Implementing a structured interview process is a key component for any company attempting to hire the best and brightest people for their team. And making sure you are asking questions that are uniquely tailored to your company and the specific role is crucial for any interview success. However, to effectively conduct an interview, one must keep in mind a few other best practices that go beyond simply asking the right questions.
Interview processes and best practices benefit your team because they will keep everyone who is speaking with a specific candidate aligned and make the experience less stressful and complicated for everyone involved. Here are few best practices that will drastically improve the overall interview experience and effectiveness:
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No matter how large or small the company, extending an offer to someone to join your team is a big deal. And like most important decisions, it is recommended that you seek guidance from others to help you confidently come to a decision. When setting up the interview process for your candidates, make sure you ask a few trusted colleagues to set aside a half hour or so to get to know the candidates you are considering for the role. Collecting feedback from others in the organization will help you be more confident in your reasoning as to why each candidate should or should not move forward in the interview process. Also, meeting with more than one person in the company will help the candidate get a better feel for the culture and more insights into the expectations and responsibilities in that role.
Communication between internal team members as well as your communication with the candidate during every part of the interview process is key. From an internal standpoint, team members should be communicating prior to conducting an interview to assign different people specific areas to cover with the candidate. That way, the candidate will not be answering the same questions over and over and your team can cover a wider range of topics and get a better feel for the candidates fit for the role.
It is also extremely important to communicate the interview timeline with the candidates. This ensures that the candidates will know the stage of the interview process they are in and what they should be expecting next. Also, if you are waiting to make an offer to a candidate until every other candidate in play for the position completes the final interview, it is important to let that candidate know why it will take a few days to get back to them with a decision. This way, they will still have a positive outlook on the opportunity, instead of feeling as though they had been forgotten after not hearing back from the company for several days after their final interview. When you are communicating the interview process, it is always best to be transparent and honest.
Anyone who interviews with your company is taking time out of their day to speak with you and your team. So regardless of the position they are interviewing for and how qualified they may or may not be for the role, be present. There is never a reason for you to be checking your phone or email during an interview. Not only does this reflect poorly on the overall company brand, but it will also lead to a negative candidate experience. Of course, you may need to take notes and even refer back to a printed copy of their resume throughout the conversation. That is perfectly normal and even encouraged, as it shows you are engaged in the conversation and interested in the candidate.
However, there is a big difference between referring to the candidate’s resume and reading through the resume for the first time during the interview. If you are interviewing candidates for an open role on your team, you should be reading through their background and experience prior to the interview. The candidate is researching the company and role before they walk into your office and meet the team, and you should be doing the same for them. So, make sure you are prepared and do your homework. You will get a lot more out of the actual interview and will not be wasting time going through their resume.
Bring Your Personality
When interviewing is not a part of your usual day to day in the office, it may feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable at first to interview people. Like most new experiences, it takes a few times doing it before you start to feel acclimated and accustom to your role as the interviewer. And although there is plenty to remember and a lot is expected from you, it is important to try and be yourself and show your personality to the candidate. If you are stiff and robotic, it is likely that the candidate will try and take on the same demeanor as a way to conform and match your behavior. So, lead by example and be yourself. Not only will this help the candidate relax and open up a bit more, but it will also help the candidate get a better feel for the company culture. Through these more natural conversations, it becomes a lot easier to tell if the candidate is the right person for the job.