The interview process is a key part of hiring a new employee. Does this vital aspect need to be re-addressed though for the current candidate pool, though?
Why worry about the interview process?
Interviewing a candidate is one of the most important parts of the employment chain. In fact, many employers and candidates will point to it as being a tipping point for decision making. Yet, despite the acknowledged importance of interviewing, it seems, to some extent at least, to be overlooked when it comes to reviewing the employment process. This is perfectly understandable because while other elements such as listings, job descriptions and so on are usually created for the role and therefore constantly reviewed, the interview itself tends to follow a strict, very traditional structure. For the most part, candidates are invited to the workplace, they take part in a discussion, then they leave and wait to hear. While this is not always the case (in fact, many of the following suggestions are in use with employers), it still does seem that interviewing has a set procedure that we tend to follow.
The danger with any methodology that becomes so familiar, of course, is that we start to take it for granted. At the moment, though, the skills shortage, the final rumblings of the great resignation and other factors have created a very unusual, candidate-driven employment market. Bearing in mind the importance of the interview, taking it for granted could prove a costly error.
Changing the interview for the current candidate pool
We are seeing some real changes to the way interviews are being conducted. The need for high-performing candidates and the pressure of skills shortages mean that many companies are changing their approach to interviewing.
- Using video to make it easier for everyone. The increased efficiency of video conferencing, coupled with the increased familiarity with using platforms such as Zoom and Teams, has changed the way we view video calls. While a telephone call is not really a substitute for interviews, video is much closer. It is certainly an option for first-round or informal interviews and makes life much easier for the candidate and interviewers.
- Location, location, location. Where you interview can be a real game-changer when it comes to the candidate's continued interest in the job. If you can arrange a closer, more convenient location for the face to face, not only will it be easier for the candidate, but you will also contribute to the final point below.
- Ditching the 9 - 5. We are seeing a real increase in the number of interviews taking place on Saturday or in the evening. When coupled with the point above, it could well mean the candidate is more likely to accept the meeting. Possibly more importantly, though, is that you are not asking them to take a day off work or rush to meet you in your workplace after a long day. A tired, frustrated candidate attending an inconveniently timed interview may well not be at their best.
- Really focus on the process and what they can expect. Make sure your candidate knows all the key dates and actions, such as when they will hear from you and what the next stage will be. The more they are familiar with the process, the more they will invest.
- Your employer brand and values. I know this one that gets re-stated a lot, but that is because it really does make a big difference. Candidates are buying into your business at the interview stage as much, and possibly more, than at any other time.
- Make them feel appreciated and valuable. All the above are telling the applicant that as an employer, you are invested in the wellbeing of your team. It would be a very cynical candidate who did not invest back to at least some extent. If it's plain that you are interested in them as both an employee and a person, you will not only encourage the candidate, but it will also help break down the tension surrounding interviews.
Coupled with great questions, a solid process, and an unbiased and equal interview technique, you should find that not only does the candidate benefit, but you will also get a superior result. In the end, it is better to interview a relaxed, invested, and informed candidate for a role they are genuinely interested in taking than one that has gone through the mill of the more traditional interview process.
If we can help you with any aspect of your interview process, get in touch.