9 Surprising Ways to a More Effective Interview Process

9 Surprising Ways to a More Effective Interview Process

Posted 9/3/2021


When it comes to choosing the right candidate to join your growing team, having a well thought -out interview process makes for an easier hire. Recruiting the right candidate for your job is not a cut-and-dried task—there are multiple stages that come into play when going through the process of hiring a new employee.

Here are 9 surprising ways to make the interview process more effective for your company, and some tips for a smoother hiring process:

1.Don’t put too much emphasis on the resume

A resume is a black and white way for employers to quickly screen candidates, but often it can lead an interviewer to focus on the presentation of a candidate’s background rather than the actual human being behind it. 

There is much more depth to your next employee than what they put on their resume.

There is only so much that you can learn about a candidate from a one or two-page CV or resume beyond demographic information, past job experience, education, and skill sets. What you don’t get from a resume are the reasons a person left each of their positions, how they speak about past employers and colleagues, what motivates them, culture fit for your firm as well as a chemistry match with you as their potential manager.

2. Limit the number of people your candidate interviews with at your firm

You know the saying “too many cooks in the kitchen”? Well, this idiom holds true for the interview process as well. It is not necessary or practical to have your candidates speak with everyone in your company. In fact, it’s important to keep your interviewers to a minimum.

Only include people who have a significance in hiring. This should be someone who understands the ins and outs of the position and can use their experiences and expertise to offer insights and perspectives of the qualifications for the job. Eliminate those who do not have a clear understanding of the position or will not be working with the candidate on a regular basis.

3. Limit the number of candidates interviewing for the position

Keep the number of candidates you are interviewing to a minimum as well. When you start comparing one person’s skill sets and background to another, it can be easy to get distracted and lose sight of the most important aspects of the interview if you’re speaking with too many candidates.

Having too many people to choose from can seem like a positive but it can be the opposite. The need to narrow down your selection of interviewees to the right candidate in turn will delay the hiring process and increase the chance of your ideal candidate getting hired by another firm because of the delay that speaking with too many candidates can cause.

Here are four ways to reduce the number of candidates interviewing for the job:

  1. Provide a clear and detailed job description
  2. Ask screening questions (if you use an online application)
  3. Use a professional search firm rather than an ad to deal with a smaller and more qualified group of candidates
  4. Have your recruitment partner verify that candidates fit in your compensation range before any interviews take place

4. Keep interview steps to a minimum and follow up in a timely manner

The application process can be daunting for candidates, so it’s important to make it relatively simple and straightforward to apply to your job position.

Minimize the tests and evaluations for your candidates. A candidate could do well on a test but may not be a good cultural fit. Another candidate may be the perfect cultural fit but may not be the greatest test-taker. Be considerate of how much time you take between each interview step. Don’t wait weeks between each step of the interview process, in fact you really want to have a maximum of 7-10 days between each step. Intervals of more than 7 to 10 days may leave your candidates feeling like they are waiting around and they’re ‘just a number’ and/or that this position is not an important role for your company. Lighting and electrical are big industries but in another sense are very small. Interminable delays (if shared by a frustrated candidate with other lighting or electrical professionals) could potentially decrease your company’s credibility.

5. Have a consistent interview process

For your interviewing process to be effective, consistency is key. Comparing apples to apples is important when it comes to choosing the right candidate to join your team.

Your interview process should be rather simple and include the following general steps:

  1. Introduction
  2. Broad questions and answers
  3. Position-related questions
  4. Conclusion

Having a specific interviewing structure laid out in advance will benefit your interviewing process to yield effective results and present you with the best candidate for the job. Here are some tips to create consistency in your interview process:

  • Make sure to clearly define the key job requirements
  • Create general interview questions
  • Keep interview questions consistent among all candidates
  • Have a plan for candidates who make it past the first interview (i.e., WebEx or Zoom meeting for second interview)
  • Have the same process for each candidate (first interviews for all candidates should be with the same person on your team, second interviews should all be with another person. Don’t have one candidate meet first with H/R and another candidate meet first with your VP of Product Development, be consistent.

6. Sell the candidate on the opportunity

As much as your candidates are selling their abilities and expertise to be selected for the job, keep in mind that you and your team should also sell the opportunity to the candidate.

More often than not, companies tend to put more focus on the candidate’s screening and evaluation, and not enough time or energy explaining the selling points of the position including benefits, perks, and growth opportunities when working with your company. At the end of the day, the opportunity that candidates are interviewing for needs to be presented in a way that makes the position seem like an attractive one.

Data from a recent recruiter study shows that a main reason for companies continuously having great candidates slip away is due to their lack of ability to sell the role along with opportunities for career growth and advancement. Here are some ways to help sell your open position:

  • Present an appealing (and realistic) job description
  • Highlight company benefits
  • Emphasize any unique company perks
  • Ask candidates what questions they have about the position

7. Acknowledge the difference between a candidate who applies to a job listing and a candidate who comes from an executive search firm

There are two types of candidates that will interview for your position: Those who apply to your job listing directly and those who come to you from a recruitment firm.

It is important to recognize that there is a difference between these two types of candidates. For example, when a candidate applies to your job listing organically, they come to you actively looking for a job. Many times, they are either unemployed or unhappy with their current situation; occasionally they have reached the ceiling in their current role and they are interested in finding a more challenging role offering advancement. Chances are they are applying to multiple job listings and are more determined to land the position because of their urgent need to get back on a payroll or get out from under a bad situation. They may jump at the first position offered but continue to search for a better opportunity.

Finding the next step in their career is a high priority, so they are eager to go through the interview process, proceed to the next phase, and write thank you notes right away.

When you’re interviewing a candidate that comes to you through an executive search firm, you have a little more security that you’re speaking with a qualified candidate. The recruited candidate isn’t desperate to make a change but will be evaluating the position being presented to determine whether it offers the type of opportunity and challenges that would benefit them. They will then decide whether to accept or not to accept the role based on those facts rather than out of desperation. This type of candidate is often more likely to stay with your company and not continue to look for other roles.

8. Have a clear understanding of where your candidate stands before extending your offer

It’s important to understand where your candidate stands before presenting your offer to them. They may have different expectations than you are offering, which can decrease the likelihood of them accepting the job. Here are some things to consider before presenting your offer:

  • Are they interviewing with other companies? If so, how many?
  • How do they rank your opportunity versus others they are considering?
  • What is their real reason for wanting to make a change?
  • What is the candidate most excited about in your role?
  • Is your offer in their desired compensation range?

9. Put a time limit on your offer

When you finally choose the right candidate, it’s time to put your offer on the table, but don’t leave it out there forever. Have a sensible time frame (i.e., 24-72 hours) that you expect to hear from your candidate. Including the expiration date in writing makes it clear that the position is not going to stay available indefinitely.

Keep in mind that from the moment you present your offer to the time they accept or reject it can cost you the next candidate. At this point a candidate really should know whether they want the job or not. If they wait a few days, they might be entertaining other job opportunities or leveraging their situation with their current company.


Ask Paul any questions about hiring or interviewing
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