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WORK LIFE - CAREER TIPS

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How to become a great interviewer ...
How to become a great interviewer

The traditional council job interview with its panel of sombre suits is not necessarily the best way to find the right candidate.

According to interviewing expert Lucy McGee, such intimidating environments mean employers won't see the real person behind the candidate.

'The local authority culture tends to view the job interview as a test,' she says. 'It should be more of a mutual exchange - remember you want to find the right person for the job, so if it's a test you're on trial too.

'There's nothing wrong with the panel interview, but you need to ask the right questions,' she says.

Many job interviews fail because they concentrate too much on skills and experience, rather than motivation. Interviewers often don't have the right grasp of what the organisation's ethos is, so they don't know what kind of person will fit in well.

Ms McGee reckons most managers need training to find and keep the right staff.Employers should ask questions which force the person to draw on real life experience, rather than posing hypothetical queries. For example, 'what would you do if . . . ' won't get you anywhere. You need to say: 'Tell me about a situation where you . . . '

Most employers simply don't put the work in when they're recruiting. Some don't even read a candidate's CV before meeting them.

'Managers need an interview guide

before they start,' says Ms McGee. 'This will help them ask the right questions, to get around problems like motivational distortion - the very common practice of saying exactly what you think the employer will want to hear.'

Another absolute necessity, especially since new data protection regulations became law, is taking notes throughout an interview. If interviewees request them afterwards you have to make them available.

You don't want to find yourself in trouble because a) the notes are a blank piece of paper b) you were doodling throughout or c) you spent most of the interview writing unflattering comments about the c andidate's appearance.

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