Recruitment Advice: Tips for creating an inspiring interview process

Recruitment Advice: Tips for creating an inspiring interview process

The recruitment process is complex, but it doesn’t have to be. How do you identify the right approach to improve your business’ efficiency while ensuring recruitment is inclusive, diverse and effective? In our recruitment advice series, you can get the answers direct from the MDS experts with over 37 years of experience in industry recruitment and trusted by 60+ agri-food, horticultural and supply chain businesses.

We caught up with Talent Acquisition Officer Tom, before he started the MDS leadership programme, to find out what employers can do to create an engaging recruitment and interview process that inspires candidates.

A good interview process is vital to any business, as it highlights your company’s strengths and exposes the candidate to varying working styles. With online platforms like Glassdoor opening the door for job seekers to assess employers more easily, a poor impression can have dire consequences. Ideally, you want candidates to walk away feeling inspired and to want to work with your business. With candidates attending an average of 4 to 5 different interviews before they can get to final stages, there is high competition for employers. It’s vital to leave candidates with a good impression. If they have another round of assessment centres coming up, you want them to consider your business as the best.

Want better candidates for your business? Here are three easy steps you can take to find the best employees for your business while developing your reputation as a desirable employer:

First Impressions

  • An excellent first impression is crucial. You want candidates to feel informed and confident to start the assessment centre and inspired to participate.
  • We start our assessment centre with a presentation from the team to give the candidates time to settle into the virtual call while giving them a deeper insight into the programme. This aims to get the candidates excited for a career with MDS while ensuring they have fully considered what the programme will entail.
  • We clearly communicate what we are looking for and highlight that although the candidates are in a competitive process, they are not in competition with each other. Candidates are given the opportunity to take note of what we are looking for in terms of competencies and context on how they might display such competencies.



  • Being transparent about what candidates can expect from a career with your business is hugely beneficial. Maintaining honesty on culture and working life from the outset can improve retention rates and ensure you find the best fit employees for your business. A great way to do this is by allowing candidates to speak to current employees.
  • Before the group task portion of our assessment centre, we facilitate a Meet the Trainee Q&A session. This gives candidates an open forum to hear directly from our employees on the positive experiences and challenges that Trainees can face on the programme.
  • This gives potential Trainees an honest insight into life with MDS.


Finding potential

  • Group tasks are a great way to see how potential employees react to real-life scenarios in a team environment.
  • Our group task is about finding candidates with the potential to lead, not seeking out the finished product. Previously our assessment task entailed a business planning exercise where candidates would work on a 4-hour Apprentice-style planning exercise to be assessed on their final 15-minute group presentation. We altered this to allow a range of different candidates the opportunity to showcase their individual skills.
  • Our updated group planning exercise is an operational brief linked to the industry. It allows our recruitment team to drill down into different competencies like teamwork and the ability to deal with stressful situations. Candidates have the opportunity to work on the task individually and then collaborate to bring solutions to an observed group discussion. Not only can we use this to identify potential Trainees, but we can also use it to identify different types of people and which areas they need to develop.
  • It’s important to utilise multiple forms of assessment to bring out the best in a range of candidates. We still operate a more traditional 1:1 form of interview to conclude the day, but we use this to supplement the group task rather than as the primary assessment mode. If used correctly, businesses can use this to dig deeper into the decision-making of individual candidates. In our experience, many candidates will highlight where they could have improved in the task, which shows self-awareness. The candidates who are quieter in a group setting may come out of their shells in a 1:1 environment.

Conclusion: Review and improve

There is no one size fits all to your recruitment strategy and interview process, but hopefully these assessment tips will help you in your efforts to improve performance.

Ultimately, the most effective recruitment strategies embed continuous improvement into their processes. At MDS, we ask candidates to complete a feedback form to find out how we can improve and develop. This continuous improvement mindset has enabled us to support the leadership pipeline of the food industry for over 36 years.

Want to find out more about how we can support your business’s recruitment needs, please get in touch!