You've Assembled a Crack Interview Team. Now What?

August 3, 2016 at 8:30 AM Rob Stevenson

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As the legendary French electronic duo Daft Punk famously quip: Our work is never over. Even once you’ve organized your hiring manager and their team to take on secondary roles as interviewers, you can’t just wind them up and watch them go. Interviewing teams need regular calibration to ensure a reliable, repeatable, and accurate assessment of your candidates. Here’s how you can go about tuning up your interview processes to ensure the best candidate experience and most accurate evaluation possible.

Dig In to Individual Reviews

Let’s assume you’ve conquered the challenge of having your team immediately fill out ATS interview scorecards. Some interviewers will naturally be tougher to impress and tend to vote ‘Strong No’, while others get along with everyone and love saying ‘Strong Yes’. You need to weigh these responses in context. A ‘Strong No’ from a strict interviewer shouldn’t be weighed the same as a No from one of your interviewers whose judgment you trust to be impartial.

It’s not enough, though, to merely take ratings with a grain of salt. Often, you can normalize assessment with a thorough kick-off meeting with all relevant parties as soon as the role opens. Make sure to go over what a good answer to some of the interview questions are, what a strong candidate looks like, and what area each interviewer is responsible for evaluating.

Meet 1:1 with Unreliable Interviewers

Interviewing is hard, and most people have never received any sort of training. Even with a strong kick-off meeting, your team probably will not be armed for a great interview. As you start to get a sense of how interviewers are performing, point the weaker ones back to the original assessment success criteria, and learn what sort of questions they’re asking to evaluate. For example, if interviewers are consistently rejecting candidates, learn how they’re gauging a candidate’s answers as unsatisfactory. What would someone need to show that interviewer to earn their vote of “Strong Yes”?

Make it clear with interviewers what their specific role in the cycle is. Many interviewers aren’t being asked to determine “Should we hire this person?”, but rather “Are they competent in this specific area?”, which is to say voting ‘Yes’ doesn’t mean ‘Hire’ but simply that the candidate passed their section of the interview.

When you take the burden of the final hiring decision off the individual contributor, you facilitate more focused and meaningful reviews.

Shadow Novice Interviewers

Sit in with your weaker interviewers and meet the candidate together so you can observe how your colleague handles the conversation. Even better, pair them with stronger interviewers to encourage them to learn what a well-rounded and reliable assessment looks like. It’s crucial, of course, to explain to the candidate what you’re up to, and to be transparent about how your org is working to improve the interviewing process and each candidate’s experience.

Shadowing weak interviewers can be hugely beneficial not just to your organization’s interview process, but to your own technical knowledge and coaching ability as well. Take this opportunity to learn some nitty gritty specifics of the role you’re hiring for, and take your learnings about how to conduct meaningful interviews to your future kick-off meetings.

Your interview process is just that – a process. Keep fine tuning your kick-off meetings, coaching your interviewers, and ironing out logistics until every role has a streamlined, repeatable, scalable procedure.

Related articles:

What Happens When You Standardize Your Interview Process
Why Sourcing Parties Are Your New Best Way to Find Talent
3 Recruiting Metrics That Don't Tell the Whole Story

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