How to conduct an effective interview process
The job market has gone a little crazy. Compared to last year, there’s now a surplus of jobs with many top candidates interviewing at multiple companies at once.
So, to help you quickly snap up the best talent on the market, we’ve outlined how to make your interview process that bit more effective while still allowing time to suss out if the candidate is right for your company - and vice versa.
1. Decide on your dream candidate first
Before you even think about starting your interview process, you need to decide what skills and personality you are looking for in a job candidate. Knowing what type of person you’re after ahead of time will ensure that you’re evaluating each candidate against the same criteria and stop you from second-guessing when it comes to making a job offer.
The last thing you want to do is change up the job spec in the middle of hiring or even restart your talent search because you were unsure of what kind of candidate you wanted.
2. Keep it short
An ideal interview process has only 2 interview rounds and 1 task, all of which should span over 1 to 2 weeks.
Why move so quickly? Job candidates (especially the good ones) are most likely interviewing at multiple places at once, so you’ll want to be the first to take them off the market. On top of this, keeping the process short and sweet leaves a great impression of your company as you’ll appear efficient and decisive. It also benefits your team to quickly bring in much needed help rather than dragging your talent search.
3. Have a set structure
Make sure to plan out what you want to share and get from each interview stage.
Generally, the first interview should be used to get to know the candidates and for them to get to know you. If this goes well and you feel that they fit in with the company culture, giving the selected candidates a task will ensure that they have the technical skills for the job as well as being a good character. When designing the task, figure out what you want to learn about the candidate and their way of working.
Note - tasks should have a short but realistic deadline with a clear goal to achieve that is relevant to the role.
The final interview is all about sealing the deal - figuring out which candidate is the best fit and selling the role, your company, and its culture to the max. After this, it’s now down to you to choose who makes the cut.
4. Communicate the interview process
Once you’ve decided on the interview structure and timeline, communicate this with your candidates. Clarity is key and this will save you from getting, and having to answer, a flood of emails from candidates asking for updates.
5. Introduce junior team members
This is particularly important when hiring graduate talent.
Introducing candidates to junior team members as well as senior leadership will give them a rounded feel for the company. Candidates will be able to see who they’ll work alongside and what life is like on all levels.
Give candidates the chance to ask junior colleagues questions as this can help inform their decision to accept or reject an offer from you later on.
6. Make perks and progression clear
The power of good perks isn’t to be underestimated - they help candidates buy into your company and can be the discerning factor between you and a competitor. Remember, the interview process is a two-way street and candidates need to see the best of you too.
So, it’s best to check that your perks are still applicable in a Covid conscious world. If you previously had Friday team lunches and a cool office with a roof terrace, these perks are outdated and not worth advertising if remote working is a mainstay for your company. You have to either adjust them (e.g. have Friday lunch delivered to employees’ homes) or provide new, relevant, and worthwhile perks.
As for progression, be clear on how the career journey in your company will look like. Can candidates expect to have appraisals every 6 months? How soon can they be involved in major projects? Are there opportunities to change teams? For 2020 graduates, progression has become a priority as many feel like they need to make up for lost time and experience during the pandemic.
If you’re a smaller startup and there aren’t too many levels to climb, put an emphasis on responsibility instead. Share how their job role will change over the years in terms of what they’ll manage and be accountable for. Added responsibilities and ownership can be just as valuable as title changes.
7. Speak candidly about struggles
Candidates want to see how companies deal with their losses, not just their wins.
One struggle all businesses have dealt with is the Covid fallout. Give candidates a sense of security by addressing how you weathered the storm and took care of your staff. Honesty is the best policy here and candidates will appreciate you for it - if times were hard, say so and if you're still getting back on your feet, say that too. What matters is how you’re moving forward and keeping the employee experience front of mind.
Once candidates know how much you value your employees in the good times and bad, they’ll want to work for you even more and be keen to impress.
Effective interview processes involve planning, communication, and quick turnarounds. Follow these steps and you’ll hit all three marks and be on your way to hiring a top candidate in no time.