Finding great people to hire can be difficult, even when you have a lot of applicants for every job. There are ways to make the process simpler, faster and ensure you get the best talent, every time. Here are 10 great tips to follow when interviewing, making offers and on-boarding candidates.
1. Have the right interviewers
If you don’t have the right people interviewing, you can’t make the best hiring decision. The most important person in the process is the hiring manager. He or she needs to be involved each step of the way and should be one of the first interviewers. If the potential manager does not feel the candidate is qualified or will be a good fit for the team and the organization, find out early, to save time and money and protect your employer’s brand. A candidate who doesn’t meet their prospective manager until late in interviews is unable to get a clear view of what is needed in the job, and might fail to put his or her best foot forward. Other people who should interview candidates include a representative from Human Resources or the recruitment team, and potential clients.
2. Ask for specific examples of past experience
The best way to find out how someone will handle a situation in the future is to find out how they handled it in the past. This is an interview technique called Behaviour Based Interviewing.
Make sure every candidate interviewed is asked the same questions, and that they provide the situation, the problem, the solution and outcome. It’s a simple process but very effective.
3. Do panel interviews to get objective data and save time
Interviews are time consuming and expensive. A great option is to conduct interviews via video. If not, try to minimize the amount of trips a candidate has to make by having all the interviewers see them at once in a panel. In this approach, there are a set number of questions, and each member of the panel takes turns asking them. It’s more efficient than having the candidate meet people one after the other and repeating their story over and over. Panel interviews also ensure everyone hears the same information at the same time.
4. Ask for clarity on any red flags
Sometimes a candidate will say things or put things on their resume that need clarification. Whenever you come across something that you need more information about, either because it’s unclear or it seems at odds with what you’ve learned about the candidate so far, ask questions. A red flag is anything that makes you weary of a candidate. Instead of dismissing the flag right away, or using your instinct to decline them, find out more about the matter.
5. Review interview notes immediately and make a decision
The benefits of doing panel interviews can’t be overestimated. Everyone in the room hears the candidate answer the same questions, although each interviewer will interpret answers a little differently. Being together, either in person or on a phone or video conference, will allow the team to review the candidate’s answers and their thoughts immediately, and to make a decision about whether to proceed with the person to next stage or not. By discussing the candidate immediately after an interview, the comments are fresh in everyone’s memories, and positives and concerns can be debated and a consensus reached.
6. Decline candidate if not hiring
If after interviewing a candidate you decide you won’t hire them, do the right thing and decline them. You may wait a day or two, so the candidate will feel they have been properly assessed, as they might not be familiar with the efficiency of panel interviews and how quickly decisions can be made. With a phone call, let them know you won’t be considering them further. Ensure someone from the panel calls the candidate and can provide some meaningful feedback on why they are not moving forward in the selection process. The typical approach is to wait until a finalist has accepted an offer before declining candidates, but only those who are seriously being considered and would be offered the job if the preferred candidate declines should be kept in play. Everyone else needs to be declined so they can move on, and you can too.
7. Make a verbal conditional offer to your top candidate
When you have decided on the best person for the job, call them and talk through your offer. Ask if they have questions. Find out any concerns. Send them the offer if they say they will accept or want to review it. Make sure they know it’s conditional while you contact references.
8. Ask for references if they accept the offer
When a candidate accepts a conditional offer, let them know the rest of the process and how long it will take. They might be involved in other interviews and you don’t want to lose a candidate at this point. Find out who their references are and contact them right away.
9. Complete thorough reference checks
Today there are a variety of ways to conduct reference checks, including by email. Choose the right process for your organization, and move quickly. People providing references are generally doing a favour for a past colleague or employee, and you should keep the questions brief and to the point. If you need clarification on anything that comes up in a reference check, be sure you can get it. Ask for phone numbers to follow up, even in an online process.
10. Welcome the new hire
Once the candidate has accepted the job, make the process of welcoming them easy and pleasant. No one wants to arrive for a new job without the tools they need, or no one there to show them around. Send them a welcome note before they start, ideally from the manager, and then don’t communicate further with them until day one. Over-communicating with a new hire before they start can be frustrating for them and wastes time. All the paperwork and information you need can be gathered once they come on board.