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01 May 2024

Can pre-publicising interview questions lead to better recruitment?

Can pre-publicising interview questions lead to better recruitment?

In a recent move, John Lewis Partnership, the parent company of renowned retail brands John Lewis and Waitrose, has taken a bold step by publicly sharing the interview questions candidates may encounter during their recruitment process. This decision, outlined on their careers site, aims to make the interview experience less intimidating, empower candidates, and promote inclusivity within their hiring practices.

Under the leadership of Talent Acquisition Lead, Lorna Bullett, John Lewis Partnership aims to change the way recruitment is traditionally approached. By giving potential employees a sneak peek into the interview process, the company hopes to ease worries, especially among people with different ways of thinking, and ensure fairness for all applicants. Bullett explains, "We want the right people, from different backgrounds with the best talent to join our team."

The benefits of this approach are clear. Supporters argue that by letting candidates know what to expect in interviews, businesses can create an environment where candidates can share their experiences and skills confidently, helping recruiters make better decisions. Additionally, this transparency fits with the company's commitment to diversity and inclusivity, giving everyone a fair chance to show they're a good fit for the job.

Not everyone is convinced, however. Some worry that sharing interview questions in advance might make the process less genuine, with candidates researching and sourcing help from others to prepare rehearsed answers. This could make it harder for interviewers to see a candidate's true abilities and character. Others are concerned that it might disadvantage candidates who are good at thinking on their feet or solving problems quickly.

Lorna Bullett understands these concerns and assures that the interview process will still be thorough, with follow-up questions aimed at understanding the authenticity of candidates' responses. She says, "Interviewers can quickly tell if answers are real by asking more questions based on what candidates say."

The debate over sharing interview questions is ongoing. While supporters praise a new approach to transparency in recruitment, others worry it might affect the validity of candidate assessments. As recruitment practices continue to evolve, guided by fairness and effectiveness, the discussion sparked by this initiative serves as a reminder of the ongoing balance between tradition and innovation in finding the right talent.

KPI’s Head of Retail said, “It’s an intriguing move by JLP. The concern over pre-prepared answers to questions is legitimate but prior research also demonstrates that the candidate has good planning attributes. Pre-publicising questions could also give potential applicants an insight into the suitability of the role before the interview, engaging more of the right type of candidates and saving time on interviewing people who feel the culture isn’t for them.”

If your retail business needs help with recruitment, KPI’s specialist retail team can help. Call Fran or Lily on 01782 712230 or email FranW@kpir.co.uk