Job interviews are tricky. A good interview is defined not only by the conversational flow between the interviewer and interviewee, but also by other aspects, including listening skills, technical knowledge, and attention to detail.
Meaning, an interview gone badly could make the candidate question their competence and push the recruiter into rethinking their way of doing things. Needless to say, both parties will end up socially and emotionally drained.
But the hiring process is rarely about emotions. It’s actually about determining whether a candidate will make a good team member in the long run.
Additionally, It’s also a chance for the organization to leave a good first impression on the potential team member. Ideally, they would then go on to “spread the kind word” — regardless if they got the job or not.
In that light, here are several ways to streamline your recruitment process with willingness, efficiency, and unbreakable determination.
Choose the right recruiters
Assuming the candidate has passed the preliminary screening stage (or stages), now you will need to figure out the best people to conduct the interview further.
The interview can be in-person or online, and both options are equally acceptable. If you are hiring for a remote role, an online video interview would be the preferred pick for many recruiters and their respective companies alike.
Choosing the right person to do the interview is equally as important if not even the most important thing to get it right. All the other steps in the recruitment process allow a wider wiggle room to operate.
The recruiter will need to have a thorough understanding of the position your company is hiring for, including what questions to ask and what answers to expect from the potential candidate.
Top candidates will know the general gist behind every problem, or they will admit if they simply can’t solve it at the moment. Either way, the interviewer will carefully and diligently note every answer, lead the interview in a professional manner, and make the candidate loosen up in order to perform at their (the candidate’s) best.
Most often, you should include a senior recruiter (a technical recruiter if you’re hiring for, let’s say, a software developer), the team lead, and a coworker or future team member.
Make sure there are no more than five people at any given time during the interview call. More people equals more complexity and runs the risk of “diluting” the interview down to a surface-level chat. Too many people, combined with a barrage of complex questions one after the other, can end up scaring away the candidate altogether.
One alternative to scheduling interviews would be to include 1-on-1 calls with each team member, thus allowing the candidate a better opportunity to express themselves from the get-go.
Decide on the location, time, and duration of the interview
The first step would be to determine the best place (if you’re opting for a physical location), time, and length of the interview as well.
Even if you’re conducting an online interview, a good practice would be to ask yourself which scenario would “yield” the best results for the candidate. Some examples could include the conference room, a closed office space, the local cafe, and more.
If your company has the capability to conduct on-site interviews, and the candidate agrees, then you can bring the candidate to the project site and chat there. Sure, it’s a more time-consuming effort, but meeting the applicant in person would go a long way into establishing a potential working relationship immediately from the start.
Interviewing applicants for positions that don’t require a constant physical presence (such as software developers) could be conducted with the help of some of the many online conferencing tools to boot. There are some with an online teleprompter function that will allow you to make sure that you’re looking at the camera and speaking clearly, which is a must when interviewing remotely. Some examples include Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, among others.
The second step is to pick a time that works for both parties (candidate and recruiter). If you are expecting more than two people on the interview call, try to use an app to find a free slot that would work well for everyone involved, like Calendly, for example.
If you can’t do that, the next best thing would be to be as proactive as you can. Pick a slot that you personally think would work and ask everyone if they would be available to show up at the designated time. Don’t forget to leave room for alternatives, as there is a significant chance (especially if you’re dealing with multiple people) that someone won’t be able to make the call.
Finally, how long should the interview last?
Well, it depends. For preliminary interviews, go for 30 minutes tops. If the candidate is required to solve technical challenges and answer complex questions regarding the position, then an hour should be sufficient to test their skills fairly and thoroughly.
Anything more than an hour would significantly extend the time to hire a potential candidate, at which point you’re “dipping your toes” into diminishing return territory.
Prepare relevant interview questions
Knowing beforehand what questions to ask is one of the most important things you can do to determine whether the candidate is a good fit for the role.
The questions can be divided into two categories:
Here are some examples of general questions:
-- Can you elaborate a bit on yourself and your background?
Expected answer: I come from a small town, where growing up was a challenging experience. This made me very competitive from a young age, a trait which I always apply at work in order to improve myself and others around me (i.e. my coworkers). I have more than 5 years of experience in the field, and I’m really excited to see what this opportunity will bring in the future.
-- What is your preferred type of work environment?
Expected answer: I like work environments where I can express my full potential and help my coworkers do the same. I’m also used to working in fast-paced environments, but I really thrive when everyone is equally contributing to the output of the department and the success of the company as a whole.
-- How do you deal with conflict in the workplace?
Expected answer: Sooner or later, stressful situations will come up in the workplace. Throughout my years working with people and dealing with different characters, I’ve managed to learn how to navigate them and find a solution. For example, a project I was leading was not going according to plan. Instead of panicking or pointing fingers, I took two steps back and tried to assess the situation from a wider angle. After having a talk with one of the hiring managers, we realized that we needed more hands on deck if we were to complete the project on time and according to all specifications. We hired two more professionals and successfully finished the project in the designated turnaround time, on budget.
At Proxify, we are constantly communicating, managing and collaborating with software developers. Here are some questions regarding software development and its encompassing wider disciplines:
-- What is inheritance in programming?
Expected answer: Inheritance is when one (or more) object or class uses the same implementation as another object or class. For example, you can define a Keyboard and a Mouse class that inherits characteristics from a Peripheral Components class.
-- What is the difference between object-oriented and functional programming?
Expected answer: Object-oriented programming relies on state-mutation and the so-called “in-place” object modification. In OOP, the main concept is the class. Functional programming, on the other hand, works with immutable objects and functions instead.
-- How would you set up/improve access to a complex system like Facebook?
Expected answer: By working with asynchronous queuing. First, I would set up a cache for all users’ feeds separately. Then, I’d use an asynchronous queue service to work with the feed cache and call push services, thus solving message consumption in one go. Finally, I would add more workers to handle the queue, which will linearly scale each push job due to it (the push job) being stateless.
Brief the candidate in detail
Before the interview starts (ideally a week prior), make sure to brief the candidate in detail about their expected job responsibilities and duties, what to expect on the call, and remind them about the job description if necessary.
Make sure to convey the logistics of the interview as well, including the exact time of the meeting (with special emphasis on the time zone), how long the interview will be, and all the necessary tools to be able to seamlessly and successfully complete this step of the interviewing process.
Give the candidate an emergency contact in case something comes up on their end and they need to cancel on short notice. Sometimes, whether you will be dealing with top talent or not, life interferes and things have to wait for later.
Having a backup plan could offset the unpredictable nature of life and most likely save your company money, time, and resources down the road.
Leverage proprietary tools, systems and software
Finally, as a proactive business owner, or an up-to-date tech recruiter, you will need to leverage the power of technology to ensure your hiring process goes as smoothly as possible.
Like using interviewing systems and tools.
Some of most efficient hiring and interviewing tools include:
Videoask is an application/platform that allows users to record video messages and use those same messages to communicate with their customers, recruiters or clients asynchronously.
Toggl Hire is a powerful and extensive recruiting, testing and candidate quality assessment system that offers a plethora of starting screening presets in a modernized, entertaining and efficient way.
Teamtailor is an applicant tracking system that allows recruiters to track, analyze and hire candidates using an intuitive workflow without any prior knowledge of the system itself.
Optimizing interviews for efficiency and effectiveness is a necessity in every hiring process. In fact, it’s absolutely essential to determine whether the prospective candidate will be a cultural fit for your business down the road.
Hopefully, some of the tips, tools and techniques I shared with you above will help you streamline your recruitment process and turn what had been known as a bore into what could become an absolute blast.