The battle for top talent in the US is becoming increasingly competitive, costly, and time-consuming. Today, the average job opening takes 52 days to fill and costs the company $4K. Clearly, companies are willing to invest both time and money into Recruiting the best-of-the-best for their organization.
But, what happens when you don’t have the time to overhaul your Interview Process because hiring is business-critical? What happens when you’ve maxed out your budget and throwing money at the problem isn’t an option? The goal of this piece is to provide 10 quick tips to improve your Interview Process that won’t break the bank.
Before the Interview
1) Look for leading indicators
Don’t focus exclusively on resumes and cover letters. While years of experience and technical-skills are undoubtedly important, there are other methods of discerning whether a candidate would be a good fit for your organization.
--Survey your team - What blogs are they reading? What podcasts are they listening to? Who do they follow on Twitter? What clubs or organizations do they belong to? By using those insights, you can build out Candidate Personas to uncover who makes up your targeted talent pool.
--Take it a step further - Incorporate these findings into your outbound recruiting strategy. Let’s say, 75% of your Analytics Team are involved in the DAA. You could attend the next DAA meet-up with a few of your co-workers to build your Employer Brand Recognition and scout top-talent.
2) When it comes to outbound recruitment efforts...quality > quantity
We’ve all been on the receiving end of an impersonal, poorly constructed Recruiter email. In many cases, it’s glaringly obvious that the Recruiter email blasted hundreds of candidates about the exact same job opportunity. Creating a competitive advantage is imperative in the fierce war for talent. Think about it this way...If you think a candidate’s experience looks good on paper, chances are, hundreds of other Recruiters are thinking the same thing.
--Opening the email is half the battle - In the world of phishing and Recruiter Spam emails, your subject-line should indicate to the reader that they were 100% the intended recipient. Try including both personal and work-related details into the subject-line to immediately grab their attention (i.e. their alma mater, title of their blog-post, breed of their dog, etc.)
--Prove that you did your homework - Whether you’re congratulating them on a promotion or praising their recent blog-post, outreach emails should always include specifics about that recipient. Why? 1) It shows that you took the time to research their background 2) It makes the recipient feels special and, thus, gives them a positive impression of your company
3) Consider removing or adding barriers to entry on the job application
I know what you’re thinking….why would I ever create more obstacles for prospective applicants? The length and complexity of a particular job’s application process should reflect the unique Recruiting challenges associated with that particular role.
--Need more applicants? - Maybe it’s a niche, technical role with a small talent pool or perhaps your employer brand-recognition isn’t well-established in that particular market. One quick-fix is to post the job to Linkedin and allow candidates to apply through their Linkedin Profile. This makes it easier for candidates to express interest in your company without having to jump through the hoops of lengthy job application. (Keep in mind, we’ve found that Linkedin yields high applicant-volume but, low Interview progression-rate. So, be prepared to have to sift through tons of applications to find your dream candidate)
--Need to quickly identify high-quality candidates? - Add a required question to the job application to ‘weed out’ unqualified candidates and deter candidates who are going mass-applying to every job that they come across. Ideally, this ‘weed out’ question would be role-specific and help to further qualify the candidate’s ability to perform the job.
During the Interview
1) Don’t underestimate the power of a presentation
Every single role at Seer incorporates a Presentation component into the Interview Process (even the Internship!) It allows the team to evaluate preparedness and attention to detail and gives the most accurate depiction of how they’d approach the job Day 1. Plus, having all candidates tackle the same assignment removes subjectivity and allows Interviewers to truly compare apples-to-apples.
--Make it Role-Specific - In order to maximize the effectiveness of an Interview Presentation, the assignments themselves should be role-specific. Ideally, the presentation would allow your Interviewers to evaluate aid several skills that are necessary to perform the job.
--Create a Rubric - To avoid getting ambiguous feedback from team-members, formulate a grading rubric for evaluating candidate presentations. Ideally, there’d be some sort of number scoring system to create the most objective, quantitative evaluation of the presentation. Plus, you’ll be able to see if the presentation score is a strong predictor of success once they’re hired.
2) Prepared interviewers make the best interviewers
Performing a job and interviewing candidates for a job are two very different skills. Interviewing comes second-nature to anyone in Talent Acquisition so, it’s easy to forget that interviewing is a nuanced skill that requires practice and coaching. (Take it from me...After over 500 Interviews at Seer, I’m able to go into Interview Auto-pilot)
--Training is Key - Educate your team by conducting on-going training on the Dos & Don’ts of Interviewing at your company. Go the extra mile by creating an Interview Task Force to encourage team-members to share anecdotes, ask questions, and trade Interview tips
--Arm Interviewers with Information - Prior to Panel interviews, Seer’s People Team preps the Interviewers by providing an overview of the candidate’s background and specific areas to dig-in on. It takes less than 5 minutes and ensures that your team makes the most out of their limited time with the candidate.
3) Breaking process as needed
48% of Recruiters say their biggest obstacle is hiring managers moving candidates through the Interview Process. In other words, time-to-fill is negatively impacted by letting candidates sit idly, thus, creating bottlenecks in the Recruiting Lifecycle. Whether a strong candidate has a competing offer on the table or it’s a time-sensitive role that is critical to the business, there are countless examples of when you should circumvent process. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend throwing the entire Interview Process out the window but, in some instances, it can make or break whether you’re able to hire a particular candidate.
--Encourage Recruiters to Push-Back - They’re on the front-lines talking directly to candidates and they should feel empowered to recommend an expedited Interview process (when the situation calls for it, of course)
4) Tap your team for interviewing tips
While you may be the Recruiting subject-matter expert, you should leverage your team’s expertise to craft the most effective Interview Questions to evaluate candidates. This is especially helpful for hard-to-fill or super technical roles. Simply, send out a quick emailing asking your team to share their favorite Interview Questions. Then, sit back and wait for the kick-ass Interview questions to roll in.
--Why should my team want to help me do my job? - When it comes to formulating role-specific Interview Questions, getting buy-in from your team should be a no-brainer. If your team helps you to formulate ‘knockout questions,’ (i.e. they must answer these X questions correctly) that means you’ll improve your ability to evaluate talent in the first stage of the interview process. Why should your team care? That means fewer hours spent interviewing unqualified candidates, faster hire-rates, and fewer overall interviews. By asking each team-member to provide one interview question, you’ll be saving a significant amount of time and money on Recruiting efforts.
After the Interview
1) Distinguish between “not the right fit” & “not right now”
One of the biggest Recruiting mistakes a company can make is failing to utilize warm candidate relationships. When a new requisition opens up, before viewing any new applications, the first step should be reviewing which candidates are in the pipeline. Who wants to invest hours into restarting the Interview Process, when you could be sitting on a goldmine of candidates who already expressed interest in your company but, maybe needed a bit more experience last time around?
--Create a Talent Community - Essentially, this Talent Community will consist of people who you’d consider hiring in the future barring certain variables (i.e. getting more experience, having to relocate, etc,) Moving a candidate through the Interview Process is undoubtedly time-consuming so, by creating a Candidate Pipeline, you’ll maximize the ROI of your Recruiting efforts and improve your organization’s time-to-fill.
2) Don’t just ‘stay in-touch’...add value!
59% of recruiters report keeping in touch with candidates who have expressed interest in their organizations. AT first-glance, that statistic may paint an optimistic picture but, it also means that 40% of Recruiters are letting valuable, warm-relationships fall by the wayside. That being said, while the majority of Recruiters are staying in touch with candidates, that doesn’t necessarily equate to meaningful interactions. In other words, you don’t get brownie-points with the candidate simply for saying ‘what’s up’ to the candidate every few months. --Add-value - Every touchpoint is a chance to showcase your Employer Brand and ‘sell’ the opportunity at your company. Try sharing a recent blog-post from a team-member who they met or invite them to an upcoming company event. You can even slip in some subtle bragging about a newly launched company perk. (i.e. We’re a dog-friendly office so, everyone has enjoyed seeing furry faces around the office)
3) Post-Interview feedback is mutually beneficial
By this point, the candidate has invested a significant amount of time and effort into Interviewing with your company. Even if you don’t intend to hire them, you can still leave things on a positive note by providing feedback that could potentially help them land their next gig.
---Interview Feedback is a two-way Street - Candidate Experience plays a huge part in Employer Brand so, collecting Interview Feedback from Candidates is extremely insightful.
---Preemptively providing Feedback sets the tone - If you don’t intend to move forward with a particular candidate, providing unsolicited, constructive feedback up-front leaves them with a positive Failing to explain WHY the individual didn’t land the job can put the candidate on the defense.
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