In a word, no!

For those that did not watch it, this week’s episode of The Apprentice featured the remaining candidates being subjected to a series of in-depth interviews. A number of take-away lessons can be learnt by HR practitioners as the style and content of those interviews was not what you would want to see in the workplace. For example, there was a lot of probing around family and personal details, such as parents and children. Potential employers would be wise to steer away from such topics to avoid potential allegations of discrimination. Another example was the fact that many of the candidates were reduced to tears following their grilling. The Apprentice interviewers are renowned for their tough interview style but would this type of experience put candidates off joining the employer in the real world?

However, there were some good bits too. For example, a number of different interviewers were involved in the process. This means there should hopefully be a more objective and non-discriminatory recruitment process. Another example is that they called out a candidate misrepresenting her academic qualifications. Often this might not be discovered at the interview stage which is why it is important for employers to remember to make any offer of employment subject to any checks that they need to make, particularly where a specific qualification is a requirement of the job.

So what makes a good and fair interview process? Here are some pointers:  

  • Ideally you would have more than one interviewer.
  • Ensure that interviewers understand their responsibilities and are appropriately trained, for example, in equal opportunities.
  • Ensure there is no conflict of interests (such as where the candidate knows the interviewer).
  • In advance of the interview process, ensure that interviewers have agreed the weight to be given to each of the assessment criteria.
  • Interview questions should be relevant to the job that you are recruiting for.
  • Ask the same questions to all candidates to ensure consistency of treatment.
  • Avoid asking irrelevant questions that relate to protected characteristics (such as family plans, their ethnicity or sexual orientation).
  • Remember to make any reasonable adjustments for disabled candidates.
  • Interviewers should think carefully about the impression that they create. After all, an interview is a two way process as the candidate is finding out about the organisation too.