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Help!! Interviewing tomorrow and no clue what to do!

(7 Posts)
lunchbox Sun 23-Sep-12 19:06:52

I'm starting my own business, its a coffee shop/sandwich bar and tomorrow I start interviewing for serving staff.

All the interviewees are young, 16-18, and I'm probably more nervous than they are! What do I ask? Anyone have any hints for a very nervous interviewer?

squishyotter Sun 23-Sep-12 19:33:20

The whole purpose of the interview is to determine whether

a) The candidate is suitable for the position that you are recruiting.
b) That they will cause you as few difficulties as practical.
c) That the details on their application form/CV are accurate.

It is also an opportunity for the candidate to see if they like you, your business, and to ensure they will be happy with the working environment.

I have zero experience in retail but I would assume you need to find out:

• Are they open, friendly, and able to communicate well?
Perhaps you could explore their reaction to offering them a brew. Do they respond politely, or is the response mumbled? Do they have a nice open body posture or do they appear closed with hands clasped and arms crossed?

• Identify and explore relevant work experience
Do they respond coherently and professionally?

• I would assume in retail that a basic level of numeracy is required.
Maybe you could offer a quizz: "A customer comes in and orders a Coffee and a cake. The bill comes to £4.25 and they give you a ten pound note. How much change do you offer?" If it takes too long for the candidate to respond £5.75 then you're gonna end up with a long queue, slow transactions, and unhappy customers.

• If the candidate is working with money, they will need to be aware of how to spot forgeries. Ask them what they know about fake money and what should be done if they are given counterfeit money. Also you need to identify if the candidate knows how to use credit card machines, and what to do if a transaction is declined.

• Dealing with problems. Ask a question that determines how the candidate would deal with an unhappy customer. You want to work out whether you are going to have to come running every time a customer is unhappy, or whether the candidate has the ability to troubleshoot. You could make another question: "A customer complains that his coffee is cold. What do you do?" or "A customer complains that you have given the wrong change. How do you handle this?"

There are surely other things relevant to your trade and retail in general that I may have missed but these should be some handy pointers to get started.

Throughout the interview, you want to analyze whether the candidate is giving off good vibes, after all you want someone who is positive, upbeat, friendly, and doesn't constantly hassle you right?

Take your ipad/tablet/pen and paper and make lots of notes. If you are interviewing many people, I can assure you will forget things. I've handled many interviews where 2 people were perfect, and upon reviewing the notes suddenly remembered a very relevant point.

Finally, do not let on that you are in any way nervous. Be upbeat in your tone and frame of mind. You are offering a job here - you are in charge!

Good luck smile

lunchbox Sun 23-Sep-12 19:41:53

Thanks sooo much, that's really helped!

Can I just ask you another question, one of the candidates sent a dreadful cv, she's only 16, but the cv was more like an essay, she seems very intelligent, lots of voluntary work, but should I mention how unsuitable her cv was?

twinklytoes Sun 23-Sep-12 22:04:06

well you've shortlisted based on her CV / application, therefore it would be inappropriate to say this at she'll wonder why she has been called to interview if you don't like her CV. I would suggest you offer her feedback on her CV after the interview process if she requests feedback.

twinklytoes Sun 23-Sep-12 22:07:29

we're interviewing tomorrow too...hope yours go well. I just hate the fact that it will still take another 3mths before I have new people in place due to CRBs team are exhausted and need new blood sad

also remember..phrases like "if you are successful"...

most interviewees I've come across when asked if they have any questions ask.."how much will I be paid" and "when will I hear"...make sure you know what you will respond to these questions.

numptymark1 Sun 23-Sep-12 22:13:28

I think if they are 16-18 it's unrealistic to expect them how to deal with a forged note/declined card etc if they have no cash handling experience

I'm a retail manager and regularly interview this age group

what I find is that a huge list of top grade GCSEs does not automatically imply common sense
also if their mum contacted you and asked about the job -don't touch them with a barge pole

when you are interviewing someone with limited exerience it's more about recruiting the personality that you think you can work with and train

tell them you are as nervous as they are, they need to see your passion for your new business and if they feed off your passion and enthusiasm then they are the staff for you

many teens are well drilled on standard interview questions so make it more conversational, than formal interview and you will get a better sense of their personality

if you find them easy to talk to then so will your customers and personalities can make or break a business

good luck

prh47bridge Mon 24-Sep-12 00:18:53

I've had a couple of courses in conducting job interviews.

I would recommend thinking about the qualities you want in your staff and then looking for evidence that the people you are interviewing have demonstrated those qualities previously. So, for example, if you want someone who can handle difficult customers you might ask them about difficult people they have come across in the past and how they dealt with them. Finding out about past performance is a much more reliable indication of how they will perform than asking hypothetical questions as to how they will handle a situation.

And no, I wouldn't tell a candidate how unsuitable their CV was. That would not be appropriate during an interview.

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