Interviewing! The good, the bad and the downright ugly – Part One

By Lucy Allen of Trifecta Consulting Services

I talk on my LinkedIn page about the need for appropriate training for hiring managers in business and the difference it can make to a company’s brand, growth and culture?  I thought in this article I would put some “meat on the bones” so to speak.

So why is it so important to rethink our approach to what has been considered one of the untrained fundamentals of any employee who climbs the corporate ladder, from the MD all the way through the structure, any role which requires recruitment of either their replacement or a whole team?  I believe every hiring manager wants to find the best candidate they can but is this happening with the frequency it should?

Interviewing is a skill, something you research, something you learn over time and with additional skills such as knowledge of psychology, body language, and micro gestures you can hone into a true talent.  In a recent poll which asked “How skilled at interviewing are most of the interviewers you’ve met” out of nearly 9000 votes, 71% of you said “not very skilled to be honest”. Truly troubling, but also demonstrates improvements should be made.

In my career I have interviewed, conservatively, 10-12,000 people. I have recruited for all the business categories and sectors. I enjoyed a 100% success rate in my entire career. I was invited by one of my employers to assist with all in-house training for new recruits. I worked directly with the Chairman of a major UK business to re-engineer their recruitment process in a struggling division with great success.  I’ve also extensively studied all of the additional skills I’ve listed above.  It’s safe to say I know what I’m talking about.  Check out my profile on LinkedIn.

I would like to start with some of the basics, I say basic, but be honest with yourself if you are innocent or guilty of any of these?


Have you ever run into an interview with the candidate’s CV in your hand and when you sit down this is the first time you actually read it properly?  This is an absolute no-no.  Not only are you unprepared and it will show, the questions you ask will be unstructured, thought of on the fly and lack substance.  On the flip side, you will not get the best out of the candidate either when you’re distracted flicking through a CV looking for the next question.

Always allocate 20 mins ahead of the interview to prepare.  Go through their background and highlight any salient points you want to discuss to assess their ability to perform the role.  Speak to the recruiter, if you are using one and get their take on the candidate and if they have any areas, they think you should concentrate on, that’s what they are there for. Also write several questions to explore how the candidate aligns with your culture and values, this is so important.

The result – You will be engaged with the candidate.  You hear more of what they are saying.  The conversation will flow in a more organic way.  You will be making eye contact, rather than looking down, no one likes talking to a forehead.  When you don’t make eye contact naturally people think you are not listening.  Look at every interview as the one that could get away.  On the flip side, if they are not, you will also know pretty quickly!


Hands up who is guilty of asking the same questions, or a variation thereof in every interview?  Whilst doing my research before starting Trifecta I came to be interviewed by a senior director in a global company who had interviewed me 10 years before.  I kid you not, it was like an interview Groundhog Day.  The same questions (I have a very good memory), in the same order with little to no enthusiasm.  The person in question hadn’t taken the feedback from the recruiter and didn’t know my background and was woefully unprepared.  It’s little wonder this company struggles with recruitment and retention.

When interviewing, be enthusiastic!! It’s infectious and YOUR approach sets the tone.  Research has shown nearly 40% of everyday speech is spent telling others how we feel, think or detailing our day-to-day lives.  So be engaged.  Ask questions and follow up questions, curiosity makes you likeable and you open up to people you like, so you will be able to assess the candidate in front of you much faster, saving you time.  The psychological effect and lasting impression for the candidate and how they associate you will be enthusiastic, engaging and curious about them, rather than coming out of a meeting feeling floored, ignored and bored.

This is one of my favourite subjects and the tip of the iceberg for the methodology I’m working with, but there is a word limit for this article and I’ve hit it!  Talk to me about this, it’s so important that you do.

Contact Lucy Allen @Trifectaconsultingservices or fill out the enquiry form on the GCR website.