Improving the interview experience
25 April 2019
This article was featured in the May 2019 issue of the magazine.
Charles Hipps, chief executive officer at Oleeo, provides advice
The recruiting process can be long and tedious, especially if you are stuck trying to figure out how to manage the interview process successfully.
Every candidate dreads the job interview. They’ve snuck away from their current position, dressed to impress and sat in a room doing their best to please one or several people who hold the power to hire them. They have made it this far, so you must be interested enough to meet them in person. In this period of time, the game begins. You ask the tough questions to weed out those who would not be good to hire.
Interviews are crucial to recruitment strategy and it’s important for both candidates and recruiters to have the best interview experience. Technology can help automate the process, simplifying and accelerating the time it takes to get from the initial application to the interview, but to find better hires faster you’ll need to know how to properly manage the high-volume interview experience.
There is an unspoken truth that makes interview planning important – no one is good at conducting job interviews. Indeed, the judgements made within the first ten seconds of a job interview could predict the outcome of the interview. So, here’s some tips to avoid that pitfall.
Before: prepare for the interview – Before you can begin preparing for the interview, get the job advertisement right. The description of what type of candidate you want, along with skills and experience, needs to be specific. After you have reviewed the candidate’s submission and picked the talent you want to interview, you can begin the process to align the candidate with company culture. Come up with key questions to ask each job candidate. If you ask each candidate different questions, it will be hard to determine which one would be a better hire than another.
It will also be beneficial for you to not schedule interviews back to back, but rather to space them out. This will give you time to think about each possible hire, as well as help to not confuse one with another.
...the first ten seconds of a job interview could predict the outcome...
During: focus on what matters most – Recruiters used to only care about skills and experiences, and while those are still relevant, personal attributes and culture fit play more of an important role. Personality can be a good predictor of short-term and long-term success at a company. During the interview, hiring managers need to focus on what matters most to them. Make sure you go through an overview of the role the candidate has applied for. Asking tailored questions to showcase their personality will positively add to the interview experience.
It will also be beneficial to have one in-person interview. It already takes an average of 42 days to fill an open position. Because of this, you might want to do a phone interview before the in-person one, but several in-person interviews are unnecessary. If the candidate didn’t impress you the first time, chances are they won’t have anything new to show in a second in-person interview; likewise, if the candidate really impressed you, there’s no reason to double-check in another in-person interview.
To ensure the best interview experience for both the recruiter and candidate, outline the job first and foremost, focus on abilities relevant to the position, and ask tailored questions to get a good grasp of their personality.
After: recap the interview – With the interviewing done, you can move to the next step in the recruiting process: hiring the best talent before the competitor. It is likely that the same candidates your company is interviewing have also applied for a similar position at a different company. At this point in time, you probably have something known as ‘the maybe pile’ (i.e. the pile of candidates’ CVs or resumes of those who you maybe want to hire). It is time to make a decision and secure your talent.
Right after the interview, recap with your team. This way, you don’t forget or miss anything about the candidate. Take the time to learn from what went well and to improve other aspects.
It is unprofessional to not give candidates a reply, so make sure you not only give your best candidates a job offer but also cue in the other candidates as to why they didn’t get the job. This will overall improve the candidate experience with your company. After all, 80% of executives thought the experience was very important. For the best interview experience, recap right away, make an informed decision on the best talent and let all candidates know where they stand.
Managing high-volume interviewing is not always a breeze; but taking the time to do what you need to do before, during and after the interview can create a great experience for both the recruiter and job candidate.