Would you consider sending interview questions in advance, and why?
One of the main points of a recruitment process is hiring the best person for the job, and the role of the interview panel and company hiring in my book is to support the person being interviewed to have the best opportunity to shine.
Why do many people feel that the process is one of the most nerve-racking; interview skills get rusty, we get tested bringing back memories from school exam halls, and we also have to respond to quick-fire questions from people we don’t even know. Even the interview panel can be nervous, challenged with making sure the questions are spoken correctly and understood.
How often do we put the person applying at the centre of the process?
Where there is a range of application formats to express what excited them to apply in the first place and find out what their aspirations are for the future and what their emotional needs are to thrive. Could there be a simple non-jargon application and interview process suitable for a range of people who don’t feel like the panel is there to trip you up?. And that one critical question, “do you have any questions?” as if it is the make or break of your success.
Is there an opportunity to get to know each other in the recruitment process and invite and encourage questions in an informal setting? Why does the company or organisation hold most of the power?
It also seems like a quick dash competition - job done, where many ridged processes are in place, especially for larger companies and public sector providers. A new vacancy is often an urgent response as someone has left unexpectedly and requires replacing immediately to keep the company firing at optimal performance level.
I would encourage a culture shift to create a slower-paced, welcoming place that invites people to get to know a company or organisation and mutually work out if you are both the right fit for each other. Giving the right balance of curiosity and encouragement invites applicants to feel confident to share their best authentic selves. They also see or hear someone like themselves amongst the interview panel members - reducing that nerve-racking experience by offering the questions in advance to prepare the shyest, highly talented applicant or a person who is neuro-divergent has the same opportunities to show off their best selves without focusing on the nuances that affect their focus and aptitude in a new place, a room full of strangers.
Right in front of us, there is a range of skills and talent, new ways of doing, and untapped income streams. Let’s give the recruitment process the time it deserves, invite opportunities for open-door conversations and evaluate by checking in and asking, “are we fit for purpose in creating a more inclusive approach to job opportunities from a wider range of people to apply?” Would this lead to a more productive, creative and diverse workforce, more people connecting to your values and business drivers, and therefore inviting and retaining talent for longer.
Life is experienced differently by all humans. By starting with the recruitment process, can we find ways to welcome people from a range of backgrounds into companies and organisations that puts people at the centre. And by considering the different skillsets and attributes people bring to the company, a person can progress be creative and support the company to thrive in the long run. Innovation starts by doing things differently.
I would love to hear your views on inclusive recruitment.
Bye for now
This blog was written as I often support companies and public sector organisations with their recruitment process. I am invited in as that familiar face, an outside lens to sit on interview panels and offer guidance and advise on recruitment processes approaches and longer-term strategies when recruiting and reaching out to a diverse range of people.
I was also enthused after listening to a discussion on ‘Inclusive Recruitment’ at the ‘Creative People & Places’ online Arts Council England conference that shared a range of insights and tips on the challenges and successes of paving a more transparent, inclusive job recruitment process.