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Great Interview Questions To Ask Candidates

Job InterviewJob board blogs are filled with ideas for questions to ask your interviewer when you are the candidate - it's an important part of any interview. But what about if you're the one doing the interviewing? HR professionals are often the ones asking the questions, either as part of candidate screening, or further down the recruitment process. It's vital to have a robust interview process, to make sure you select the best candidate for your organisation. So, here are a few of our favourite interview questions, all of which will help you find out what a candidate is really like...

Tell me (in 5 minutes or less) your first ever memory, and all the major points in your life that have brought you to this point.

This one obviously helps you to get to know your candidate's history. Yes, you know their employment history from their CV - but this question helps understand why they have worked in a particular job or industry, their reasons for leaving and reasons for applying to your vacancy, all within a few minutes.

If you were to meet a friend in 5 years time, what would you like to be able to tell them?

By asking this question, you're finding out what is important to the candidate - are they ambitious, with hopes they'll be talking about a recent promotion? What's their work-life balance like - do they only talk about work-related subjects here, or do they include aspects of their personal life too?

How do you measure success?

This is a great way to uncover what motivates an applicant. Do they judge their success in terms of money, happiness, praise from others, hitting targets? Does their answer fit with how you measure success in your team or business? If you do hire this person, you also know how best to manage them and get the best out of them in your team.

Describe your best boss, and your worst.

Another way to find out how best to manage your new team member when they come on board. You can compare their answer to the personality and style of the manager they will be reporting to, and therefore know how well (or otherwise!) they are likely to get on in the office. Knowing this in advance should greatly reduce the chance of a new-starter not fitting in with their team.

How would your best friend describe you in 5 words?

A short and snappy way to get the heart of your candidate's personality. The words they choose here will really show how they believe they are perceived, and give you plenty of insight into the traits they believe are most prominent in themselves. The only question is, does "good sense of humour" count as 1 word, or 4!

What Makes A Successful Job Advert?

Any HR professional is likely to have some recruiting duties at some point in their career, whether full-time as a Talent Manager, or as part of a more generalist position such as HR Advisor. As recruitment is a topic we know a thing or two about, here are our top pieces of advice to make sure your job adverts attract the talent you need...

Keyword SearchChoose The Job Title With Care

Don't get me wrong, I love an inventive job title. Who wouldn't want to be a 'Chief Experience Officer' or a 'Brand Evangelist'? However, when advertising your roles, whatever they may be, it's important to be straightforward with their titles. Remember candidates search for jobs as you would search in Google - by keywords. So all the excellent candidates searching for 'Marketing Manager' roles may never see your 'Brand Evangelist' advert, as they're unlikely to search by such an usual term.

Be Specific With Location

We're not saying you need to give the office address in your advert. However 'London' is a big place - and for those not looking to relocate it is off-putting to not know if a job is commutable before applying. So be specific, if the job is in Putney - say so! It benefits both parties - candidates don't waste time applying to a job they can't travel to, and you don't waste time screening them unnecessarily.

SalaryShow The Salary

We find that jobs with a stated salary receive 20% more applications than those that don't. So while it's tempting to leave it as 'negotiable' you could be deterring top talent from hitting the apply button! Be up front with your candidates - they'll appreciate your honesty, and if they're in demand that could be a reason for them to choose you.

Keep Concise

The most effective job descriptions are usually around 300 words long. Of course, a particularly technical or niche role may require a longer than usual job description - we're not recommending missing out important information! What we are suggesting is that you keep the details short and sweet, so candidates are fully informed as quickly as possible. Bullet points are a great way of getting across a large amount of attributes or responsibilities in a snappy way.

spell1Think About Your Presentation

A job advert is an advert for your brand, not just for the role. So make sure it looks the part! If you're uploading a logo, use a good quality image file (72ppi minimum) to make sure the image is crisp and clear. Separate your job description into clear paragraphs, and remember to spell check - you wouldn't be impressed with a typo in a CV, so advertise as you would like to be applied to! If you're recruiting for your company, make sure you check out the range of niche job boards in our group - we could have a specialist job board perfect for your needs.

The pitfalls of using LinkedIn to recruit

linkedinThe advent of social media is upon us and with words like 'twittering' and 'facebooking' fast becoming part of our national vocabulary, there are opportunities far and wide for businesses to make the most of social media channels for a variety of means. Marketing, networking and promotion are just a few ways in which the modern business is exploiting the opportunities these new communication channels have opened up, but what about adding something more concrete to our business plans via these new networks?

Recruitment of highly skilled and experienced employees via traditional channels can be a long, tiresome and often fruitless pursuit. Applications from piles of unsuitable candidates have to be sifted through and even after we have made our final shortlist, it is often the case that even these final few have some important shortcomings that deny their suitability for executive positions. Headhunting has always been a failsafe strategy, as long as you have the resources and know-how to find and effectively poach high performers from their existing teams, but with the introduction of the professional networking site, LinkedIn, this method of employee recruitment is fast becoming a popular tool.

New way of networking
LinkedIn is changing the way we operate our businesses across the world. Suddenly, business lunches and endless networking events are not as high on our agenda, as we strive instead to be 'connected' to those people who know the most about our industry and goals.

A completed LinkedIn profile gives us not only the person's current standing but also their CV in what is often an expanded and verified format. Recommendations from past and current employers, clients and colleagues lends a testimony to what the person can say about themselves and makes this social tool a viable forum for headhunting the crème de la crème for our own organisations.
» Read more: The pitfalls of using LinkedIn to recruit

What is Multiculturalism?

Pundits have been reacting to a speech by David Cameron in which the prime minister argued multiculturalism had "failed". But what do commentators actually mean by the term? This report from the BBC.

It is one of the most emotive and sensitive subjects in British politics.

But at times it seems there are as many definitions of multiculturalism as there are columnists, experts and intellectuals prepared to weigh into the debate.

The subject has become the focus of renewed scrutiny in the wake of a speech by prime minister David Cameron, in which he told a security conference in Germany that the UK needed a stronger national identity to prevent extremism.

In his speech, which has provoked a political storm, Mr Cameron defines "the doctrine of state multiculturalism" as a strategy which has "encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream".

This characterisation is not new. In 2004 Trevor Phillips, chairman of the the Commission for Racial Equality - now the Equality and Human Rights Commission - told the Times that multiculturalism was out of date because it "suggests separateness" and should be replaced with policies which promote integration and "assert a core of Britishness".

But is everyone who uses the term referring to the same phenomenon?

Read the full article.

Pensions jobs guide

Those in pensions jobs are working to manage, promote and administer employee pension schemes, and this includes a duty to educate staff members on the importance of saving for retirement. Nearly all major employers, both private and public, offer pension schemes to their employees, and a recent change in the law has meant that all employers must now provide a basic pension offering for eligible employees.

For this reason, pension jobs are an extremely important part of the strength of the economy, and the impact on many peoples’ lives.

There are a number of levels of job that can be worked in pensions jobs, which can be found in a range of different areas. These include:

• Pension departments of companies where the company’s own scheme is run.

• Benefits and actuarial firms are in place to give advice to businesses that have pension schemes.

• Specialist services are available as advisers and offer services like administration that is outsourced.

• Insurance companies where a lot of pension work can be found.

• Government agencies need an increasing number of experienced pension jobs workers.
» Read more: Pensions jobs guide

Payroll jobs guide

payrollPayroll jobs all have the same aim: to ensure all staff are paid their wages correctly and on time.

Jobs in payroll include payroll assistant, payroll manager, payroll co-ordinator, payroll executive and payroll specialist. These roles can either be found internally at an organisation, or at an external bureau that provides the services to companies.

Some of these jobs are quite specialist. For example, a payroll co-ordinator performs a variety of analytical, accounting and technical duties involving the analysis and execution of payroll regulations and laws. In this role, the payroll co-ordinator might be in charge of reviewing and importing employee time cards into the payroll system by the use of spreadsheets completed and approved.

If you looking for a payroll job see the following guide for more information.

An administrator level payroll job could entail:

•    Calculating pay

•    Calculating overtime and pay increases

•    Creating new staff records

•    Issuing P45s

•    Deducting tax and NI

•    Processing holiday, sick and maternity pay

•    General admin tasks like filing and typing
» Read more: Payroll jobs guide

Diversity jobs description

Equal opportunities in the workplace are overseen by personnel staff. Employers must meet certain legal requirements and adhere to legislative policies regarding discrimination and employees. This is where diversity jobs come in. If you are thinking about looking for diversity jobs , see this guide for more information about the type of work involved.

So what does a diversity job entail? Equality and diversity officers work with different equality strands such as gender, race, disability, age, religion and sexual orientation, in order to develop and promote good relations and practices towards these minority groups.

So the job of diversity officer may include ensuring the right mix of people are recruited across a large organisation. There may be a need for community work supporting people who experience some form of discrimination and delivering diversity workshops to communities, staff and volunteers. Many roles also involve the development, monitoring and review of policies and strategies designed to ensure organisations, staff and stakeholders engage with legislative duties.

Equality and diversity officers also ensure that everyone has equal access to services and they aim to stop any negative attitudes. In major companies, diversity officers may specialise in one particular area such as disability or race relations while those in smaller organisations may work across all the groups.

Diversity Job Aims

These types of equal opportunities roles are in place to eliminate all types of discrimination at work, starting with recruitment and following through to the duration of employment. Almost all public sector organisations require diversity jobs to be included in their staff, as the need grows and laws change. The private sector incorporates such positions to protect their staff and themselves.
» Read more: Diversity jobs description

Employment Law Jobs Guide

Employment law encompasses every possible aspect of employment in the UK and it is essential that a company sticks to it therefore jobs in employment law with companies are quite common and they involve ensuring that the company and the employee know their legal obligations and rights. To find out more about employment law jobs, read on. Employment Law Jobs
  • Everybody with jobs in employment law will be required to have undergone a legal or paralegal course (probably a degree) and have a full understanding on UK employment law. Large companies may have in house employment law jobs while smaller companies may just employ a third party employment law solicitor.
  • Those with employment law jobs will assist in drawing up employee contracts to outline exactly what is and isn’t expected of the employee and the employer with regards to pay, working hours, health and safety, benefits, company policies and equal opportunities etc.
  • Employment law jobs are not just focussed on drawing up company policies and ensuring that they are stuck to but people with jobs in employment law may also be expected to represent employees or employers with regards to conflict resolution and employment tribunals.
  • The large majority of employment law jobs however will involve advising all parties on their rights and responsibilities within UK employment law. Those with employment law jobs will need a degree or equivalent qualification as well as experience within the field of employment law.
  • The salaries for employment law jobs can vary. An entry level employment law job will pay anywhere between £30k and £50k per year depending on experience and location but senior employment law jobs can easily earn over £70k per year.
You can search for a wide range jobs in employment law here on Simply HR Jobs.

Health and Safety Jobs Description

Jobs in health and safety are a huge part of the modern workplace as more and more attention is placed on making sure that all employees and members of the public remain safe. The health and safety officer is the person that oversees the staff to ensure that policies are stuck to. To find out more about health and safety jobs, read on. Health and Safety Jobs  
  • A health and safety officer will be in charge of creating, implementing and monitoring all health and safety policies within the workplace to ensure that the workforce is at the minimum possible risk of harm. Those with health and safety jobs need to have a full understanding of all aspects of employment law and all relevant health and safety legislation.
  • In the event of an accident it is the responsibility of those with jobs in health and safety to carry out investigations and to decide whether further action needs to be taken. Large companies may have their own, in-house health and safety officer while others will outsource their health and safety jobs to a third party.
  • Those with health and safety jobs need to evaluate the workplace and decide where any potential danger could come from and then liaising with various managers to come up with a health and safety policy. Similarly, the health and safety officer will periodically review current health and safety policy in order to keep it up to date.
  • Jobs in health and safety need to be conducted in an organised and methodical way so these skills are important, as is the ability to be able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people. The health and safety officer will have to prepare reports on any accidents as well as reviews of health and safety policies.
  • Jobs in health and safety are also concerned with things such as fire drills, fire regulations, noise, substance and waste disposal and the safe installation of equipment. A health and safety officer will be expected to keep up to date on current legislation by reading journals, new legislation and attending seminars.
  There are a number of key entry requirements for the job of a health and safety officer including an NVQ level 4 in Occupational Health and Safety Practice. Some universities also offer relevant degree courses for jobs in health and safety. The average salary for health and safety jobs is anywhere from £25k - £60k depending on experience and position held. You can search for a wide range of jobs in health and safety here on Simply HR Jobs.

Pension cuts proposed for university staff

A quarter of a million workers at 400 universities, higher education colleges and associated institutions face cuts in their pensions. A range of changes to members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) are being proposed to cut a £17bn fund deficit. They include raising the pension age and increasing the amount members must contribute.
» Read more: Pension cuts proposed for university staff