Two Steps to a More Efficient Interview Process

You know that you can’t afford to drag your feet when it comes to making a hiring decision. Hesitating can mean losing your #1 candidate! An easy solution is to put effort into shortening your hiring cycle. Let’s review a 2-step process for streamlining the process:

STEP #1: Standardize your interview process

Incorporate and adhere to the following as a standard part of your process:

Regulate how many people will be involved in the hiring process. The more opinions you include, the longer it will take to come to a consensus.

Maintain contact with your candidate. Don’t let days slip by without following up, or your candidate will think you have filled the position.

Do your homework before you conduct interviews. Research the market to know the going rate for the job. Candidates know if your offer is competitive and fair. And be consistent with the job description and requirements from the first interview through the second.

Don’t wait for the last minute to negotiate. Try to agree to the terms of the job role with a candidate before you make a final offer. You don’t want to lose someone because the particulars weren’t ironed out beforehand.

STEP #2: Creatively find front-runners

Quickly address an issue that’s all too often left to guesswork: is the person the best candidate or the best interviewee? Some people aren’t as good as others at coming up with quick answers. Those who are good at the interviewing game do not always make the best employees. To see whether candidates have what you need, standard interview questions may not be your best bet. Instead, consider the following:

Give candidates a problem directly related to the job role, and ask them to tackle it. This is a great way to avoid dismissing great candidates who aren’t the greatest interviewers. You might even make this a part of the application process: explain a problem or a challenge and have them describe how they would approach or resolve it. Limit their response to about 500-1,000 words, depending on what you’re trying to assess.

Continue to use the written responses with the candidates who make it to your final pool; have them explain the thinking behind their answers to get a better feel for their behavioral traits.

Have others secure a quick impression before or after the interview. Devise a few options for team members to interact with candidates and have them share their notes with you. For example, you could ask someone to meet a candidate in the reception area to escort them to the interview room. Find out how the candidate treated this person, and if they said anything out of character with your own findings.

Or you could ask someone to provide the candidate a brief tour of your office and building, and find out what questions a candidate asks and what type of comments they make. Determine for yourself the behaviors you want to observe. For instance, do others note that the candidate listens when they talk to them, or do they seem more interested in talking? The goal is to get a glimpse into how the candidate acts outside of the constraints of the interview setting.

Assign a project. Before the interview, ask candidates to work on or complete a task that would be a regular part of the job role. Again, this allows great candidates who are not great interviewers to prove their skills and behavioral traits to you. Plus, they can show their strengths and capabilities before the interview biases judgments made during an interview. You can ask them, depending on the job role, to create, fine-tune, improve, or troubleshoot some aspect of the tasks or responsibilities they would face in the position.

Tactics to help you sort out your best candidates from those who simply perform the best during the interviewing process will make your interview process much more efficient. You’ll be able to make educated guesses about who is most likely to stick with the job position long-term, and your candidates will have a much clearer picture of what will be involved in the job role.