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Seven Stages of Organising and Conducting Interviews

Oakstone International Executive Search seven stages of organising and conducting interviews

Hiring the heavy-hitters you need to drive business growth means having a well structured interview process.

Faff around at any point and you risk dampening enthusiasm and losing vital talent. The calibre of executives you seek will not tolerate delays or obfuscation.

So get it right from the word ‘go’. Make sure you have:

  • defined and agreed your objectives

  • set down a clear timeframe (and stick to it!)

  • cleared enough time in everyone’s diaries

  • told everyone what is expected of them

  • planned and agreed all this with your executive search consultants.

Stage 1: Face-To-Face Interview With The Hiring Manager

You must know the outcome you want – and be able to sell your company with confidence to your interviewee.

It’s a two-way street: the pressure is on you as much as them. They are not newbie applicants – they need a good reason to leave their prestigious current role and sign for you.

Be precise. Be positive. And at the end of the interview, be very clear what happens next.

It’s not clever to keep people guessing. It doesn’t strengthen your negotiating leverage. It just makes you look disorganised – or worse still, manipulative. So be clear.

Provide proper feedback to your executive recruiters. It’s vital intelligence that will influence your eventual hiring success.

Stages 2 & 3: Face-To-Face Team Interview And Panel Presentation

This could be two stages…

  • face-to-face second interview with the hiring manager, their line manager and HR manager if appropriate

  • panel meeting and presentation to the hiring manager, regional manager, HR, marketing, pre-sales

…or the two events could be combined into one second-stage meeting.

Whichever route you choose, it’s imperative that you all do your homework!

Plan well in advance whom the interviewee will meet, what will happen and what is expected of them.

Everyone on the panel should have read the CV in detail (not just skimmed it). Have incisive questions prepared well in advance. Not just catch-all bucket questions.

Don’t try winging it just because you’re busy. We’re all busy.

There’s nothing worse than being interviewed by all ill-prepared and overworked hiring manager whose mind is elsewhere.

And again, give detailed feedback to your recruitment team. It’s crucial info. So don’t be woolly.

“He’s/she’s great” is not enough. Why are they so great? Why are they right for you?  What are the areas that need confirming/qualifying prior to offer?

Stage 4: Making A Verbal Offer

Do it quickly. If you’re going to make an offer then make it. Don’t waste time or procrastinate.

Otherwise you risk losing your new star.

We can make the offer on your behalf to make negotiating more effective. Twenty years in executive search have given us a certain edge when it comes to assuaging concerns and sealing the deal.

Stage 5: Getting References

Everyone knows someone important who will give them a glowing testimonial. That’s a given.

But we like to dig deeper.

Backdoor references from third parties will give you a much more accurate picture of whom you’re about to hire.

And remember…references from your target’s current employer have a nasty habit of triggering counter-offers.

Stage 6: Making A Written Offer

Like the verbal offer, make it quickly.

Time kills all deals – so don’t delay.

Stage 7: Resignation – Managing Counter-Offers

As the intermediary, we can advise your target on the best way to resign. Burnt bridges are no use to anyone.

Our experience is also vital in managing the threat of counter-offers.

Few people should ever accept a counter-offer: only 20 per cent of people who do so will be in post after six months.

Why? It’s obvious – they’re no longer trusted.

They will be ostracised, sidelined, overlooked for raises and promotions, given all the lousy jobs, reassigned to the Nowhereville office/sector/customer.

And if that doesn’t force them out (without triggering a constructive dismissal claim) then they’ll always be first in line for redundancy.

Simply because the counter-offer was just a way of stalling for time. Until the traitor could be replaced.

A clean break with no ill feeling is so much better for all concerned.