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Interviews and making job offers

Taking on new members of staff can be a complex process. Conducting interviews gives you the chance to make sure you choose the most suitable candidate, but also to provide those seeking the role with information about the job and the business.

So with all the information you need and that you have to provide for candidates and the forms you need to fill in, where do you start?

Once you know when the interviews will take place and how they will be formed, tell the candidates. Give them clear instructions on location and times, as well as any tests they might have to do and how long you think the interview is likely to take.

As the manager of a small business, it is likely that you will be the main interviewer alongside any line managers or supervisors. If you don’t have any managers, but have people working in your business you might want those to join you so that you get another opinion – especially if they are to work closely.

Make sure you prepare for the interview by deciding what questions you are going to ask based on the job description, as well as general questions about the candidate. Also ask more probing questions to see how well suited they are to the role, and ensure you prepare questions specific to the candidate on gaps in their CV, for instance.

In the interview, start with questions that will ease the candidate in and help you get to know them. Then you can ask more detailed questions about the role and their skills. Ensure you thank the candidate at the end, tell them the process going forward and see if they have any questions. This will help you to see if they have got to grips with the role and done their homework on your business.

Make sure you write notes during and after the interview when the conversation is fresh in your mind, and try to keep an open mind about all candidates. If you have narrowed your list down, but still cannot decide, think about doing a second interview.

Once you have decided on who to recruit, let them know as soon as possible. Discuss salary at this point and any queries your new staff member might have. If they accept, follow up with a written letter to formalise the job and ensure to tell those that didn’t get the role once the position has been accepted.

For more information about the Federation of Small Businesses go to

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