We all remember how nerve-wracking a job interview can get, right? As a business leader, you can help by telling the candidate that it’s perfectly normal to feel nervous at the start of an interview. That’s actually excitement. It’s a sign that they care about the interview and want to do well. Let’s talk about 10 helpful tips when interviewing applicants, from Global Office CEO Fiona Kesby, in this episode of All In!
Gem: Are you ready to go…
Gem and Jason: All In?
Gem: I’m Gem,
Jason: and I’m Jason.
Gem: So today, we are joined by Global Office PH CEO, Fiona Kesby. This time we will dive into the topic of ‘Applicant Interviews’. Hi Fiona!
Jason: Hi Fiona!
Fiona: Hi Gem! Hi Jason!
Jason: Now we all have gone through the job interview process, and I’m sure most of us felt it would be nerve-wracking most times. What tips can you share to employers around the topic of doing interviews?
Fiona: Interviewing candidates is one of the keys in selecting the right person for any business owner or leader. And you’re right, Jason, it can be a really nerve-wracking experience for the candidates. Hey, I know myself and I’ve been on the other end of an interview. It’s made me feel nervous as well. And so I’ve got 10 very helpful tips that I have found over my 18 years of recruitment experience, that is really helpful here.
Fiona: So Tip One. First of all, interview candidates yourself or actually get your key team leaders onshore to do the interviewing, because it’s really important that you are finding, even with your offshore teams, that they are the right cultural fit for you. And, you know, the interview will be the best opportunity to make sure that the candidate’s spoken English and comprehension is also the right level for your requirements as well. Now, the great thing about the Philippines, and this is why we chose to outsource to the Philippines, is that English is actually one of the main languages that is spoken here. The government uses it, there’s 7,000 islands, so they needed one; in each island has a different language so they needed one language to unify everyone. And it is the main language that everyone learns at primary school, high school and university, all their subjects as well. And most are actually familiar with the American pop culture. So many use the idioms or expressions that come from that as well. Now, I have a question for you both.
Fiona: If you can recall a job interview that you’ve had in the past, how did you feel?
Gem: Uh, I remember feeling nervous, and uneasy because of what the outcome may possibly be, or picturing the worst-case scenario, probably.
Jason: For me, I was quite nervous, to be honest.
Fiona: It is really nerve-wracking, isn’t it? And we would not want that. And as an employer or business leader, you know, we want the candidate to feel at ease and freely be at their best in that short available time that we have together. So Tip Two, in relation to that is at the start of the interview, let the candidate know how long the interview will take. Now, this will nudge them to answer directly and briefly because there’s a limited time to make a good impression. Share also with them that it’s okay that they feel nervous. You see, it’s actually excitement that their feeling, and excitement is often mistaken for being nervous. It shows you care about the interview and you want them to do their best. So I actually share those few sentences at the beginning of an interview and I let the candidate know that they are actually excited to have the opportunity for a new career. And I also remind them that interviewing is not something that we do every day, so it is actually normal to feel those nerves or to feel that excitement. And this really helps them to relax more and it will also help them focus better on the interview.
Jason: Interesting perspective. Nervousness is actually excitement. Hmm.
Fiona: Yeah, when we understand that, it makes a big difference, doesn’t it?
Fiona: Now Tip Three. Remember to introduce yourself and your business. The interview is a two-way process. It also gives candidates a chance to hear from you about your employee value proposition or EVP. Now EVP has four elements, and this has been explained really well by Scott Keller and Mary Meaney of McKinsey and Company. You know, candidates are drawn by great leaders, a great company, which is culture values, business results and reputation, a great job and great rewards. So in the interview, do share your company’s mission, vision, values and purpose.
Fiona: Tip Four. Ask more open-ended questions than the ones that can be answered with yes or no. You know, for example, what are your three top priorities for this year? Now one of my go to interview questions is, tell me about the most challenging time in your life and how it has made you the person you are today? So I’m looking here for people with resilience, grit and humility, which is really in line with the values that we have at Global Office. Now, another great question that I love to ask as well is, what values did your parents teach you? And again, looking for similar values sets, looking for work ethic and looking for a really good family values.
Fiona: Tip Five, ask about their interests. If they mention reading, ask about the last book or article that struck an interest for them. You know, hobbies and interests are not selection criteria on their own, but they may reveal if the candidate has some really unique qualities like, openness to learning new skills, curiosity and persistence.
Fiona: Tip Six. Find a task you will be getting your VA to do often and test them on it. You know, for example, you could give them a script and have them call you like in a role play if you need them to make phone calls as part of their daily tasks. You know, if you’re looking to hire a graphic designer, then give them a creative brief to make a flyer.
Fiona: Tip seven. Check for the ability to listen actively. For example, talk briefly about a process in your business, then ask a question that will prompt them to sum up what you said. You know, what are your thoughts on that?
Fiona: Tip Eight. Ask the candidate to recall a challenge that they had in their previous job and how they actually overcame that. Or if they’re a graduate, ask them about that challenge at school and what they learned from it. At Global Office, the recruiters are trained to check for longevity. You know how long a candidate has stayed at each of their previous positions. And because, why we’re doing this is, and asking this question is, we’re looking for people that do have the grit, the resilience and perseverance, because we all know that in life, in business, nothing is easy. Are people going to stick at it and improve? Or are they going to just give up?
Fiona: Tip Nine, be consistent about the questions that you ask. So actually prepare an interview guide for yourself or for the person who has been designated to do the interview, so that each person that you’re interviewing, you actually ask exactly the same questions and then you can compare. Don’t ever wing it. Consistent interview questions will help you manage similarity bias, or our natural tendency to favor those whose personalities remind us of ourselves as well, or what we call sometimes in the recruitment industry, ‘The Halo Effect’.
Fiona: Tip Ten. Before ending the interview, ask what questions do you have for me? This will let you check if the candidates have made an effort to find out more about your business or the industry at the very least, you know, are they inquisitive? Are they going to actually ask you questions in a real work scenario? In general, you’ll stand a better chance of working well with someone who’s comfortable asking questions. Humility and curiosity is a powerful combination to have in your global team.
Jason: And there you have it! Ten Tips for business owners when doing job interviews with potential applicants.
Gem: If you’re curious about choosing a VA, email us at success at globalofficeph.com and we’ll arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call for you.
Gem: I am Gem,
Jason: and I am Jason. And this is…
Gem and Jason: All In!
Gem: Where we talk about leading global teams, helping businesses to scale, and being a catalyst for people to exceed.
Jason: All In is brought to you by Global Office PH, from sunny Cebu in the Philippines.
We help high growth-oriented business in Australia, UK, and the USA to extend their office offshore and build their global team. We do this by housing and caring for your team, in the enhanced productivity culture of our Philippines offices.
If you need to build or expand your virtual assistant team, we can help you. Schedule a meeting with us: https://calendly.com/donnalee-baltazar
AU (+61) 2 7227 8809
US (+1) 302 207 2767
PH (+63) 32 410 7523
9th Floor, i1 Bldg, Jose Maria del Mar Street, IT Park, Apas
Cebu City, Philippines 6000