5 steps to a winning interview process

20/02/2023

5 Simple steps to quickly improve your hiring outcomes (and make your life easier)

Most hiring managers are busy with their day-job and as a result, they sometimes struggle to find the time needed for effective recruitment. This is dangerous as it may lead to shortcuts in the process. We have outlined a few simple steps below to help with your interview process. They are in no order and may not suit everybody all the time, but hopefully they will make your life easier!

1. Give the interviewee 100% of your attention.  

Every applicant, regardless of the outcome, should have a positive opinion about the company and people by the end of the interview. For the duration of the interview, they should feel that their application is the only thing of importance in your day. That means you have obviously read their resume, you have prepared some great questions, and you are ready to understand their professional skills and motivations. Most of us can tell when an interviewer does not dig deep for answers and even though the interview may feel easier, it is generally less rewarding, leaving applicants unsatisfied.

2. Ask consistent questions

When you are targetting a specific trait or skill, it helps to ask the question in the same format. This sounds obvious, but often it does not happen as interviews have a habit of going off-course. This consistency of framing allows you to compare applicant responses directly afterwards. For example, if you need evidence of good time management skills in the role, explain what it is about the role which makes time-management a key skill (this ‘framing’ of your question is very helpful) then ask the applicant for examples which highlight relevant time-management skills in their career.  This sounds obvious, but often it does not happen, as interviews have a habit of going off-course. This consistency of framing allows you to compare applicant responses directly afterwards.

3. Allow people to correct their answers

Man and woman shaking hands

The interview should be a pleasant and insightful experience for both parties

A common mistake made by interviewers is to move on from a poor response, rather than provide feedback and seek a better answer. Good candidates can be poor interviewees, so a little coaching during the process can go a long way. For example, you could say ‘thanks for talking us through that example. It is a good one but does not give me the level of confidence I need that you have enough of that skill, based on the demands of this role. What else can you think of in your experience that may also be relevant?’. Then help them work through the answer, even offering suggestions based on their resume. This shows you can be direct, and importantly that you are a manager who looks for the best in others; you are not trying to catch them out.

4. Have a compelling company story

Your company story should be engaging, succinct and create a platform for your Employer Value Proposition. Where the company came from, where it is heading and the challenges faced lead into two conversations – 1) what kind of traits and drivers make for a successful employee? and 2) why should I work here and not for the competition?

5. Keep everyone informed as much as possible

Any interview is part of changing jobs, which is an emotionally charged process, so the more variables you can reduce, the less stress you create for applicants. This means sharing basics (such as timelines) as much, and early as possible. It also means sharing areas such as your perceived development needs for candidates, as this can flow into how you would support that development and therefore their career. They may not be the preferred candidate at the end of the day, but they see how you take their application seriously by giving them honest and open feedback.

Hiring consistently & well requires a replicable suite of processes across your entire talent funnel. Implementing and developing these steps is a project that involves a reasonable investment of time and money to ensure consistently optimised results – this is the basis of Stone’s Talent Funnel service offering.

If you need support supporting your hiring managers, then reach out to us for a confidential discussion. We help you plan, map, brand, search, select and filter for talent and our approach is simple, effective and proven.

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