Are Outdated Interview Practices Holding You Back?

Today on America Back to Work: figure out if outdated interview practices are holding your business back (and find out what to do about it). 

Last week, this series covered why the interview stage is more important than ever before when it comes to hiring. 

The short of it: interviews are a two-way street in this post-pandemic, pre-recession labor market

Now, interviews are as much an opportunity for candidates to evaluate your business as they are an opportunity for your business to evaluate the candidate–making techniques such as multi-stage, drawn-out interviews, and other employer-leaning practices a thing of the past. 

The Structured Interview 

Instead, it’s all about providing a highly-structured, convenient experience that leaves candidates with a good taste in their mouths (while still doing your due diligence). It’s about screening candidates thoroughly, but fairly. 

According to a recent CareerBuilder study, two in three workers accepted a job and later realized it was a bad fit after interviewing. Fifty percent of those workers quit within six months. 

That means, in a labor market where retention is critical for employers, interviews are about doing all of the above without overselling the role. 

It’s about making a positive connection while also creating a space where both you and the candidate can make a fair assessment about whether the hire will be a long-term fit, or not. Ultimately, it’s about centering retention in your interview process.  

Quick Interview Audit

  • Create a structured, efficient interview experience that engages modern workers
  • Screen candidates thoroughly to ensure their skills (and background) are a fit for the role.
  • Be transparent–so both you and the candidate can figure out if they’re a long-term fit for your company. 

Figure out if your interview process is delivering on these goals by answering the questions below. We’ve created the following categories to help you think through your current practices and techniques, discover areas for improvement, and, ultimately, create an interview process that checks all the boxes above.  

Better Communication

  • Are you sending clear and consistent communication around interview logistics leading up to interviews?
  • Are you setting expectations for the candidate at every step of the interview discussion? 
  • Are you sending clear and consistent communication about next steps post-interview? 

An effective, modern interview process starts before the candidate walks in the door (since candidates are evaluating employers earlier than ever before). It starts with quality communication leading up to, during, and after the interview. That means: sending candidates information about timing, location, and interviewers well in advance of an interview–and following up quickly. It also means setting expectations during the conversation around the agenda and focus areas of discussion.

Timely, quality communication sets a positive, professional tone to the interview from the start—helping you keep great candidates engaged through the interview process and beyond. 

More Preparation

  • Do you communicate with your interviewers ahead of time?
  • Do you have your best people on the job? 
  • Do you provide interviewers with focus areas? 
  • Do you reuse questions for interviews or do you tailor them for each interview? 

Gone are the days where HR is solely responsible for filling open roles: now it’s a group effort. 

Now, it’s best practice for HR/hiring professionals to partner up with employees–employees that deeply understand the needs of the role and can represent the organization in a positive light–to create an effective interview process.  

Be sure to assemble your hiring team early and make sure you’re putting your best people on the job–the ones that really know how to sell your organization while fairly and meticulously evaluating the candidate. Communicate with them as soon as possible about upcoming interviews. 

Consider creating focus areas for each interviewer so they have time to dig deep into your most critical areas of evaluation (i.e. leadership style vs technical abilities vs work style…) or equipping interviewers with candidate research so they’re sure to walk in prepared. 

And–regardless of how you conduct your interviews–always be sure to update and customize the questions you use for each interview because every candidate is different and your team’s needs are always changing

Efficient, Fair Decision-Making

  • Are you collecting feedback from your hiring team as soon as possible after an interview? 
  • Are you providing an easy, standardized way for interviewers to provide feedback? 
  • Do you get back to candidates as soon as you’ve made a decision? 

The sooner you rate candidates the better. If you wait, you risk leaving the interviewer’s memory to fill in the gaps––making evaluations less accurate and more likely to be biased. To ensure you’re getting unfiltered feedback from your hiring team, be sure to circle up as quickly as possible after the interview to discuss. 

Plus, some candidates these days will turn down a job offer for a quicker job offer. That means you need to move quickly. Providing interviewers with focus areas and set questions will help them evaluate candidates more efficiently so you can get back to qualified candidates as quickly as possible. 

As soon as you’ve made your decision about a candidate, be sure to communicate that decision clearly and quickly (whether you’re moving on with that candidate or not) so you can keep quality candidates engaged while you move them forward in the screening process

Take Your Interviews to the Next Level

Earlier on America Back to Work, we covered just how common it is for potential employees to lie on their resumes––and the interview stage of the hiring process is a great place to sort resume fact from fiction. 

Working towards the above categories in your interview process––better communication, more preparation, and efficient, fair decision-making––will help you do just that so you can protect your business from bad hires and center retention from the start. 

But, we’re not stopping there. 

Last week, we released the latest episode of America Back to Work: Expert Interview Series with decorated former CIA Agent, Carmen Amato. 

Listen (wherever you get your podcasts) or watch to learn how to interview like a CIA agent–or read more here for Amato’s top tips for spotting candidate lies so you can create an effective interview process that serves you and your candidates!

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