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Interviews: Do you have your favourites already decided before you interview?

(30 Posts)
breakingpointisnigh Wed 06-Jul-16 15:31:35

I would be really interested to know your experiences of holding interviews as I'm trying to work out if I have a chance in heck for the one I have tomorrow!

Firstly, say you had four vacancies, how many interviews would you hold?

And, is your mind pretty much made up on the basis of the application form and the interview is there just to confirm it? Do you already have your favourites in mind before you even meet them?

Thanks smile

suit2845321oie Wed 06-Jul-16 15:35:51

For 4 roles I would hope to see about 8-10 people depending on the quality of Cv's. I do often have a preferred candidate when interviewing and that's the one whose experience closely matches the job description. However, it's not a box ticking exercise and on many occasions the one I think is going to be great is anything but and one of the others ends up being much stronger. But yes, there's often a candidate, or 2, who I am particularly excited about meeting and sometimes all the Cv's are pretty mediocre and I'm not excited by any of them

Emochild Wed 06-Jul-16 15:37:44

Last time I recruited I had 1 position, interviewed 4

1 was clear favourite, 1 was to make up the numbers (I was training someone on interviews and selection)

The favourite came across terribly in interview and the rank outsider blew us away and we took her on

If you've got to interview, you've got a chance

Slave2thecat Wed 06-Jul-16 15:38:47

Op the number of interviews you would have would depend on the nature of the job, the industry, how specialised and competitive it would be. Also how the interview day is arranged. As a basic rule Id go 6 candidates per post but it's massively variable.

You normally know who scores best before interview so you know who seems most likely to get the job before you start but sometimes (often?) at interview this changes. Some people are so much better, or worse, on paper than they are at interview. It's not often you'd appoint the worst presenting candidate on paper - but it does very occasionally happen. There is a reason you interview people and that's because they are all worth the time to meet; so any could in theory get the job.

If you are being interviewed you do stand a chance - good luck.

AdultingIsNotWhatIExpected Wed 06-Jul-16 15:39:47

Last time DH shortlisted, the clear favourites did not come across at all as well as he'ld hoped in interview, and the one that got it very nearly wasn't short listed

breakingpointisnigh Wed 06-Jul-16 15:41:38

Very interesting, thank you! It almost seems I had better hope I am a making up the numbers candidate and then blow them away tomorrow! grin

OurBlanche Wed 06-Jul-16 15:44:08

Yes. I used to rank them on paper, make notes as to why I prferred them at the paper stage.

Then I would re-rank them after interview and make appointments based on the interview.

Many, many times the paper favourite turned out to be a far less employable candidate when in an interview. Once I allowed my manager to overrule me and we took on a paper favourite despite him having been a nightmare in the interview. never again

So, go in and smile, good hand shake, good eye contact, be pleasant, sunny, nod, be seen to listen, be seen to think before responding and knock their socks off smile

AdultingIsNotWhatIExpected Wed 06-Jul-16 15:45:58

On the other hand I have attended "technicality" interviews, where it was in the bag internally but had to be advertised externally, and the internal move was already in motion before the interviews were complete.

Very very frustrating when that happens, but some employers are known for always hiring internally on externally advertised posts

vickibee Wed 06-Jul-16 15:49:42

would like to add, as a shy introvert I do not present well at interview. I work in accounts and have always performed well in my roles, employers have given me a chance despite not being able to sell myself. Once I get to know people I am fine but interviews are a nightmare for me

Brokenbiscuit Wed 06-Jul-16 15:51:17

Firstly, say you had four vacancies, how many interviews would you hold?

Really depends on the quality of the applications received and the likelihood of filling the post easily. Have occasionally interviewed one candidate for one job, at other times I've interviewed as many as 10 candidates for a single role.

And, is your mind pretty much made up on the basis of the application form and the interview is there just to confirm it? Do you already have your favourites in mind before you even meet them?

Usually, but not always. There are often "front-runners" from the application stage but they often disappoint at interview. Conversely, some candidates who only just scrape through to interview turn out to be fantastic in person. I tend to be quite open-minded these days - you can't predict from a paper application what someone will actually be like.

OlennasWimple Wed 06-Jul-16 15:52:40

I'd see 3-4 people for one position but for four similar roles 8-10 candidates should suffice.

Queenbean Wed 06-Jul-16 15:56:21

I have seen cvs and really liked some people and disliked others (well not dislike, just thought they weren't suitable), then at interview it's changed completely

I do make up my mind within a few minutes though, I have to say

Good luck with yours flowers

breakingpointisnigh Wed 06-Jul-16 16:06:23

The role is very popular, I presume would attract many well-qualified candidates, and I would say is unlikely to be filled internally.

This thread is so interesting! And good to know yet also a bit scary that minds can be made up in the first few minutes Queen.

Vicki interviews are terrible for me too. I get wracked with nerves, I feel sick and I sweat buckets. However. I fake it til I make it. I think to myself, "if it's good I'll get the job and if it isn't good then I'll never see these people again" so it's easy for me to paint on the smile and do the eye contact and firm handshake! I also make sure I prepare and research well to try to minimise any nasty surprises. My greatest fear is being put on the spot with a question that I don't know the answer to. I have been known to make out a list of 200 potential questions and rehearse outline answers to all of them. blush

OurBlanche Wed 06-Jul-16 16:11:16

would like to add, as a shy introvert I do not present well at interview. As a curmudgeonly introvert myself, I nkwo what you mean. Which is porbably why my best advice is as above, smile nod, be seen to both listen and think... after that it will be your knowledge of the job that maters.

Don't make a list. When they ask question 201 you will be flummoxed. Research them... the company, its ethos, its customers.

I worked in a sports based college... 2 candidates thought sport was a waste of time as so few people 'made it'... they would have been teaching TeamGB members, kids with pro rugby, football contracts on the table, all sorts of high level juiniors about to go into the senior teams of all sorts of sports. They damned themselves with too little knowlege of us...

breakingpointisnigh Wed 06-Jul-16 16:17:26

One more question if I may.

If the interviews are to be spread out over a number of days, do you tend to see your 'favourite' candidate first or last?! Or is it really random.

breakingpointisnigh Wed 06-Jul-16 16:19:48

I think the list is a bit of a coping strategy really. I do get very very anxious in the run up and I suppose that's a bit of a crutch to help me feel more confident and prepared. The 200 was definitely a one off! And I do research like a ninja as well though grin

OurBlanche Wed 06-Jul-16 16:21:55

How we see them was a matter for HR... impartial and often just randomly shuffled or based on distance travelled. Never in any order of preference.

Slave2thecat Wed 06-Jul-16 16:27:41

The order you interview candidates in is random unless factors like anonymity for candidates is needed (ie you want them in early or late) or distance to travel, or internal candidates scheduls. Probably not by order of favourites though.

I'd say if you are facing an inexperienced panel being first or last is tough. First candidates panels might not get as much out if as they might not be used to working together and probing, last candidates they can be tired for.

WipsGlitter Wed 06-Jul-16 16:34:06

Interview times are random IME.

I do have ones I like the look of on paper but it can all go easily tits up at interview.

Good luck!

Effendi Wed 06-Jul-16 16:39:04

For my current they had 90 odd applications, interviewed 4, one of which was internal. I think I went 2nd on the day.
I also don't interview well, nerves, sweating, rambling etc. But I try to be sunny and smiley.

bombayflambe Wed 06-Jul-16 16:55:32

I only interview those who have the requisite skills /qualifications /experience on paper to do the job.
Thus if you make it to interview you stand the same chance as everyone else: the interview is more about personality, how you would fit with the team, if your way of working will fit.
Not every team member can be sunny and gregarious: it takes all sorts, and there is no way of knowing what they need on the day so be yourself: after all you wouldn't want to work in a place where you didn't fit in either would you?

AdultingIsNotWhatIExpected Wed 06-Jul-16 18:06:57

I have a friend who I know was hired over someone else I know who was better qualified BECAUSE she was an introvert and just gets on with her work and doesn't spend all day gossiping and also everyone who had previously worked with the other candidate found him super annoying

She doesn't interview well, but the role involved not pissing other people in the room off and getting on with your own tasks… so she was perfect for it

Chewbecca Wed 06-Jul-16 21:49:14

- one candidate might look better on paper but experience tells me that doesn't necessarily lead to being in the lead after interview at all
- I like 3 interviewees for one role. Never hired for 4 the same
- interview order is random, I give HR a list of who to schedule interviews with, no preference is indicated at that time

Very best of luck! You sound passionate which is a great start.

Brokenbiscuit Wed 06-Jul-16 23:29:46

If the interviews are to be spread out over a number of days, do you tend to see your 'favourite' candidate first or last?! Or is it really random.


OP, don't worry about the nerves. I do a lot of interviewing and it's completely normal to be nervous. We understand and make allowances for it - remember that the interviewers will all have been on the other side of the table at some point or other.

Also, if they ask you a difficult question, don't panic. Ask for a bit of time to think, or get them to clarify the question if you're not clear what they're getting at. As interviewers, we are categorically not trying to catch you out, and one duff answer isn't necessarily going to cost you the job. We really want candidates to relax and show us their strengths. There is nothing more depressing than sitting through a day full of bad interviews!

If you've got to the interview stage, you're probably doing really well. I received around 120 applications for the last post I advertised and only interviewed a handful.

I do agree with a previous poster though, the decision is usually made very early on in the interview - I can generally tell after the first or second question if someone is doing well or if they're not quite right. On the positive side, most interviewers start with fairly straightforward questions to ease people in, so you have a good chance to make a good impression!

WipsGlitter Thu 07-Jul-16 07:34:03

As an interviewer I print out the questions and have them on a page in front of the candidate so they can refer to them. Helps avoid the "can you repeat the question" nightmare.

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