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Recruiting? Are you asking ‘the right’ questions?

2 min read

There are literally hundreds of ways to recruit and interview candidates. However, like many things in life (for example doing a simple ‘push-up’) one technique is generally far more effective than others, and therefore the outcome that is reached is a direct reflection on how you have gone about structuring and executing the exercise.

As a recruiter I am often asked by managers of not-for-profit (NFP) organisations, how to effectively assess candidates’ values and skills against the position that needs to be filled. In reply, I mention that we utilise a structured behavioural-based questioning technique.

So, what does a structured interview process look like, and why is it so beneficial to use?

Values and competencies

The recruitment process needs to be orientated around the core values and competencies required for the role. An ‘occupation analysis review’ in conjunction with a ‘G.A.I.N.S profile’ are two techniques to ensure that all essential values and competencies are identified and utilised throughout the interview process. This is the most effective way to measure prospective candidates’ values and skills against those required for the role.

In other words, values plus competencies are the indicators that are integral to the performance of the job, especially in NFPs.

Once identified, the values-based competencies are then broken down further to detail the key behaviours that an individual would demonstrate to meet each competency. Once you establish what the key set of competencies are for the role (and best practice models suggest there are no more than ten), you can then set out to translate these competencies and develop a behavioural-based interview guide.

Behavioural-based interviews

Behavioural-based interviews represent a structured interview question approach, which set out to measure the examples given by the candidate, against the key competency and behaviour indicators that you have identified as necessary for the role. This approach is the most statistically effective as it is highly objective, and therefore maintains fairness across the assessor’s rating and decision-making.

A formal interview approach also allows the candidate to formulate their opinion of your organisation’s values, culture and level of professionalism. Consequently, this increases your chance of attracting the best talent.

To recap: the key to a successful interview is that it contains job-specific and critical incident questions pertaining to the advertised position (Harris, Toulson and Livingston 1996).

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