This is part two of a two-part series on improving the hiring process. If you are hiring or plan to be hiring in the coming months, read part one which includes steps 1 and 2 to get started.
In part one, we discussed the importance of being transparent and having a social strategy. In this post, we complete the philosophy with three critical process points:
3. Prepare Your Interview Team
- Provide an interview schedule and copy of the job description – In part one, I told you to share the schedule with candidates. This is about preparing your interview team (well in advance) to make sure they know what to do and where to be. For those too busy to conduct an interview, they will no longer have an excuse to be late or be able to suggest they weren’t sure what time to be there.
- Pick the right interview team – Some just believe they are supposed to be on the team. Because they’ve always done it. They’ve earned it. But some of them are lousy interviewers and aren’t providing the feedback necessary to hire the best candidates to grow the company. So instead of always enlisting veterans, look for a variety of interviewers from multiple departments to provide a different perspective, a new energy and an interest in providing specific feedback. There are many interviewer styles so pick the right team.
- Provide candidate information – In addition to the job description, interviewers need advance notice of who’s coming in. This allows those with time and interest to research them on Google, look for any social media engagement and compare their experiences and skills with those listed on the job description.
- Create a written process and policy for interviewing - If your company doesn’t already have one, create a process and policy for interviewing. One that includes the “ok’s” and “not ok’s” of interviewing (both etiquette and legal ones). This policy should include reminders about your company’s core values. So that they can be expressed and reflected by the interview team.
- Communicate to the rest of the company that it’s interview day - Does the rest of your company know that strangers are entering the building on interview day? Do you need to clean up the department or hide secret new product samples? Or perhaps have people put on a collared shirt? You can also ask department employees (via this communication) to go out of their way to be friendly. A smile is an instant relaxer for a job candidate.
4. Hold A Pre-Interview Day Briefing
- Walk through the job description – So even though you already sent information to your interview team, it’s important to get them together the day before to allow for questions and to clarify your intent on hiring someone new. Read (out loud) the job description and reinforce key things you are looking for (like you would with a creative strategy). This way when you hold a post-interview (ideally same day of interview) meeting, everyone will be on the same page.
- Review candidate resumes - Once you’ve shared the job description, doesn’t it make sense to begin discussing candidates? You can at least do an initial review of fit with experience, skills and education. And begin to help interviewers frame the candidates against the department’s needs.
- Review the interview schedule - They already have the schedule but it doesn’t hurt to remind them. And to confirm how each candidate will get from place to place (i.e. will there be a person from HR to accompany candidates or does each interviewer hand deliver candidates to the next interviewer?).
- Provide target candidate characteristics - In addition to the job description, there may be additional criteria that the company or hiring manager would like to see in candidates. So here’s where that can be described or examples given. The interview team can take notes on each and ask verifying questions.
- Assign interviewer focus areas - In some cases, it might make sense to provide each member of the interview team with a specific purpose during their interview. This can be helpful for less experienced members of an interview team (they don’t have to invent their own list of interview questions) or during a later round interview when the criteria is much tighter.
5. Offer Care and Feeding On (and after) Interview Day
- Offer physical and mental breaks – As you prepare a long job interview schedule for candidates, are you planning breaks for them? During a long interview day, make sure to schedule a few physical breaks (bathroom, water) because, believe it or not, many on the interview team don’t offer them. And what about a mid-day mental break? Sit them in a private conference room with a pen and paper and let them think about their day so far. We all need some processing time.
- Reduce candidate pressure – There’s already enough pressure on job candidates – you don’t need to make it worse. In fact, you’ll get more out of a candidate and learn more about them when they are relaxed and comfortable. You can take them for a friendly tour of the department, find a less stressful interview location or remove the desk in between for a more peer-to-peer conversation.
- Explain the process - How many rounds are there? How will you review candidate qualifications? How is the day structured? What happens after the interview day is over? Can the candidate follow-up? If so, with who? These are all questions in the mind of most job seekers, so why not answer them early on and educate your potential employees on what they can expect during the process. And save the questions coming later from everyone. Make sense?
- Create a tracking system – Where is candidate x supposed to be and at what time? Do you know? Smart companies will assign someone to keep track of candidates. To make sure they don’t get left out in the cold or trapped in a basement conference room. This is especially important if you don’t want candidates roaming around your offices unattended and if you want them feeling valued.
- Offer some form of candidate follow-up - It’s easy to ignore a candidate after the interview is over. Especially if the wanted fit wasn’t obvious and you get busy running the business. But everyone talks and, also important, everyone appreciates some form of follow-up. Even if the answer is “no” or “not now”.
Follow these suggestions and you will hire better people. This is because your team was better prepared, knew what it was looking for and armed candidates with good data as well as a reasonable environment for delivering their best value.
Oh, and while you are doing a great job interviewing potential employees, you are also doing a great job marketing your department internally as well the company’s brand or product line to a large pool of candidates.
What are your tips for a better hiring process? What did I miss?
If you’d like help with your hiring process or for more information on each of the points above, contact us today.
Thanks Gangplank HQ for the photo via Flickr