Hiring: The interview process

Before you start interviewing, it is important to have a process in place.

Once you’ve completed phone screening job applicants, you may think it’s time to dive right into the face-to-face interview. Not so fast. Before you start interviewing, it is important to have a process in place.

The hiring process has changed from the days when the interviewer had all the power. Those days are gone and top candidates now have choices about where they want to work. Job applicants will be checking out your website and social media presence to find out about both your brand and your reputation.

To make sure you get the best candidates, you want the entire hiring process to be a positive experience. One of the best ways to make sure that happens is to keep in touch with applicants throughout the process, even if they may not be offered the position. 

From a business point-of-view, you need to be aware of how long a position may remain open. Professional recruiters keep track of this and look at the time that elapses from when the job is first vacant until the start date of the new hire. In 2010 that number was at 12.5 days, but it rose to 23 days in 2014, according to Glassdoor, a jobs and recruiting site.

Job applicants will be looking at that statistic as well. Your goal is to keep that day count as low as possible while still doing a thorough job.

When it comes to establishing an interview process, there are no right or wrong answers. You just need a process that covers the following:

  • Who is going to be involved in the interview?
  • What type of interview will it be? One-on-one or a panel discussion?
  • If multiple one-on-one interviews are required, will they be back-to-back or on different days?

Basically, you need to establish the what, when, and where for the interview.

The what includes what questions will be asked? You don’t necessarily have to use a script but you do need to know which questions you want to ask and who will be asking each of them.

The when includes time of day and establishes guidelines for who has the authority to make the hire or no-hire decision.

The where could be a conference room, supervisor’s office, shop floor, or even an offsite location.

You will also need a clear follow-up plan for what happens once you find the ideal candidate. My recommendation: when you find the right candidate, hire them. Don’t wait. Communicate your decision quickly.

And while this may sound contradictory even after you have tendered a job offer, continue with the interview process. Don’t end the search until the candidate walks in the door for his or her first day on the job. A lot of things can happen between when an offer is made and when the candidate actually starts the job.

According to a list adopted from LinkedIn, before conducting the interview send the candidate an email that contains the following:

  • Thank them for their interest
  • Confirm the position they are interviewing for
  • Attach the job description
  • Confirm the interview location; include a map and information on where they can park
  • Include a contact name for who they should ask for upon arrival at the interview
  • List the name of the interviewers along with a link to their profile on your website or to their LinkedIn profile
  • Tell them about any additional materials they need to bring such as copies of their resume
  • Describe attire that is appropriate for the interview

Here are some tips from LinkedIn of things you might want to have on-site the day of the interview:

  • A welcome card or welcome notice in the lobby
  • A snack kit and water
  • A printed agenda with the schedule of interviews
  • Promotion materials like pens, notepads, etc.

The goal is to make the candidate feel important and welcome.

In my next blog I will be covering the interview itself.

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