You know how important the interview process is when recruiting and hiring new candidates, but it can also be complex. And depending on your company’s strategy for hiring, you may have different considerations or needs that can complicate the process further.
Because interviews are so common, companies can forget how high the stakes are. You don’t want to hire someone who won’t fit in at your organization, and the interview is the place to weed out people who aren’t suitable for the position. Hiring the wrong person can bring down morale and cause problems down the line, so the process needs to be top-notch to avoid any issues.
Your hiring managers are already good interviewers, since you wouldn’t have them running the show if they weren’t. But there’s always room for improvement, and there are ways to maximize the process to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck out of every interview.
Here are five steps to take to ensure your interviews are the best they can be.
Start with the job description
Some of the most important work in the interview process begins before a candidate steps into the room. The job description is key to bringing in the right recruits, so you’ll want to spend extra time on it.
First remember to address the basics: The title, the department and who the person will report to should be clearly spelled out in the job description. Consider how the person will contribute to your company and its bottom line. What will be expected of the new hire in the first year? Are there specific objectives you want the person to meet, and if so, what skills and qualities are necessary to achieve those goals?
But beyond those necessities, you also want to make it clear what your company can do for the candidate. Whether it’s the chance for career growth or a significant role in shaping the future of your organization, adding reasons why this job – and your business – will help prospective employees has been shown to improve the quality of applicants.
Filter applications before you interview
Once you’ve got the job description right, you’ll be flooded with applications. It takes a lot of time and energy to filter those applications manually and find the ones you want.
Some HRMS solutions can help to manage and automate the filtering of applicant resumes. This software can also coordinate schedules if multiple people will be interviewing candidates and provide a central location for notes on each person who goes through the process. That way, no one will be forced to spend hours going through each application. HRMS software can also send automatic denials to candidates who don’t make the cut, which improves efficiency and ensures no one is left hanging, unsure if they’ll be getting interviewed.
Prioritize timeliness & efficiency
Good candidates don’t wait around forever. If you take weeks to reach out, whether it’s the first contact or after an interview, chances are they won’t be available anymore (and if they are, you may want to question why). This doesn’t mean you need to make a hasty decision on who to hire, but consistently follow up with the candidate when planning the interview and after it takes place. Don’t let them forget about you and remind them why they want to work for you. Discuss additional details with them if you know you’re interested, but haven’t made a final decision, and let them know quickly if you’ve decided on a second interview or something further.
If a candidate reaches out with questions or concerns, respond to those as quickly as possible. It shows you’re respectful of that person’s time and makes a positive impression – this is especially important if you decide to extend an offer. Quick responses and thorough communication also have a positive effect on your brand’s reputation, which can contribute to a better selection of candidates down the line.
Use technology and social media
There are many advantages to using technology in the interview process. While nothing replaces the impact of an in-person interview for assessing candidates, consider holding initial interviews with a video conference tool like Skype.
Some of the benefits include:
- Consistency. You can use a preapproved script for questions, ensuring all candidates are asked the same set of questions and allowing for easier comparisons.
- Permanent records. You’ll have a copy of the interview and can review it if you have questions, as well as show others who weren’t available for the actual interview how it went.
- Improved memory. Having a visual of the person you’re interviewing makes it easier to remember what he or she was like, especially when compared to a phone interview.
- Efficiency. Video interviews allow hiring managers to schedule multiple interviews in a shorter period of time and also helps cut down on costs if a candidate isn’t local. Your company won’t have to pay for airfare or hotels to put someone up who’s not in the area for an introductory interview.
Don’t forget about the impact of social media as well. While it’s a growing tool for recruitment, it can also be used in interviews. Beyond just doing background research on a candidate, you can find ideas for new questions and see what interviewees are saying about your company’s process.
There’s another way to gather feedback beyond browsing Twitter and LinkedIn. After the interview process is over, consider offering candidates a survey about how it went. Whether they were hired or not, they can give valuable information about what’s working – and what isn’t. Although there’s always the chance candidates who weren’t hired will have harsher feelings, even their feedback can help improve and shape your process. You may want to ask questions such as whether your interviewers were prepared enough, if the questions matched the job description, or if the timeline should be faster or slower.
The interview process is arguably the most important part of hiring and recruiting, and your company’s likely pretty good at it already – after all, you’ve hired your current staff. But there’s a difference between a good interview process and a great one, and it can also mean the difference between hiring an OK candidate and the perfect new employee.
Avoid interview techniques that waste time. Focus on key areas where your hiring team could improve, and use all the tools at your disposal to make sure your process is top-notch.