Assess your interviewing process and beat a difficult market
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” — Henry Ford
Henry, an innovative thinker and the creator of the 40-hour workweek, was onto something here folks. We all tend to fight change. But as this Candidate’s Market continues to thwart hiring, we find ourselves having to adapt in order to identify and hire the talent we need to grow our companies. In fact, doing what you’ve always done will now yield even less hires than before.
We’ve talked about the various hiring pitfalls that companies run into and the necessity of preparing for a hire. Today we will talk about creating an interview-to-hire process that will necessarily focus on speed and accuracy. You can fold these suggestions into your current routine with little disruption and increase efficiency.
“Fast is Fine but Accuracy is Everything.” — Wyatt Earp
Let’s consider speed and accuracy. Both are crucial to hiring the correct candidates today. In a fitting tribute to the Marshal of Tombstone AZ, I will bullet the essential items that promote both:
- Create and follow a list of prescreening questions that hit all necessary skills in a good candidate.
- Bring in only the best from that batch of prescreened individuals. Most promising gets first dibs.
- Schedule multiple candidates for interviews on a single day.
- Structure the interview with prepared questions tied to the job requirements.
- Limit the managers involved in interviews to only those crucial to the position.
- Document the results immediately. After all, sometimes we forget stuff.
The soul of an interview is the response to a well-crafted question. Looking at the list above, you will notice a theme around prepared questions. It is a splendid idea to have a list of questions prepared for prescreening and on-site interviews. It’s an even better idea to deliver the questions to all managers involved in the process. Let them know what questions they own so we avoid duplication. The questions should be thoughtful and directly related to the skills, experience or personality you require for a successful hire. We’re cutting to the chase, documenting results and making a decision.
“It is beyond a doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience.” — Immanuel Kant
A legend in the industry once said, “The interview is only part of the equation.” Ok, it was me… and I’ve said it about a zillion times. But facts are facts, and this is a biggie. Do your best not to base your ultimate hiring decisions on 1 stressful hour of Q&A with a person who may or may not be at their best under an interrogation lamp. Interviews should be conversations. It may not be a totally relaxed conversation but again, do your best. This is simply a talk between 2 parties that have your position as a common element.
Other components to target begin with the candidate’s experience and end with the candidate’s personality. Things like Years of Experience, Degrees, Certifications, Specific Job-Related Experience and Test Results are all tangible, objective figures in your equation.
Less tangible, but I might say more important parts of your equation should be enthusiasm, potential and cultural fit. Why? Because even the most experienced, best technical fit for your position could potentially be poison to your organization. Look for a history of loyalty, achievement and team-work. Strong management and co-worker references are certainly a big indicator.
But how does this speed up my process, you ask? Here’s how. Once you have your empirical information and your subjective information, or your tangibles and intangibles documented, you are equipped to make a quick and thoughtful decision. Leave the dithering and second-guessing to the folks looking at their fantasy football standings. You make a fast, informed decision and get the on-boarding machine cranking. If you’ve been following along with the program, and did some effective preplanning, the process from screening resumes to confirming a start date could have taken less than 7 business days. Optimistic? Sure, but we all need goals.
“You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.” — Albert Camus
A final word regarding “The Candidate Experience”. The information above will not only shave precious time from your process, it will also benefit the candidates you put through the process. Every interaction we have with our candidates will create an indelible impression of our company. It is an opportunity for us to show our stuff. If we move efficiently and professionally, their job search moves efficiently and professionally. A positive experience for each candidate will build your company’s reputation and brand. Even if the answer to a candidate is “No”, it’ll be a quick and professional and appreciated “No” based on rock solid information. A great company brand will attract candidates in this tight market. It will attract referrals. It will assist growth. So, let’s consider tightening up your process and taking an important step toward beating a difficult market.
About the Author
Patrick McLaughlin is a Talent Acquisition Industry Professional. He owns all the scars and accolades a successful 25-year career in recruiting can bestow. He’s learned the hard way that good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
As the Director of Recruiting Services at MEA, Pat has developed a core selection of Recruiting Products designed to alleviate MEA Members’ growing pains when it comes to Job Posting, Sourcing, Recruitment and Supplemental Staffing. Please reach out to him to discuss your hiring initiatives.