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17th May 2011

It's the recruiting season again here at Oxford Web, and I'd like to share with you some little secrets we've picked up over the years, which can make the difference between hiring a useful member of the team, and hiring someone you immediately want to get rid of.

1. In the interview, set the prospective employee a task that is as close to or equivalent to the real job as you can get.  It's surprising how many people don't do this.  Perhaps your candidates don't expect it - but they can hardly complain!  If it's something like design, you could ask your candidate for a portfolio, or to prepare something for the interview, or to talk about their web design process.

2. Hold multiple interviews.  Impressions are often made in the first few seconds, but remember too that first impressions can be wrong.  Have your second interview somewhere different.  Having met you already, your candidate should be more relaxed and you should be able to get closer to the real person.  If you haven't yet formed a complete picture, say so and ask to see your interviewee again.

3. Ask open questions.  Questions with yes/no answers or specific 'right' answers won't allow you to see much of your candidate's thinking.

4. Follow up references. You should have made your judgement on the candidate's interview performance, but a glitch in a reference may help you to avoid a big mistake.

5. Finally, have a probationary period.  Your contract should state the terms of the probationary period, which is effectively a 'get out' clause for both you and the candidate if things don't work out.


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