SME Recruitment is a continuing challenge to get right. The job interview remains your key tool in assessing the candidate’s cultural fit. It is also the tool you can use to get to know your candidates on a more personal basis. The interview process helps other employees get to know the candidate.  The Recruitment Alternative will only give you the best candidates to go forward for a formal interview. Preparation is the key.SME Recruitment

Want job interview tips to help you select the most qualified employees? These tips will help you assess the skills, experience, and cultural fit of your potential employees. The job interview is a powerful factor in the employee selection process in most organizations. While it may not deserve all of the attention that it receives, the interview is still a powerful force in hiring.


  1. Have your questions ready – they should be written down and relevant to the position and the competencies required  – make notes.
  1. Tell candidates that you are going to take notes as they talk so that you will have accurate information to refer to later. It is important to record actual answers to questions as opposed to evaluative or conclusive comments. You may record observations of non-verbal signals as long as they are recorded factually and not as conclusions.
  1. Ensure you use the same technique with each candidate asking the same questions and recording their responses
  1. Ask questions about real life work situations and how they would or did handle them, and what the outcome and results were
  1. You may want to ask candidates to be prepared to perform a “work sample” test – to operate relevant machinery or to answer questions on paper.
  1. Try to have a second person with you during the interview as this will allow a second opinion when you compare notes at the end of the session
  1. Do not offer a candidate the role on the spot….always say that you will get back to the agency and they will be in touch.
  1. Allow yourself adequate time

The Recruitment Alternative have additional resources to help SME’s with the Interview process. Check out our web page for “great interview questions to ask the candidates”.

The Recruitment Alternative recruitment solutions extend to every city within New Zealand. Working in major cities near you in –  Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and & Australia.

So whether you’re looking for a Junior Administrator or a Senior Accounts Manager The Recruitment Alternative can help you.

We want you to know “budget recruitment to suit your budget is our business!”

Finally,  Click here to contact us now or call 0800 587 546 for a quick response!

5 Reasons to Treat Your Candidates Like Your Customers

Respect Your Candidates in the Recruitment Process
Respect your Candidates when you Recruit!

During the interviewing and recruitment process, it is really important to treat potential candidates in the same way that you would treat your customers. The recruitment market in New Zealand cities like Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington is competitive and you really can’t afford to not make a good impression every time you deal with someone!

What this means is: respond punctually, be respectful, and help candidates grow through feedback even if you decide they are not quite right for your business.  Need to know why this is so important?

Here are 5 Reasons to Treat Your candidates Like Your Customers and why it is is fundamentally important to the success of your business:

You are selling your business

To your customers, you are selling a service or a product. To a candidate, your business is the product. Recruitment consultants and Marketers have very similar jobs — to demonstrate that a product is exciting and unique by communicating exactly what the product is and promoting interest in it. Whether or not the candidate is employed, recruitment consultants or your HR Department are still the first point of contact a candidate will make with your business. Make it really count by giving your recruiters the tools they need to do the best job they can do. Value their position in the business and the impact that they can make to the bottom line.

How you sell your business matters massively

Brand reputation is incredibly important. When you treat a candidate poorly during the hiring process, you lose the chance of making them a fan of your business and you lose the potential to make them a customer. What is more, word-of-mouth is to the power of 2,000 these days thanks to social media. Poorly handled recruitment strategies joined with an unhappy candidate who decides to send out an unhappy tweet or Facebook post about your company, can mean  really negative press for your brand. Be clear with your recruitment strategy, act respectfully and professionally. It is much easier to do this than to do damage control.

Your candidates will turn down job offers because of how they are treated during the recruitment process

Many candidates get the first idea of your business during the recruitment process and will be assessing during that time whether or not they want to work for your company. If your business does not express the appropriate amount of interest and concern for candidates during the recruitment process, that will obviously have a negative impact. In fact, it is the number one reason a candidate will turn down a job offer. Make sure you handle the interviewing process in a professional way and your hiring team will make sure that a candidate has less of a reason to turn down the offer should you decide to make one.

Treat Your Candidates with Respect in the Recruitment Process!

Treat Your Candidates Well!

Your timeliness matters

Candidates can be put off by an unprofessional or underwhelming recruitment process. For example, say a perfect candidate goes to your website and puts in their application, but doesn’t hear back for a month or longer about whether your business is interested or not. Believe us when we say they won’t waste their time waiting for your response—they will move on to the next company who is probably a competitor of yours. Situations like this are wasteful and should be avoided, especially if you’re hiring competitively within a precise demographic. You simply can’t afford to let a great candidate disappear because of an unanswered application. That is incredibly bad for business.

You truly have to treat your candidates like customers because your candidates are your customers.

Recruiting effectively is simply recruiting with respect. Do this always. Treat candidates like customers and you will gain respect, build relationships, and gain new ones. And you will  improve your reputation in the market with a simple strategy of respecting everyone that your company comes into contact with.   You have to set the standard high.

And if you use a recruitment agency treat the Recruitment Consultant with respect too –  respond punctually, be respectful, and help them to help their candidates grow through feedback even if you decide you don’t want to see the candidates that they submit because on paper they are not quite right for your business.  It is still your brand that they are promoting and taking a week to come back to a consultant after they have presented a short list does not show your business in a great light.

Work with your candidates, HR Team or Recruitment Agency in the right way and you will definitely make the right impression and ultimately hire the right employee.

Recruitment process tip sheet

tipsWhen you engage with The Recruitment Alternative, as part of our service we provide you with a tip sheet to help ensure you get the best out of your recruitment process, so you can employ the best candidate.

Here are some of those top tips below:

•        Most good candidates are actively seeking employment and want options, so be sure but be swift.

Whilst a candidate may be interested in your position, good candidates will not put all their eggs in one basket. They will be aggressively seeking to obtain interviews and will usually have more than one opportunity on the go at any one time.  If you find a candidate that you like, be thorough but move quickly, to ensure that you don’t lose them. The great majority of placements that fall through are due to the Client’s preferred candidate accepting another position because the interview process has been too slow.

•        Remember that an interview is an opportunity for both sides to make a good impression.

Whilst the candidate is there to be interviewed by you, they are also deciding if you are an employer that they want to work for. Be professional, positive and on time. Don’t forget: the really good candidates are usually in a position to choose who they want to work for so you need to impress them too.

•        When asking questions in an interview be prepared.

Always have your questions ready to go and remember that there are questions that you are just not allowed to ask. We are happy to offer advice around this topic if you need it, but questions about age, marital status, number of children, religion (to name a few) cannot be asked and leave you open to possible legal action.

•        If you make a verbal offer, stick to it.

A candidate will think you are unreliable and possibly untrustworthy if there are notable changes in the written offer compared to one discussed in a final interview. You don’t want to get to the very end of your recruitment process just to have to start again because your preferred candidate pulls the pin.

How to make a good impression on great candidates

impressionMaking a good impression on candidates at interviews is critical if you want to attract the best talent.

Many employers lose out on hiring a great candidate because they fail to make a positive impression on the candidate during the interview.

It’s important to realize that during the interview process candidates are forming judgements about you as a manager and the quality of your company.  No one wants to work for a bad manager or a company going nowhere.

In a candidate rich market this may not count for much because you can pick and choose from a large list of strong candidates. But in a candidate short market when you’re competing against other employers it’s critical that you make a positive impression, otherwise you may well end up with second or third best.

And don’t forget, by making a really good first impression you may even be able to hire a top tier candidate for less money.  There are lots of candidates out there who are willing to work for a bit less money if it’s the right company or manager!

Here’s what to do:

  1. Be prepared for the interview. Have your interview questions ready! Don’t rest on your laurels and assume your experience interviewing candidates over the years is enough. Don’t just make up questions as you go.  Candidates will notice.
  2. Avoid asking personal questions about the candidate’s private life.  Note: many personal questions are unlawful and you could end up getting reported to the authorities.
  3. Ask only relevant questions, i.e., questions about the candidate’s career past, experience, skills and knowledge.
  4. Ask questions designed to elicit the truth. For example, if a candidate claims that they achieved a certain task or accomplished a certain goal ask them HOW THEY DID IT?
    Here are some other effective questions:
    • What steps did you take to achieve that?
    • What were your major obstacles and how did you overcome them?
    • What were your priorities when working on that project?
    • How did you resolve issues with non-performing staff?
  5. Allow the candidate to ask you questions.
  6. Ensure your office and common areas are clean, neat and attractive.
  7. Avoid interruptions.  You cannot conduct a proper interview if you’re being interrupted.
  8. Be friendly and supportive during the interview. Smile, nod positively and encourage the candidates.
  9. Avoid talking about yourself.
  10. Don’t rush the interview.  Depending on the seniority of the role interviews should be between 30 mins to 90 mins.

Tips On Interviewing Candidates

preparedTip 1
Prepare your questions before the interview.
One of the worst thing you can do as an interviewer is make the questions up as you go. Shooting from the hip belongs in Cowboy movies, not the professional interview.

Tip 2
Ensure that your questions cover more than just skills. Many unseasoned interviewers focus their questions exclusively on the skill set of the candidate. However, it is also important that you get a feel for the candidate’s cultural fit. It is important to ascertain whether the candidate will fit into the existing culture of your team. See our Library of Interview Questions to help you with the sorts of questions you can ask.

Tip 3
Ensure a level playing field.
It is very important that you ask all the candidates the same basic questions. Asking candidates different primary questions will likely lead to some candidates being asked easy questions whilst others get stuck with the difficult ones.

Tip 4
Ask behavioural questions.
Behavioural questions are highly effective in terms eliciting the truth of a candidate’s response. They are designed to make candidates say what they did and how they did it in very specific ways; see our Library of Interview Questions for a large range of these type of questions. For example, instead of asking, “Tell us about your payroll experience”, you can ask, “Please take us through a step by step process on what you did to achieve the payroll run?”

Tip 5
Make the candidate as comfortable as possible.
Many candidates find the interview process daunting. Consequently, they tend to under perform and not provide a realistic insight as to what they’re really like. Taking 5 minutes at the start of the interview to make the candidate feel comfortable and relaxed can go a long way in achieving a better outcome. Avoid interviewing candidates if you’re in a terrible mood.

Tip 6
Treat all candidates with respect.
Never talk down to a candidate or treat them like second-class citizens – that includes allowing interruptions during the course of the interview. There’s a good chance that the best candidates won’t accept your job offer, what’s more they’ll bad-mouth your business to all their friends.

Tip 7
Allow candidates to ask questions.
Candidates will probably have a few questions of their own. Let them ask those questions and answer them as truthfully as possible, otherwise you may have problems down the track.

Tip 8
Avoid exaggeration.
In an effort to attract the best candidates some employers exaggerate the good things about their company or the job on offer. This is a recipe for disaster. You’re only succeeding in raising the expectations of the candidate only to have them dashed once they’re in the job.