How to Run an Effective Interview Process
In this post we’ll give an overview of what businesses should be considering going into a recruitment process and in turn how to maximise what they get out of said process.
- Goal of the Process
- Job Description;
- Interview Process, Feedback and Testing
Goal of the interview process
The goal of most recruitment processes and in turn, the interview process are usually very similar:
- Identify the best person for a specific position;
- Evaluate candidates against a set of technical and behavioural criteria to remove as much uncertainty as possible;
- Make an informed hiring decision that will be the best fit for the specific role, overall business culture and the future employee;
From a hiring manager’s point of view a job description is very much like a cheat sheet in a timed exam at university. That is, it is the process of putting the job description together that yields the most benefit, rather than necessarily the end document.
Writing everything down and challenging each point is a great way to work out:
- What experience is absolutely essential for this position?
- What would be great to have, but could live without if the candidate is strong in other areas?
- What would be nice to have?
From a candidate’s point of view, it helps them:
- Understand what the job is and where it fits into the business;
- Identify potential areas of concern in their own experience;
- Identify growth potential within the job;
- Decide if they really want the job;
Most importantly, a job description allows you to, at least, start meeting the first two goals of the interview process.
One other point on writing a good job description is to consider your target audience. If the perfect candidate was reading it and knew nothing else about the position apart from what is included in the description, would they think it was a good opportunity?
Interview Process, Feedback and Testing
Unless you are recruiting a short term temporary position, my view is that for the majority of roles, running at least a 2 stage process is a good idea, and where possible have those interviews with a gap of a few days.
Putting space between the first interview and either an offer or a second interview is much like a cooling off period when you buy a car or a house. It gives everyone the opportunity to get comfortable with the decision and reduces any associated buyer remorse.
At each stage of the process, be that one or more interviews, you really need to:
- Assess candidate’s technical capability;
- Assess candidate’s organisational fit;
- Present candidates with the training and development opportunities of working for your business;
- Give candidates an insight into the working culture within the business;
Good candidates are in high demand so, if the place your work looks less like Google and more like a small accounting firm, you need to spend time making sure candidates know all the great things about working for your business and why it is better than the next best available alternative.
By the end of each round of interviews you should have a clearer idea of:
- Whether you could hire someone;
- What concerns, if any, you have about each candidate so you know what to focus on in future interviews;
What is equally important in the initial stages of a process is to relay timely feedback on to candidates regardless of if you are progressing with them or not, for the following reasons:
- Candidates who are exiting the process have set aside a considerable amount of time to meet you and giving them something to take away from the process will help ensure they exit with a positive impression of you and the business;
- Candidates who are progressing will make an effort to address the areas of concern and will alert you to experience they may have otherwise thought irrelevant;
- Giving candidates the opportunity to address areas of concern will give you more information to make a decision and in turn greater confidence in your hiring decision;
Psych testing is becoming more and more common and is done for a few different reasons:
- Personality test – to help determine the best management style for people;
- Numerical / verbal reasoning – helps hiring manager understand candidates problem solving ability;
There are others however those are the main ones.
Most businesses will complete the test at the end of a process to help understand how to best manage a future employee. For other businesses, performance on these tests are an excellent indicator of job performance so form a crucial part of the process.
If it is the former it is best to complete the test at the end of the process because you have for all intents and purposes made your decision. If it is the latter, save yourself some time and find a short, inexpensive test that you can put all candidates through with whom you are interested in meeting.
One final point is that if you are working for a less known business or if you are recruiting a junior position it is worthwhile considering getting candidates to meet 1 or 2 peer level staff to give them a better feel for the culture.
By having clear goals for each stage of the interview process, providing feedback throughout, allowing some time for people to properly evaluate the opportunity and running relevant tests at the right time you will:
- Give yourself the best chance of hiring the right person for the right position as well as minimise the chances someone will accept a job which they will resign from after 6 months.