunity. Know the exact details of when you can follow up with the candidate and how the news will be carried out.
  • Be fast in providing feedback because top talent is not available for a long time.
  • If you’re collaborating with other recruiters, include set process on communication and hold someone accountable – otherwise the processes will be dragged out and unclear.

The job interview for sourced candidates stages

1. Introduction
To break the ice and create a positive atmosphere, you should start with introducing yourself to (shortly) the candidate and provide reasoning to why you think they could be a good fit. Demonstrate that you spent some time looking through their profile and are prepared. It’s important to establish personalization.

  • Ask a straight-forward question whilst they settle in to help put them at ease, e.g. “how was your day/weekend” ?
  • Introduction to yourself – keep this brief
  • Outline structure of the interview: first we establish some key requirements, then we go over the company culture and finally some administrative points. Explain the approximate length
  • Address that there will be an opportunity for the candidate to ask any questions they have
  • Ideally you don’t need to cover the job details again, since the candidate knows about the details from the first point of contact. Since you go through the requirements soon, the job details will be uncovered anyways.

2. Professional experience:
To establish if the work background relates to the current job opening.

These questions can be focused on the specific industry and by the specific job role. Ideally, the candidate is screened in advance for this experience & skill match and further questions are established beforehand. Don’t ask questions where the answer can be found in the CV. Dig deeper and look further.

  • (if any) why are there gaps in the career path?
  • what daily tasks are you (currently)/(have been) confronted with in your role
  • accomplishment specific: what have you built/sold/developed that you are proud of?
  • motivation specific: which tasks do you enjoy most?
  • leadership position experience: how many people are in your team, are you reporting to, are you managing? are you willing to share knowledge, promote, motivate and coach others?

3. Personality questions: Does the personality fit to the employer brand and job profile?
Solution-oriented / self-confident, stress-resistant

  • How do you prefer to be managed? What do you find important to maintain healthy work relationships?
  • What is the ideal working environment for you?
  • What are your goals for the next few years?

4. Motivation questions:

  • What do you know about the company?
  • Why is a job change being considered?
  • Why would you consider working for the company?

5. Administrative questions:
Final interest: now that we covered all the details, are you interested in this position?

  • Period of notice: When can you start working for the company?
  • Monetary check: What are your salary expectations?
  • If location change is required: Would you be open to move to XYZ?

6. Final Feedback based questions: Allow room for open questions from the candidate. These questions can be really insightful to improve your processes. If things are unclear you can think about correcting the job description for the future. Finally include some questions regarding the recruiting/sourcing process, such as:

  • Has your perception of this job opportunity changed after our interview? If yes, how/why?
  • What channel of communication do you prefer?
  • How did you feel once we contacted you for the position? Is there any suggestion you can give on how we could improve the process?

Conclusion: There is always room for improvement. Are you analyze your job interview for sourced candidates?

We have gathered some last tips to identify whether something can be improved:

  • The answers to the interview questions are just accepted and checked off without any feedback.
  • The interview is more a monologue than a dialogue.
  • Questions are asked that have little or nothing to do with the job position.
  • The application process is very long and opaque.
  • The selection process is disproportionately selective for the actual position (selecting a CEO would involve more detailed analysis than a junior position for example).

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