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Making the Most of Your Interview Process

by Kevin Bellah

Whatever your company size, you’ve probably experienced the process of interviewing prospective team members and considering them for employment within your organization. The interview process often follows a relatively simple template and represents a relatively standardized experience within the professional landscape. However, the mutual courtship between organization and individual can vary drastically in quality and mutually satisfying outcomes. Your company’s human resource department should set up the interview process, but it’ll be the interviewers who will have to ensure its effective and the right questions are asked.

Benefits of Having a Well-Engineered Interview Process

A number of reasons exist to take a look at your interview process and improve weaknesses and inefficiencies:

  1. Finding the right person matters. Building your team – cultivating your organization’s talent – is arguably one of the biggest contributors to your success (or, if done poorly, the biggest perpetrator in thwarting it) that you can control. Having the right people, with the right acumen skills in your organization can be the difference between overcoming the significant challenges every organization faces and dissolving into factions, failing to execute necessary solutions, or weathering adversity.
  2. It can save you time. If done well, the interview process can help you jump-start your onboarding process with your successful candidates. The interview process provides a space to make sure your goals and priorities as a company align with the candidate’s and vice versa, and this process sets the stage for when the successful candidate enters the fold and will need to assimilate into your company’s values.
  3. It begs good questions. Cultivating your interview process forces your company to answer important, comprehensive questions about how you operate as a team and how you build your organizational culture. Thinking through these important questions is imperative and the answers should inform your interview protocol.

Tips for Crafting Your Interview Process

Though there are nearly infinite ways to hone your interview process and craft it according to the needs and ethos of your company, here are a few simple strategies to start off:

  1. Ask them to show rather than tell. Don’t hesitate to involve actual work processes or responsibilities in the interview process, preferably in real-time. The best way to determine whether a candidate will effectively perform is often to simply give them a chance to demonstrate it.
  2. Let them negotiate. Some interviewers don’t engage readily with negotiations or discussions about compensation, preferring to shut those conversations down. However, seeing how candidates handle subjects like their rate of pay and engaging potentially sticky topics can reveal a significant amount about their character. Engage with applicants when they would like to negotiate salary. You might gain helpful insights about that candidate when you observe how they conduct themselves in conflict or high-stakes conversations that you might not have otherwise been privy to.
  3. Do your own work. Interview processes are not just for prospective candidates. They can be a helpful tool for your own development as well. For instance, be aware of your leadership style and how it manifests in interview settings. Use interviews to practice communication and interpersonal skills you might not have the chance to work on elsewhere in your role.

Pitfalls to Avoid

As with anything, it’s important to be aware of the ways an interview process could be hampered or derailed. As you improve your company’s interview process, be aware of the following pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Don’t rush. Hiring is always an important decision. As much as you can possibly control, don’t rush hiring processes. It’s more important to get the right person into the role.
  2. Don’t forget to include important voices. What decision-makers should be involved in each hiring process? Who will actually be managing or working alongside a hire? Make sure the people that need to weigh in are in the room.
  3. Don’t be distracted by “bling.” Coachability and alignment with company values and culture will always outweigh and outperform a full resume or flashy skillset. Don’t become so fixated on a candidate’s qualifications that you turn a blind eye to the overall fit.

These tips will help you improve your interview process and ensure that it delivers to its fullest potential. Invest in your interview process to make sure it achieves strong talent fit and efficient, effective personnel decisions for your organization.

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