The Art of Interviewing: get it wrong and it'll cost your company a fortune

Colette Sexton, news correspondent at The Sunday Business Post, on why your interviewing process might be costing your company a fortune.

Recruitment is an expensive business. It can require advertising budgets; recruiter costs; travel expenses; employee relocation costs; sign-on bonuses and employee referral awards, as well as the use of precious people resources during the interviewing process. Businesses can fork out up to $5,000 to hire one new employee in a professional or manufacturing industry, according to RecruiterBox. Even hiring someone in a services-related industry typically costs more than $1,000.

After all that expense, when you hire someone, you want to make sure that they are the right person with the appropriate skill set, that they will fit in with the team and that they will stay at the company for a long time. Unfortunately, new research from recruitment company Hays Ireland has found that nearly half of all employees have left a new job within 12 months because it did not match expectations formed during the interview process. Giving their reasons for their early departures, 47 per cent said on-the-job coaching or training was not provided as expected, while 40 per cent said the actual job advertisement was misleading. The Hays Ireland What Workers Want Report 2018, which surveyed 1,800 employers and employees, also found that a further 28 per cent said that they did not affix with the company’s culture.

A poor application process and interviewing experience harm both employee retention and attraction. Unemployment in Ireland has fallen to a post-crash low of 5.1 per cent, which matches the lowest rate recorded in Ireland prior to the recession in October 2007. It is an employee’s market now, and employers need to try harder if they want to attract and retain the right talent.

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Make sure that when people come to interview, the office seems welcoming. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (64 per cent) said the internal working environment appeared unwelcoming, while 37 per cent said the receptionist or staff were not friendly. For the interview process, make sure the interviewer is prepared, the process is fast, effective, and efficient, and that the interviewee understands the process. Nearly half (45 per cent) of employees decided against pursuing a job because of negative first impressions during the interview. A further 62 per cent of employees want to meet their direct managers during the hiring process, but this is actually uncommon, with only 11 per cent of employers facilitating it. This is very important, as potential employees will want to meet the person they will be working closely with to see if they get on.

Lying in interviews and making promises that will never come to pass is not a clever tactic to “trap” a particularly talented candidate. That candidate will leave if the job does not meet their expectations and your company will gain a bad reputation, making it even harder to recruit. Invest some time in creating a great interview process, and the payback for your team and your bottom line will be worth it.

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