Tips To Interview Candidates By Jessica Cafferty
Tips to interview candidates are a lifesaver during hiring season. Interviewing always seems to be accompanied by anxiety, stress, and headache. Sure, being interviewed is stressful enough, but often times hosting an interview can be equally daunting, intimidating, or frankly just peevish. That’s why at Route Networking Group, we’re partnering with businesses all over the Northwest to help them crush interviews and hire exceptional candidates. After five-plus years of working with a variety of businesses, on a variety of open positions, we’ve gathered some of our most relevant tips to share. If you’re hiring and want to make the most of your interviews, read on.
Tips to interview candidates
Adopt consistency in your interviews.
- Yes, interviews can and should have conversational attributes. They should be fluid and engaging (no one enjoys a 21-question fire squad) but that doesn’t mean that each interview should be completely different than the one before it. In fact, we recommend coming up with at least 3 culture-centric questions that you’ll ask anyone that you’re interviewing. These should be questions that drive at your values as an organization, and you should be prepared to take note of responses from each candidate to compare later.
- Example, let’s say one of your values is “customer-centricity” a good values-focused interview question could be: “Tell me about a time when you’ve worked with an especially challenging customer or a problem for a customer. What was the circumstance and how did you appease the client? Is there anything you’d do differently now?”
- After you’ve asked the questions, this will help compare candidates against one another and with notes, you’ll be able to more easily reflect on their responses at a later date. Too often, clients forget candidate responses or simply rely on a simple “gut feeling” but that can be challenging when there are multiple candidates, spread over multiple days.
- It’s an easy one, but it’s important. For the same reasons as the above—it’s simply too easy to get your wires-crossed and forget important details of a candidate. Write down his/her responses to important questions but also, just general feelings as they arise in the interviews.
As much as possible, keep your interview “rounds” grouped together.
- Timing really is, everything. Interviewing and hiring is no different. As much as possible, keep candidates that are interviewing in close scheduling proximity to one another so as to avoid candidate burnout/the waiting game. If you speed one candidate through multiple interview rounds, but have another candidate still in initial phases, it’s likely that you’ll end up with a poor candidate experience (for one or both candidates). Grouping candidates together in phases helps to maintain consistency and will often help prevent a rushed decision later on.
If you interview a candidate and decide not to move forward, TELL THEM.
- We all know this. Candidate experience is more than just hiring—it’s marketing, it’s PR, it’s advertising, etc. So, a good rule of thumb is that if you talk with a candidate (phone, in-person, etc.) but decide against their fit for an open position, just shoot them a quick note to let them know. No one likes being in limbo and no one likes bad press. The two go hand in hand.
Don’t Lead with Money….but also, don’t NOT ask about money.
- Ok, we know this one is a bit confusing but here’s the deal; just like you’d likely be annoyed if one of the first questions a candidate asked was “what’s the salary for the role?”, a candidate doesn’t want that to be one of their first questions either. A good rule of thumb—wait until the end of the first interview or towards the beginning of a second.
- That said, it’s important to ask! We actually, recommend providing a salary range early in your process (on a job description, for example) to ensure that candidates that express interest go into any interview with that knowledge. That said, it’s also important that ahead of any salary negotiation or offer presentation both parties know where each needs/wants to be. We’ve seen many clients get to an offer round where they haven’t had this conversation earlier only to have to walk away because the targets were so far off. Buzz. Kill.
Put away distractions.
- Especially in today’s world of the virtual interview, it’s just TOO easy to get distracted by your phone, your email or any litany of electronic notifications. So, to best prepare and to show respect for candidates, turn off all notifications while you’re interviewing. There’s nothing worse than talking to someone that you know isn’t giving you their full attention. Be present.
For more tips to interview candidates, or for help on how to build an awesome interview process, reach out to us! We offer a full spectrum of services in interviewing, onboarding, salary benchmarking, and of course—recruiting. Let’s #FindYourRoute to awesome, dedicated talent with a powerful interview process!
Looking for more tips to interview candidates? The Harvard Business Review wrote an excellent article!
Founded in Boise, Idaho, we are proud to be a recruiting agency that is deeply connected to the communities we serve. We exist to help Idaho and Northwestern companies meet their growth strategies by providing them with exceptional, hard-to-find talent. We focus on developing close relationships with both our candidates and our customers through a high-touch, tailored, and efficient experience.
As an agency dedicated to “networking” (it’s in the name), we like to think we help keep the “human” element in “human capital”. And, we’re building a professional network unlike any other.
Route Networking Group is unlike any other recruiting agency and we’re not afraid to admit it.
Our expertise is vast and varied; from helping to source incredibly niche technical talent, to partnering with early-stage startups on their first series of hires, to identifying and connecting with industry veterans and C-Level executives, our recruiting team is highly capable across numerous verticals, occupational levels, and industries. Not only that, but we’re proud to also partner with our clients on a variety of other as-needed services such as: providing detailed salary benchmarking analysis, interview process consultation, on-boarding assistance, and other Talent Acquisition services.