How Do You Help Your Interviewees Succeed?

In: BlogDate: Mar 30, 2022By: Henry Stewart

Last year, Happy held our first recruitment for online facilitators. As we always do in our interviews, we avoid asking questions and get people to do what they would do in the role.

After a disastrous first round of interviews, find out how Henry and the team set up their interviewees to succeed in this blog.

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In job interviews, if you ask questions you recruit people who are good at answering questions. If that is not part of the job they will do, it's a waste of time.

You wouldn't ask a footballer to tell you how they performed well as part of a team or an actor to tell you what makes them a great actor. You would watch them play or watch them act.

In this case it meant getting them to facilitate online sessions. That’s the job.

It did not go well, with very limited engagement of the learners.

After initial frustration with the candidates, I realised it was our fault.

We had not made clear how we do things differently, how we make our Zoom-based online events as engaging as real life. We hadn't explained the difference that is the Happy magic.

And how would we expect them to know?

So the second time around, we decided to do it very differently. We chose a long list of candidates and offered them all, around 30 people, a one hour session from me on how to make Zoom truly interactive.

I am not a fan of shortlisting. I remember my accountant telling me how they were having difficulty recruiting great candidates.

I asked how many people had applied for the last position. They said 190. I asked how many they had interviewed? "Six."

"So," my response was "if you only interviewed 6, how do you know how talented the others could be?"

Normally you shortlist according to how well somebody has filled in a form. Again, that is only a useful exercise if the job involves lots of filling in of forms. Few do!

Afterwards we invited the applicants to give 8 minute facilitations in groups of six. We then chose from the long list, but based on how well they'd learnt from my session and their potential to be great online facilitators.

We always invite applicants in groups so we can see how they interact with others. One of our key criteria is that people are positive and supportive of others and I have no interest in asking people 'when have you been positive and supportive of somebody?'

Providing that initial training session made such a difference. Every single session, this time round, included some element of good interaction.

And whereas the first set of interviewees left frustrated, this second set are positively buzzing about Happy:

  • "Even if I don't get through, I have learnt so much."
  • "I've been telling all my friends about this company that actually helps you do well in the interview."

Some key points here about how we seek to do recruitment at Happy:

  1. Don’t ask questions
  2. Interview in groups
  3. Make it an enjoyable experience for the applicants
  4. Get people to do the job, rather than talk about doing the job.
  5. Above all, don't leave candidates to guess what is needed. Make it absolutely clear what you are looking for.

What do you do to help your interviewees succeed?

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Henry Stewart, Founder and Chief Happiness Officer

Henry is founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Ltd, originally set up as Happy Computers in 1987. Inspired by Ricardo Semler’s book Maverick, he has built a company which has won multiple awards for some of the best customer service in the country and being one of the UK’s best places to work.

Henry was listed in the Guru Radar of the Thinkers 50 list of the most influential management thinkers in the world. "He is one of the thinkers who we believe will shape the future of business," explained list compiler Stuart Crainer.

His first book, Relax, was published in 2009. His second book, the Happy Manifesto, was published in 2013 and was short-listed for Business Book of the Year.

You can find Henry on LinkedIn and follow @happyhenry on Twitter.

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