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Interview techniques to avoid hiring the wrong person 

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

The last time we checked, 59% of UK workers wanted to leave their job. Whilst we analysed the possible reasons why, it also pays to look into potential hiring mistakes.

There are many potential issues that can be avoided during the onboarding process and hiring a Candidate that isn’t quite the right person is one of them. A vital one. Think of all the time and money you could save from the offset by making the correct decision at the start.

Here are some simple techniques that you can incorporate into the interview process based on our experience as one of Oxford’s leading Recruitment agencies with over 20 years of experience:


In addition to taking the time to ensure you are familiar with the information on the Candidate’s CV it is also hugely important to have a thorough knowledge of the role and responsibilities in question.  If that’s not obvious to you then you’re probably not as well prepared as you should be.

Not only will that allow for a more direct questioning approach, but it will enable you to acknowledge the soft skills necessary for the role – skills that you may have disregarded at the initial CV read.

Spend time on the job ad

We understand the time-consuming nature of job advertisements. However, a well written job ad that specifies skills and requirements will not only wean out unsuitable Candidates naturally, but it will appeal more to the top tier of Candidates.

Remember to be descriptive about the role and the company in question. After all, you are trying to sell the role as well as attract the top talent.

Limit the number of interview stages

In some divisions, two or three step interviews are necessary. However, with the unemployment rate resting below 4% it is highly likely that you will be either interviewing a currently-hired employee or competing with other agencies and roles for an unemployed individual.

Both of these situations emphasise a great deal of Candidate power and let’s face it, nobody likes the waiting game exacerbated by a lengthy interview process where it’s just ‘how we do it’ rather than a complete necessity.

Prepare your questions:

Continuing with the theme of saving time, once you have completed your thorough research of the role and potential Candidate, it’s likely you will have a good idea of what to ask. It’s important to draw on experiences and give the Candidate as much talking room as possible. This really allows you to get a sense of their personality.

For example, rather than:

"I can see you have interned before, how was that as an experience?"

Go for:

"You have interned for X amount of time. That’s great. How did you juggle your commitments and what skills did you learn there that you can bring to this role?"

Not only can you guide the interview process and keep it on track, but you will get a better idea of how committed said-Candidate is to the role.

Don’t be afraid to list it

What may be used in many romantic comedies as a tactic to choose between potential suiters can also be a valuable Recruitment tool. Following the interview, when your conversations are fresh in your mind, make a list of the pros and cons. What you loved and what you didn’t. It’s not being judgmental, it’s being definitive and when it comes to your decision it will allow you to give each Candidate a fair overview from the time you met them.

As you go along with the interviewing process, adopting a ranking procedure can also be fairly useful, particularly when dealing with a high volume of Candidates.

Quickly secure the perfect Candidate

By this time, you should have a fairly solid idea of who you want to pick for the role. The trick is not to bide your time too much. Remember, if this Candidate is the best pick of the bunch following your thorough and concise interviewing process, somebody else may have cottoned onto this too. Get in there before you are too late!

We can help you find the right person the first time:

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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