Hiring Guide: Step-by-Step Instructions for Great Interview Processes
No interview is the same because no candidate is the same. However, HR can work with hiring managers to establish standardized practices for the hiring and interviewing process. As a result, organizations can be better prepared to recruit new employees in the modern talent market. Here’s how.
Why Candidate Interviews Aren’t Always Effective Indicators of Future Job Performance
Data reported by Fast Company suggests interviews are terrible predictors of performance. Why? They measure interview ability, not job ability—and the two skills almost never overlap in a meaningful way.
Not to mention that the interviewer/interviewee dynamic overflows with confirmation bias—and often the hire/don’t hire decision is made in the first 30 to 60 seconds. And while the interview questions that hiring managers ask typically aren’t great at finding the right candidates, they are helpful for signaling company culture and values to job candidates.
How to Ask Questions that Help You Hire the Right Applicant
A general rule of thumb is that job relevance is the key factor for any interview questions. If a question doesn’t have an obvious connection to the work a candidate is applying for, it probably shouldn’t be asked in an interview.
This means that interviews will almost certainly look different from one industry to another, from one company to another, from one team to another, and even from one role to another. With this in mind, whatever questions HR and hiring managers decide to ask, they should follow the STAR format: Situation, Task, Action, Results. Here’s how:
Instead of asking: How would you handle workplace conflict?
and receiving an answer like: I would handle it very carefully with grace and tact.
Your hiring manager asks: Tell me about a time you experienced workplace conflict. What actions did you take in response to the conflict, and how did you feel about how the situation was resolved?
The result is a much more detailed response that provides better insight into the candidate and their experience beyond a familiar (and shallow) answer.
Checklist: Most Important Steps to Consider When Interviewing and Recruiting Job Candidates
Applicants don’t just arrive in a company’s inbox. Organizations must have a detailed, step-by-step process when they begin recruiting to fill a new or recently opened position. If not, HR and hiring managers spend time struggling over responsibilities, decisions, and other logistics that can be settled well in advance.
Every recruiting process should include the following basic steps:
1. Write Job Description
Hiring managers should write job descriptions for the roles they want to fill while HR serves as quality assurance to ensure that the posting fits the organization’s standards. Ideally, HR already worked alongside leadership and other hiring managers to develop a template or checklist that includes everything needed in a job posting, no matter the role.
2. Post Job Listing
To streamline this process, use an HRIS that has built-in applicant tracking software (ATS) features. In the best ATS platforms, administrators can post openings to job boards directly from the system, as well as share them on various social media channels.
3. Screen Resumes
Using that same system, hiring managers can easily and efficiently screen resumes they receive thanks to a central candidate repository that stores all necessary application information. Likewise, hiring managers should work with all relevant decision-makers to collaboratively review candidates within the system.
4. Phone Interview
Once a candidate has been identified for the next step, hiring managers should reach out using the ATS to schedule a time to meet. (Use the following template to get ahead of the curve on these communications.)
Before the interview actually takes place, it’s important for HR and hiring managers to identify the questions they want to ask that are specific to that role, as well as evaluation criteria to effectively rank candidates. On the flip side, organizations need to also share information about the role, including:
- Typical job duties
- Skills needed for specific tasks
- Background about the company, including mission and vision
- The team the candidate will work on
- Benefits information
Remember, an interview is as much a pitch for the organization as it is for the candidate.
5. Skills Test
If a candidate performs well on their phone interview, hiring managers can then ask the applicant to take a skills test (if applicable). Note: In some cases, hiring managers may prefer to conduct a skills test before the phone interview.
For example, some positions require elevated writing or design skills. Hiring managers may decide to send a prompt that provides an opportunity for applicants to demonstrate their abilities.
6. Final Interview
Depending on the organization or position, hiring managers may want to conduct one final interview after the skills assessment. This could be an in-person interview, a group interview, or possibly even a video call, depending on the circumstances.
7. Check References
Before a final decision is made, it’s important to remember to check references if requested. A reference is usually someone who can speak to a candidate’s past work, educational experience, and other credentials.
In addition to verifying a candidate’s resume, reference checks offer insight into a candidate’s experience, their work style, and if they’d be a good cultural fit for the company. These calls should only take about 15 to 30 minutes and shouldn’t be overlooked.
8. Job Offer
Once a company has decided to offer a role to a candidate, it can extend an offer using the same ATS that was used throughout the hiring process.
9. Onboarding Begins
Once a candidate accepts a job offer, the real work begins. Employers with an HRIS can use onboarding features to begin integrating the new employee into the organization by providing the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors that will make them successful in that role.
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