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Imagine the situation, you’ve applied for lots of jobs and finally got an interview with the company of your dreams. The problem is that you’re daunted about the type of questions they will ask, worried you’ll fluff the answers and come across as unprofessional or unknowledgeable.

But what about if the company generously gave you the job interview questions before your interview? Would that be helpful, or is that just making everything too easy?

Well that’s the issue being currently debated because John Lewis has recently published job interview questions for all roles on its website. It’s a bold move. One that the retailer hopes will make the process more neuroinclusive, enabling them to accommodate different needs and preferences, which will contribute to building a more diverse and talented team.

What’s the purpose of an interview?

Whilst many other businesses may think that the purpose of an interview is to discover who can think on the feet best, during what may be a highly pressurised job interview, John Lewis believes that this change to its interviewing process will give them the best chance of finding the right person for the role, because applicants will:

  1. Have time to reflect, plan and organise their thoughts in advance
  2. Feel more comfortable and confident, during the interview
  3. Be less waffly and anxious
  4. Treat the interview more like a conversation, than a scary interrogation
  5. Not feel as if they are being put in a situation where they will be caught out

Obviously, the interview questions are specific to each role, but examples of the more generic ones that applicants would be asked include:

  • How they would respond to differences of opinion in a team
  • How they would build a rapport with a new colleague
  • Talk about a time when they came up with a creative solution to a problem

But it’s not all about giving applicants all the answers as John Lewis were quick to point out. They admitted that they would also ask further follow-up questions, which applicants would not be provided with. This was to give interviewers a sense of whether their answers were ‘authentic and based on real experiences.’

Staff engagement and retention

According to other organisations who have done this process, they have seen an improvement to their recruitment processes, because it also people to relax and get across the best version of themselves. This has resulted in a high calibre of candidates and an extremely low staff turnover.

Caroline Robertson of ActifHR said. “If an applicant makes it through to the interview stage, the company already acknowledges that they have some relevant skills and experience. Interviews are not about catching anyone out. They are an opportunity for both parties (interviewer and applicant) to see if they like what they see and hear.”

Caroline continues. “Giving applicants the questions beforehand has many advantages. Not only does it create a level and fair playing field, but it can also show prospective applicants that you’re empathetic, making your organisation stand out for all the right reasons. Whatever you decide to do for future recruitment campaigns, you must always ensure that the process is transparent. Applicants to know what the structure is, what the timelines and what else is involved. Surely giving them specific interview questions is just an extension of this?”

How I can help

For advice and support when it comes to tailoring your recruitment process for greater levels of success, please email caroline.robertson@actifhr.co.uk