Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Screening interviews done by interns and candidate experience

For some time now, companies recruiting interns has promised those students meaningful projects and the opportunity to assume responsibility. Ever since, brewing coffee has been labeled as the most ungrateful intern’s task ever and many companies, MNC and start-up alike, will address brewing coffee or actually lack thereof in their job adverts. See e.g. the one below by McKinsey.

Indeed, short of staff start-ups tend to entrust interns with quite a bit. One such task is interviewing candidates. The learning curve is steep and the responsibility huge. Then, interns can influence candidate experience greatly.

To ensure a positive candidate experience, HR department should not only train the interns in interviewing skills but also design the interview sequences right and manage candidate expectations appropriately. In particular, some techniques include:

* Plan the interview as a three stage process, interview questions asked by employer, questions asked by candidate and outline of the recruitment process.
* Prepare the list of frequently asked questions by candidates and answers and train the interns in answering them
* Encourage interns to inform you of new questions asked by candidates and consult with you on the best answers
* Continuously help interns improve their interviewing skills
* Select the right interns to do the job

Last but not least, leaders should keep in mind, that no matter how smart and well trained the interns are, they will be hardly able to engage in a discussion with the candidate. As a result, most intern screening interviews are one way questionings. Experienced staff may perceive them as unprofessional and may not feel appreciated accordingly as one recent candidate at Fab shared on kununu.

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