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What Happens When You Standardize Your Interview Process

July 14, 2016 at 6:00 AM Amina Moinuddin

AminaGuestPost.jpgThink about the worst interview you’ve ever had. Maybe it was an unprepared interviewer who clearly hadn’t seen your resume or found out who you were moments before you met. Or maybe it was when they forgot all about you and left you in the waiting room for 30 minutes.

For too many people, job interviews are intimidating and nerve-wracking affairs. Whether you’re a recruiter, hiring manager or candidate, the interview process can potentially be a disorganized mess for everyone involved.

Many organizations lack the resources to create efficient and productive interview systems, and ineffective interviews are a major roadblock in the war for talent that’s costing your organization countless hires and thousands of dollars in lost productivity.

No team can afford to fall behind when it comes to hiring great people. At Entelo, we’re constantly learning new ways to improve the way we interact with the people we meet in the hiring process. In building our own great teams, one of the most evident ways to refine that process is by standardizing our interviews. That way, candidates are evaluated along the same guidelines, interviewers avoid asking the same questions, and can leave interviews with the ability to gauge candidates’ fit in different areas. Interviewers are also more equipped with the right talking points to help sell a candidate on the role.

Here’s why a standardized interview is essential to improving your hiring process.

Improved Alignment Between Leadership, Interviewers and Recruiters

Standardized interviews provide consistent alignment by fostering a system for sharing information, feedback, and internal communications. It avoids confusion, keeps everyone on the same page, and gives candidates a more consistent and positive experience.

The ideal interview process is smooth, organized, and fair. Every stakeholder should be informed of the goals and expectations of each interview, including relevant details about candidate’s background, the position for which they are being interviewed, and what kind of feedback is necessary. This is not possible without alignment across the hiring team.

I once lost a stellar candidate because our interviewers weren’t on the same page and wound up describing two different jobs with varying responsibilities and expectations to the candidate. By the time we made an offer, the candidate had decided to move in a different direction, because our opportunity did not seem clear and what they were looking for. This was a completely avoidable mistake, and really incentivized us to have a structured interview process and ensure alignment amongst the hiring team. Alignment keeps those kinds of snafus from popping up.

Better Efficiency and Faster Decision Making

Standardized interviews create efficiency by eliminating unqualified candidates early on and giving qualified candidates an environment where they can best convey why they’re a good fit for a role.

Efficiency is always hard with interviews because so many different people are involved. Interview time limits, standardized questions, feedback forms, and consistent scoring are some interview modifications that allow you to fairly compare candidates. This reduces ambiguity and gives you clear metrics through which you and your hiring managers can make a clear decision at each stage.

By removing ambiguity from your interview process and creating a data-based standard approach, you equip your team to rapidly make hiring decisions and keep candidates in the loop about whether or not they move onto the next stage, something everyone appreciates. Nothing is worse than waiting to hear back from a company about their hiring decision, so you’re also protecting your employer brand from negative Glassdoor reviews.

A Great Candidate Experience

Creating a standardized system designed to create a holistic experience and picture of each candidate is paramount. The first thing to do is standardize your interview questions for each stage (phone screen, initial interview, final interview, etc) and make sure each candidate gets the same amount of time in an interview.

The goal is to build an unbiased process and a positive experience for each candidate. That also means training your interviewers, hiring managers, and other participants in ways to reduce unconscious bias, particularly in their candidate feedback and scoring. It also requires documenting every decision, so that you can track your results and hold team members accountable to ensure each candidate is being evaluated on the same grading scale.The end result is not only that your candidates get a great experience, but that you get valuable, meaningful data about them and their experience.

No hiring team wants to lose a candidate as the result of being unprepared. Likewise, candidates want to know their progress in the hiring process, and that time is valued and respected. A standardized interview process empowers your hiring team members to more quickly and effectively evaluate candidates, while giving candidates the kind of experience they deserve for committing their time and energy to a process defined by its fundamental unpredictability.

Don’t forget to join Amina and our friends at Lever for How to Structure the Interview Process!

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Amina Moinuddin is the first full-time senior business recruiter at Entelo, where she oversees the entire sales and marketing recruiting process and strategy. Previously, she was the 35th employee and the first recruiter at Optimizely. In 2015, partnering with the Sales Director, she successfully grew the Optimizely New York office from 0 to 20 within 9 months and hired for account executives and sales engineers. Amina is a Bay Area native and studied Psychology and Economics at UC Davis.

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