Excellent recruitment strategies are crucial for any business.

To find, attract and retain the right talent, you need a comprehensive strategy which includes everything from writing an effective job description to conducting a successful interview. After all, great recruitment isn't just about filling a gap in your team but finding the person will have a long-term impact on your company's performance.

A specialist recruitment company like Lucy Walker Recruitment can find the talent you need by assessing the available candidates in your commercial space. However, you'll still need to think carefully about how you're going to convince those people to join your team during the interview stage.


Improving your Interview Process

Studies conducted by Leadership IQ found that failures among new employees typically happen as a result of flawed interview strategies. According to the survey, 82% of the 5,000 managers surveyed found that interviewers lacked the right interviewing skills to recognise red flags and choose the most qualified candidate.

Interviewing is a complex process that many companies overlook. There's more to it than making sure that someone has the right technical skills for the role.

Interviews also look at:

  • Cultural fit: Whether the person will thrive in your business environment.

  • Attitude: Whether the individual shares the values of your business.

  • Soft skills not mentioned on the CV: Whether the person can communicate, manage time well, and demonstrate the correct body language to succeed in a customer-facing commercial role.

With so many different factors to consider, from coachability to emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament, it's no wonder that most people find the interviewing process to be the most complicated part of talent acquisition.


Know What a Good Hiring Process Looks Like

The easiest way to make sure that your interviewing and hiring strategy is up-to-scratch is to check that it includes all the right components. An experienced recruitment company like Lucy Walker can help with this and we would recommend you downloading our hiring checklist to help you , but have also outlined some key pointers for you to take away from this blog. 


1. Clearly Define the Position

define your role

Before you can begin interviewing for a role, you'll need to know what the position you're recruiting for ‘looks like’. Writing a thorough job description both allows candidates to decide whether your post is right for them and gives your hiring manager a foundation on which they can base their decisions about who is "right" for the job.

List and explain:

  • The job responsibilities: i.e., interacting with customers, managing sales, cross-selling and up-selling products, or leading a team.

  • The qualifications and work experience required: e.g., management experience, knowledge of the commercial industry.

  • Work life and culture: Is flexible scheduling available? How do people interact in the company? Where are the opportunities for growth?


2. Promote the Opportunity

In today's competitive job market, promoting your new position is one of the most crucial parts of the hiring process. Today's candidates have a multitude of options for where they can take their talent. This means that you need to go beyond just posting a job description on your corporate website.

Promote the role by connecting with a  recruitment partner. We already have connections with the commercial talent market, which means that we can get your position the attention it needs at speed.


3. Outline the Interview Process

With your job description successfully gathering attention, it's time to take the next step in your talent acquisition process. During this stage, you'll design a plan for how you're going to conduct interviews. Remember, there are different types of interview available depending on what you want to accomplish.

  • Recruiter screening: This is the process where your recruitment company reviews applications for you and filters out candidates that aren't a good fit. For instance, they might not have the right commercial experience or attitude.

  • Hiring manager screening/phone interviews: After you've received a refined list of candidates from your recruitment company, your hiring manager can get a sense of each candidate's ability to thrive in a role through a phone interview.

  • In-person interview: The candidates that excelled in the phone interview will then come to an in-person interview, where the hiring manager can use competency-based questions and behavioural testing to ascertain their viability for the role.


4. Providing the Job Offer and Hiring


Job Offer

Remember, a successful interviewing experience doesn't end when the final question is answered. Employees will also evaluate your company based on how you manage the job offer and hiring stage. To ensure you make the right impression:

  • Follow up with each candidate quickly, according to the time-frame you established during the interview.

  • Have a plan for onboarding your new employee and introducing them to the business on their first day.

  • Help candidates to visualise long-term success with your company by meeting with them to create a development plan for future growth.


Empower Your Hiring Manager for a Successful Interview

As outlined above, there are many vital elements involved in successful hiring.

One of the most important people in this process is your hiring manager. A hiring manager is the person who will conduct your interviews, and make sure that your candidates get the right first impression of your business.

Unfortunately, interviewing isn't something a hiring manager gets to practice very often. If you want to delight your candidates, you may need to provide your hiring managers with a little extra support.


1. Let Them Know How to Score/Benchmark Candidates



The job description you write for each role is only the first step in giving hiring managers the information they need to make a good candidate decision. Before you begin interviewing, make sure your hiring manager understands your recruitment strategy, and what you're looking for from a new employee. For instance:

  • How much experience do they need in the commercial sector? Can you overlook experience if the person shows that they're willing to learn and engage in regular coaching?

  • Are there any certifications necessary? Does the candidate need experience with a particular piece of software, CRM system, or sales strategy?

  • What kind of attitude will fit with your company culture? Do you need someone who works well in a team, or can lead others? Can the candidate communicate ideas well, and do they know how to manage deadlines?

Give each characteristic you're looking for a quantitative score or a benchmarking style system, similar to that used in our engage recruitment platform to help hiring managers to separate the strongest candidates from the rest. For instance, you may give one point for every year of experience a person has, and extra points for "nice to have" qualities, like familiarity with your point of sale system.

Our blog article sets out more on this here. 


2. Script Competency-Based Questions

The best interviewing processes are structured. When a hiring manager follows the same structure for every interview, there's less opportunity for issues like bias to get in the way of a good hiring decision.

Competency-based interviews are a great way to learn more about your candidate and what they can potentially bring to a role. List out the competencies you're looking for like:

  • Commercial awareness

  • Leadership skills

  • Teamwork

  • Communication skills

Then create questions that ask candidates to show their talents by providing situational examples. For instance, typical competency-based questions in the commercial sector might include:

  • Tell me about a time when you provided exceptional customer service?

  • Tell us about a situation where you turned an unhappy client into a lifelong customer?

  • Tell me about a time when you were asked to improve a product or service?

Well-designed competency-based questions will also assist in giving your hiring manager a scoring strategy, as they'll be able to assign points to each candidate based on the evidence of a particular competency. You can also consider behavioural testing for additional insights into your candidate's attitude and ethics.

Our engage platform uses cutting edge methodology to incorporate this and you can read more about this here.


3. Provide a Great Candidate Experience

Interviews are often stressful for everyone involved. In today's skills-short marketplace, it's essential to give candidates an experience that makes them want to be a part of your team.

Business leaders can help hiring managers improve the experience they offer to candidates by conducting "mock" interviews where your "HM's" are encouraged to:

  • Make notes during the conversation, highlighting the critical competencies and point scores of each candidate. This aids with decision making, and shows people that you're actively listening to their answers.

  • Improve their body language: The way you hold yourself can make a big difference in the interview. Hiring managers must keep their body language open during the interview. That means no crossed arms, slouching, or regularly checking the clock.

  • Show respect to candidates: Remind hiring managers to thank applicants for their time and provide them with details on when they can expect to hear more about their application. You can also use this time to remind prospective employees of what they'll get if they take the job.


4. Make it a Two-Way Conversation

One of the biggest mistakes that hiring managers make involves listing off questions, without really talking to the people on the other side of the desk. A true two-way conversation in the interview shows the candidate that the company is genuinely interested in them, which leads to a better employer brand.

Hiring managers are often very good at building a rapport with employees, so encourage them to let those skills shine through when they're conducting interviews. This will help employees to open up and ask questions that may give you a better insight into what they'll be like as an employee.

Allowing candidates to ask plenty of questions also means that they can determine whether they feel they're well-suited to your business. If they don't think they're going to be a good fit, they can let you know straight away and stop you from making a hiring decision that will lead to turnover within a couple of months.


5. Keep an Eye on Your Reputation



Finally, make sure that you're keeping track of how people are responding to your hiring process. Potential employees in the current recruitment landscape often look for insider information about the businesses they want to work for. This means checking out reviews on sites like Glassdoor and reading statements on social media.

Keep track of the testimonials and reviews that appear about your business online to make sure that you have the right impression on candidates. At the same time, consider speaking to your candidates at the end of the interview process to get their opinion on what you can improve.


Can We Help?

Lucy Walker Recruitment has over 30 years’ experience recruiting in the commercial sector across both Leeds and West Yorkshire and can recruit for every level in your organisation. To find out more call us on Leeds 0113 367 2880.  Alternatively email us here.


About the Author: Mark Woffenden

Mark Woffenden is a Director at Lucy Walker Recruitment and has an extensive knowledge of the issues and workings of the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Commercial markets developed over the last 20 years in the Industry