How to avoid burnout when reading CVs and leading interviews

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    • 20th November 2019

    When you're looking for a quality candidate, reading CVs and conducting interviews comes with the territory. But over time this can become incredibly stressful, and leads to a dangerous overload situation.

    CV and interview burnout jeopardises your ability to hire new employees, or your next long-term agency team member. We’ve drawn on our experience as a creative recruitment agency in Leeds to highlight common scenarios and warning signs. We’ll also show you how to avoid interview overload and perform better in your job.

    Anyone can suffer from burnout during their work, though this comes with its own nuances. We’ve explored the impacts of actual burnout (and the solutions) in our earlier article on the subject. If you think one of your employees is struggling, or you’d just like to learn more about burnout, why not give it a look?

    The likely scenario

    You want to grow your creative agency, or you’ve got a new client, and as a result you need a new team member. While you know the skillset you’re looking for, you’re dreading the hiring process—usually thanks to an automated CV system with too wide a net. This system means you’re overwhelmed with potential candidates, to the point you might miss a winner when they actually show up.

    shoal of fish underwater
    It’s easy to cast too wide a net during your CV hunt.

    To ensure you’re ready for this cream-of-the-crop candidate, use our tips to spot the signs of CV and interview burnout beforehand.

    1. You catch yourself skip-reading the CV

    Most of us skip-read; it’s a busy world, after all, and we want to get to the juicy details. Unfortunately, too much skip reading—or failing to focus—may mean you don’t recognise the abilities of someone right in front of you.

    2. You don’t have any candidate-specific interview questions

    A lot of creative agencies have a set of interview questions prepared for specific roles. However, the best agencies tailor questions to specific candidates, in order to better draw out their strengths.

    A solid approach is to mix questions based on the CV with questions on challenges your team members are currently facing. This helps you decide if a candidate would do well in your workplace. You can also ask some personality-based questions; these can reveal greater insight into the kind of person the candidate is.

    Always remember that an interview is a two-way process. As you’re assessing a candidate’s suitability, they’re assessing if you (and the role you’re offering) match their career ambitions.

    3. You can’t remember three things from the interview or CV

    After the interview, your manager or a team member might ask you about the person you just interviewed. If you’re struggling to remember at least three things off the top of your head, there’s two possibilities. Either the candidate didn’t leave any impression (hey, it happens) or you’re overloaded and your mind has switched off.

    blank sheet of paper with bulldog clip, pencil and sharpener
    Feeling blank after an interview can be a bad sign.

    If you’re struggling to candidate remember details on a regular basis, your ability to find the right candidate is seriously hampered. Your mind is suffering from information overload, and needs a break.

    The consequences of CV and interview burnout

    The most obvious effect of burnout is that candidate searches will become frustrating. As a result, you’ll either hire someone unsuitable, or even fail to hire someone altogether.

    Another, less obvious risk is that you’ll send out “bad manager” warning signs to your candidates. Remember what we said before; interviews are a two-way process. It’s easy for your own frustrations and stressful habits to have a knock-on effect on an otherwise ideal candidate.

    Bad manager warning signs

    woman looking at smartphone
    Interview time is also put-your-phone-away time.

    We know you aren’t a bad manager, but it’s easy to come across as one in an interview if you’re too stressed. Candidates will be looking out for their own warning signs; common ones include:

    • Checking your emails on your phone during an interview. Phones have no place in an interview room; you wouldn’t expect it from a candidate, and the reverse is also true.
    • You doing most of the talking. This comes across as self-absorbed, and deprives you of a crucial chance to learn about the candidate. Give them a chance to speak!
    • Making bad word choices. One thing candidates will be considering is how you motivate your colleagues. If you’re stressed in an interview, candidates might draw the wrong conclusions about your methods. Don’t make candidates feel like they’d have to walk on eggshells in your office environment.

    How to avoid CV and interview burnout

    All this sounds pretty scary, but there’s an easy way to prevent it from happening. The key is not to overload yourself with CVs; instead, optimise your candidate search to focus on the most suitable. Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially when the market belongs to the candidates, and time is against you. But it’s essential to take the time in order to preserve your own wellbeing and workplace performance.

    1. Take the time to profile your candidate

    Need someone fast? It’s natural to panic-search—or in dire scenarios, even panic-hire. This is a short-term solution at best and inevitably does more harm than good.

    Narrowing down a list of candidates is a fine art; you don’t want to miss out on a potential ideal candidate just because they fail to tick every box. A solid strategy is to decide which skills you really need to see, as well as the soft skills you want to see in an interview.

    2. Define what your agency can offer them

    Two men talking while sat at a table
    Always consider the impression you’re leaving on a candidate.

    For many candidates, the job hunt is a buyer’s market. That’s why you need to put yourself in a candidate’s shoes, and think carefully about what they want from a job position. By doing this you’ll be able to write a better job description; you can more clearly communicate what you want, and what you’re offering.

    Again, remember that two-way communication is essential. You’re always engaging with a candidate, rather than talking at them.

    3. Get the right recruiter on your side

    Imagine you’re hiring someone for an accountancy role. You’d need someone with accounting experience, right? Creative agency roles are no different, but automated recruiters can often end up muddying the waters.

    An automated recruiter picks up on CVs that have the keywords you’re looking for. The problem with this approach is that it lacks a lot of nuance. There’s no chance to properly understand your requirements, or those of the candidate. This means interview burnout is much more likely.

    Marketing agency recruiters can make this process easier. When it comes to creative recruitment there’s a broad range of possible roles, especially in the Leeds area. (Check out our article on creative roles for more info on the different possibilities.) With such a broad selection, you need to narrow down your search parameters; a creative recruitment agency in Leeds is a great way to do this.

    two men in an office looking at a laptop
    Consider a recruitment agency for stress-free hiring.

    Creative recruitment agencies have an in-depth understanding of the agency landscape. They also take time to understand their candidate’s ambitions, and they understand which skills are needed for a specific creative role. All this allows you to take some of the guesswork out of the recruiting process.

    4. Enjoy the interview

    Since you aren’t sifting through countless CVs, and you’ve a better idea of who to expect, you can conduct the interview properly! You’ll be more engaged out of the gate, and you’ll have had time to actually prepare for the interview in question.

    All The Right Questions

    While interview burnout is a concern, it’s not an insurmountable obstacle. The key is to filter out unsuitable candidates as soon as you can, and make time to understand the best options.

    We at Gloss have the skills you need to find your perfect candidates. We’ve got an in-depth understanding of both the creative and digital industries, with some of Yorkshire’s best talent in our ranks. We use our expertise to carry out careful, efficient searches that find the right candidates without missing anyone out.

    When we start working with a client, we take time to understand exactly what you’re looking for. We find matches that guarantee long-term success, and we’re so sure of our skills that we guarantee all permanent placements!

    Whether you’re a creative agency director, recruiter or in senior management, learn more on our Clients page. You can also ring us directly on 0870 3219 788.