Interviewing is an integral stage of the hiring process. It allows you to discover important information about a candidate. That's why recruiters typically spend most of their time on interviews and devote the bulk of their time to perfecting their interview strategy. Which is exactly what we’re looking at today.
There are a handful of interview best practices for employers that you need to get the best results out of your interviews.
Foremost, you need to prepare carefully. The interview process actually begins before the first candidate even picks up the phone. Take this time to review the candidate’s resume, cover letter, and all other relevant documents. What do you need to know about them? What does your ideal candidate look like? All of these questions need to be answered before you go into an interview.
Next up, you need structured interviews. Although the unstructured approach may feel organic, the results are too inconsistent to consider reliable. Providing every candidate with a single interview format allows you to easily compare them side-by-side and reduce bias in the interview phase in the process.
And potentially the most important interviewing strategy you can adopt is clear communication. Provide candidates with a clear overview of both your company and what they can expect from the hiring process. In fact, according to Finances Online, 83% of candidates surveyed report that the overall recruitment process would be greatly improved if the employer would provide a clear timeline of the hiring process. This communication is particularly important for improving the candidate experience.
When it comes to interviewing, you’ll find a lot of information online about how candidates can improve their interviewing skills. However, what about the interview skills of the recruiter? As candidates work their interview skills to land a job, so must recruiters work theirs to find the right candidate.
To that end, let’s consider what these skills look like for the interviewer.
When it comes to finding the right talent, recruiters need to mitigate their bias as much as possible. And that can be hard. Everyone possesses different unconscious biases that affect their decisions. Although it’s impossible to eliminate these entirely, mitigating bias is possible with the right tools such as one-way interviews.
Another important interviewing skill is time management. Recruiters often face back-to-back interviews, constantly pressed for time, and battling against the clock to stay on track. Otherwise, interviews will grow inconsistent over time and some candidates may even become frustrated if they’re forced to wait for a previous interview to end. Every candidate should receive equal time and opportunity.
And most importantly, recruiters need to be adaptable. The labor market is constantly changing. The strategies that worked last quarter may lag behind the target next quarter. Look out for new tools and changes in recruitment, and be prepared to change accordingly.
As we’ve well established, the interview is a sensitive point in the hiring cycle. It is indeed the make-or-break factor to success. In fact, CareerPlug reports that 58% of job seekers reported declining a job offer due to candidate experience – much of which is spent during the interview phase. That’s why it’s important to get started on the right foot and know how to start an interview as the interviewer.
That’s why this next section is dedicated to interviewing tips for interviewers. As the wrong approach can be the difference between making the right hire and losing out on talent.
Always start with a warm greeting and an introduction. Let the interviewee know that you appreciate their time, and make them feel welcomed with a friendly yet professional tone. Tell them what you do in the company and a brief overview of what they can expect from the coming interview.
From there, set the stage. Why are you recruiting for this position? What are the expectations? Also, be certain to offer some key information about your organization’s mission, values, and culture. Answering these questions helps candidates understand what you’re looking for and to align their responses accordingly.
Our interview tips for the interviewer also stress the importance of asking open-ended questions. Simply yes or no responses are not going to elicit the information you need. This is particularly important. So, let’s take a deeper look.
The questions you ask in an interview are just as important as how you ask them. Interview questions need to be carefully designed to elicit the information you’re looking for in your ideal candidate. Which can be difficult, we cannot outright ask something akin to “Quantify your problem-solving ability for us.” This is sterile and produces inconsistent results.
You need a strategy for your interview questions. Here are some tried-and-true interview questions to consider.
As we discussed earlier, an important aspect of making a successful interview process is preparation. That’s why we’ve put together a quick interview preparation checklist to get you started.
First, review the job description. Know exactly what you’re looking for in your ideal candidate. This knowledge should tailor your questions accordingly which happens to be your next step.
Then there’s a matter of interview scheduling. When are both the recruiter and the candidate available? Typically, recruiters need to spend around 30 minutes to 2 hours per candidate to make this happen. However, we’ll discuss some ways around this in just a moment.
Finally, revisit your company culture and values. Understand what kind of candidate makes your ideal candidate beyond qualifications alone. Not only is this important for organizational cohesion but as a matter of retention. What kind of candidate would be happy in your organization?
So, what more can you do to make a strong interview process? You have the questions down. You know who you’re looking for. You even know how to start the interview right. What more can you ask for?
So, let’s take a look at some more tips for hiring managers.
Well, naturally, you need to make the interview itself accessible to as many candidates as possible. To this end, you’ll want to use on-demand interviews to reach out to candidates. This circumvents the trouble of scheduling interviews and lets recruiters get straight to screening.
Self-guided interviews actually take most of the headache out of recruiting in general. Not only do you avoid scheduling, but you’re able to provide a better candidate experience in the process. The one-way interview model simply involves recruiters recording their end of the interview and delivering it to candidates en masse. Candidates can then respond at a time of convenience. As such, recruiters are able to interview massive numbers of candidates one time, 24/7, and free up time to focus on screening in the process.