This is part 3 of a 4 part “Benchmark Search Hiring Forecast” series, studying the ongoing effects of the pandemic on hiring, interviewing, onboarding and networking.
How many stages should there be in an interview process? How many steps is too many? What constitutes too few? What makes a good interview?
Your interview strategy should be about two things – efficiency, and momentum. Good talent does not hang around, so consider every candidate comes with a shelf life attached. You have a small window of opportunity to successfully hire the perfect candidate, so your interview process needs to be effective, positive, and personal.
Let’s review: it takes approximately 25 working days to hire someone for a role, from initial contact to start date. That, in both the minds here at Benchmark Search and the minds of most candidates, is too long.
Why do we interview?
In the modern age when so much of a worker is digitally accessible, why do we persist in holding interview after interview after interview? Is a face-to-face interview in the age of COVID-19 still required or a preference?
Job interviews are still the most preferred way to assess standards of professional and cultural suitability for both candidate and client. Besides the obvious errors fermented through conscious and unconscious biases, the interview, be it one stage or many, is still a highly effective way to understand the person beyond the resume.
However you plan your interview strategy, we offer simple advice: avoid complexity, focus on efficiency and use your interview process to build momentum.
Good Interviews vs Bad Interviews
Interviews are an essential and effective part of bringing new people into your company. For many employers, it is the final piece of the puzzle to finding the right talent.
Of course, what constitutes a “‘good” interview is in the eye of the beholder and there has been a vital cultural change to job interviews over the last decade.
Gone are the days of clients being in the driver’s seat and the interview being one-directional. Now, especially for college graduates over the age of 25 and in industries with candidate shortages, interview equality has been met. Candidates are making a judgment call on your company, on your culture, on your processes, and your offer of a career path.
Interview Stages – how many is too many?
Each employer has its requirements, and we want to help support their unique processes. At Benchmark Search, we’ve made it our job to know when this style of recruitment steps into the realm of ineffective, and we make sure each client we work with is provided with a personalized interview strategy that reflects their needs and company culture.
When speed is of the essence, our tacit advice is – consider momentum.
Momentum differs from simple speedy recruitment.
- Fast recruitment runs the risk of shoehorning a candidate into a role based on instant availability, no matter the cost.
- Momentum, on the other hand, is driven by interest and desire for the role, and for the candidate, which creates a much more involved, agile recruitment process.
Candidate shortages in niche financial and accounting roles mean good talent is already gainfully employed, the most actively available of those are going to want a discreet, efficient, agile recruitment service to fit their schedule.
You can catch a candidate’s eye with fantastic branding, a chance to move up the ladder, growth opportunities, a fancy title, and even more competitive pay…but in most cases, you will not keep hold of them by waiting for weeks to shore up more candidates to compare. They will not wait, or someone else will pluck them off first.
We include assessments in our interview process – should we continue using them?
You can absolutely keep them. That said, make them relevant and be flexible – potential candidates need to know they are supported and understood. Any assessments done digitally may have to be before or after hours, and if you do need assessments to be done as part of an interview day/on-site interview and assessment, be empathetic to them having to organize time away from their role to come to you.
It is also important that you do not ask for the assessment to be done too early in the process, because you may not have garnered enough momentum to have them prioritize your opportunity over others (or over their current employer obligations). Assessments serve as a very valuable tool, but don’t let them inadvertently become a roadblock.
What does an interview mean to a candidate?
Interviews are a two-way street and must sit at the top of the hiring pyramid. You have sourced, vetted, and maybe even pre-interviewed this candidate. The interview is where you make the final call.
This is doubly relevant for candidates. Candidates are assessing you for your leadership, business security, and (in the age of COVID-19) company safety. They need to make a professional and emotional connection with your company. Regardless of whether your interview is in-person or virtual, make it count.
Interview strategy tips:
- Review your interview practice – there is nothing wrong with multiple members of your team wanting to meet a new hire, but if your interview process is 4 or 5 meetings, conversations, zoom calls…it is assuredly too long. Your peak interview number should be 2, or 3 including any testing or assessments.
- If you would like to involve more team members, we suggest panel interviews or back-to-back meetings (counted as one step).
- Your candidates are your future, but they are in high demand. If your interview process has stages, keep them well informed of progress and provide ample feedback. There is no such thing as over-communication during an interview process.
- Make interview and assessment feedback relevant! We cannot urge this enough. Provide feedback, make it tangible, and let the candidate understand how they contribute to your company.
In our next article, we discuss networking in our ongoing “Benchmark Search Hiring Forecast” series.