HRLegal Newsletter March 2022: Having trouble hiring? The key to successful interviewing

Welcome to the second edition of the HRLegal Newsletter. This monthly collection of focused features seeks to keep readers abreast of all updates in the quickly developing world of human resources and employment law. As we enter a new world and way of working, HRLegal is at hand for all advice in relation to all things people and HR. Our responsive and personable team of experts are available by phone, email and via our social media channels for any support they can provide.

Read on for explainers and features compiled by our experts, Una Clifford, Bláthnaid Evans and James Condon. For more on how we can assist your business, visit

Having trouble hiring? The key to successful interviewing

James Condon, HR Business Partner

In this edition of the HRLegal Newsletter, we are expanding on one of our recent social media posts which provided some tips on how businesses can improve their interview process. The interview process has become hugely important given the competition for talent as many employees now see this a window into the internal workings of their future employer. HRLegal has seen a major increase in clients looking to improve their interview structure and as a result, we have complied some tips that are easy to implement and will almost certainly be of benefit.

Be clear on what the business needs

HRLegal always advises clients to be very clear on what the business needs when looking to hire a new employee. Time and time again, we see many businesses focusing more on what they would like rather than what they actually need. ‘Successful’ interview processes generally start with the boring and tedious stuff such as taking the time to do a needs analysis, evaluating the skills gaps within the current team and drafting an accurate job description. When we look to define ‘successful’, we generally measure it by first looking at conversion rates from offer to acceptance and then feedback data from both managers and the employee over a period of at least 6-12 months post hire.

Many businesses tend to jump straight into the hiring process and tend to look past the importance of these tasks. Take for example the creation of a job description. In a lot of businesses, this task is done as a tick the box exercise in order to the get a role posted online or out to the market. In this case, very little thought goes into what responsibilities and skills are being listed and usually a very generic description is provided. Successful interview processes seem to always include a tailored job description and a very clear understanding from the interview panel on the most desirable skills for that role. It is important to note that such skills are not just technical skills and often do look at the soft skills of the desired candidate also. In summary, businesses should be very clear on the role and the profile of person you want before commencing interviews. Have a detailed idea of what you would consider the “perfect candidate”.

HRLegal has also seen that taking the time to carry out the above pre-process tasks can increase the calibre of applications and allows for better targeting of desired candidates. The risk of attrition in the first 3-6 months can also be reduced as tailored job descriptions can give candidates a better insight into what will be expected of them.

Be clear on your process

Additionally, businesses need to get the structure of the interview process right. HRLegal regularly comes across clients who either have too much or too little structure with regards to how they carry out their interviews. The key to a successful process lies in ensuring that the structure you have in place gives you what you need to make an accurate and informed decision and nothing more. Businesses that have very little structure tend to make quick decisions based on subjective information or on gut instinct and this frequently brings about issues in the longer term. On the other hand, we have seen a rise in businesses using up to 6 rounds of interviews for low to middle level roles. Using an interview process with multiple rounds and meetings with various stakeholders can result in large numbers of candidate dropouts and conflict/indecision between interview panel members. Businesses need to clearly identify the key stakeholders for the position and incorporate them as efficiently as possible into the structure.

HRLegal would suggest focusing more on the questions asked and on the detail of how interviews will be structured. A very useful tip in this regard is following the 80:20 rule – allow the candidate to do 80% of the talking. Listening is much more useful for interview panel members. The biggest focus for businesses should be on ensuring they have a well-trained interview panel, that asks suitable questions (within the confines of the law) and an objective way of assessing candidates. On one final note on structure, the increased awareness on neurodiversity means that businesses should assess whether their process is inclusive. The rise of inclusivity with regards to recruitment processes is vitally important and business should examine their interview structures to ensure they for cater for equal opportunities.

Don’t forget the branding opportunity

Remember, an interview is also a branding opportunity. Many businesses tend to forget this and miss out on valuable opportunities to promote themselves to a wider audience. The importance of providing feedback to unsuccessful candidates is hugely important and often forgotten about. The focus of many businesses usually centres on the chosen candidate(s) and not on the rest of the applicants. Forgetting about the unsuccessful candidates is a big mistake as they are generally the ones to post online or talk to friends about their experience with your business. The successful candidate will generally have a rose-tinted view of the process! A simple exercise of regretting all unsuccessful candidates with a basic generic response can be very beneficial.

If your business is looking to improve its interview process or would like to discuss any of the items mentioned, please visit

Above: Our guest speaker Tricia Herberle is introduced by HRLegal Co-Founder Bláthnaid Evans.

International Women’s Day 2022

Thank you to all of our subscribers, clients, followers and friends who attended our special event, hosted with Leman Solicitors, “#BreaktheBias: Women at Work”, featuring a fascinating talk by Tricia Heberle, chef de mission of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Tricia shared insights into her role, project-managing the number one largest sporting event amidst a pandemic, with the audience over wine and canapes in the fabulous Mayson Hotel in North Wall Quay.

Above: The audience shares a toast with our team and guest speaker to women everywhere!

Quick clicks

Social media is a great way for HRLegal to engage with HR-related conversations globally and brief our followers with explainers on the more perplexing, intriguing, or newsworthy issues on the topic. Have a look at some of our latest social media updates:

We’ve talked about interviewing; the next step? Onboarding: a process just as important. See our key tips to onboarding a new starter here.

Did you know that Ireland’s gender pay gap legislation was signed into law on July 13 last year? The new law comes with new reporting obligations for Irish employers. Find out more here.

What should an employer do if an employee is absent with illness during their probationary period? Being mindful of your action here could save you from a claim of disability discrimination… Our experts provided some advice to our social media, here.

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