Five Steps for Setting Up an Interview Process

the applied companies setting up interview process

Most employers do not spend time thinking about the interviewing process, which can be a strategic error in the long run. Far too often, the process is overly reactive. Interviewers and hiring managers jump to a quick decision and hire one of the first candidates available as opposed to hiring the right candidate. They end up with an unstructured interview process that may or may not net the best candidates.

There’s a real need to use the interview process to identify the best candidates. The cost of employee turnover ranges anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of the position’s annual salary for service sector jobs. For supervisory positions, the cost may be over 100 percent of the annual salary.

Setting up a proactive interview process should be a priority. Establishing a process will increase your success rate in hiring employees with the right fit. Here’s how.

1. Set a firm budget, in both time and money

Setting a firm budget of time and money sends your staff a message that hiring is important and they are expected to spend time on it. It triggers a perception shift.

Budgeting 10 hours per candidate (don’t worry, you’ll get more efficient) is about right for an entry level hire.

In your fiscal budget, be sure to include assessment for personality profiles. These can cost roughly $500 for front-line employees all the way up to $4,000 for some management positions. Simmons includes an interpretation and we have found the cost is well worth the results.

2. Pre-qualify candidates

You need to pre-qualify candidates – and set a plan for where you will look for them. Where will you find candidates consistently? There are companies that can help you with recruiting and staffing. Lead and referrals groups are also a great source.

Qualifying candidates online takes less time than an on-site interview. Initially, a good strategy is to ask candidates open-ended questions with job related scenarios via e-mail. Review how they write, including grammar, spelling, etiquette and tone. Did they think about the responses or cut and paste?

Next, use their resumes to increase the efficiency of the interview. Build interview questions around significant resume accomplishments. For example, a resume says “Increased revenue by 20 percent,” highlight those words and prepare interview questions to dig deep for detail to find how the interviewee took action to increase revenue.

3. Ask behavioral questions

Behavioral questions can help you size up candidates efficiently. Customize questions to your organization and how employees need to fit into your culture. Ensure the list of questions is consistent for every candidate.

4. Use case studies

Test candidates through case studies and scenarios specific to your company. Weave in relevant internal issues (edited for any revealing personal detail). We give candidates real live scenarios from our company and ask candidates to problem solve and present recommendations back to the interview group. Everyone has the same time to put their presentation together. Two days is a doable time frame.

5. Take control of the interview

The worst thing a company can do in an interview is have a candidate sit down and then have your management team ask each other, “Who is starting?” Take control. Show the candidate a unified front. Determine ahead of time which interviewer will start and then who will take charge of each interview step. Delegate who will be taking on the follow up after each interview step so nothing falls through the cracks.

If you are interviewing candidates who live in a different geographic area, you might think of bringing in an interviewer in the candidate’s area of expertise and utilizing video (or other technology) to do a remote interview.

The Importance of a Structured Process

Setting up a process with multiple steps, such as a prequalification interview, behavioral questions, case studies, personality assessment, and then a final interview with a team, provides multiple opportunities for the candidate (and your company) to shine. Your hiring team will also rich data to have a truly meaningful conversation about a candidate.

Note that the process needs to be fluid. Many factors can change the importance of steps in an interview, such as the local, regional and national economy, markets and industries, generational characteristics of candidates and rules and regulations about permissible questions during the interview itself.

Companies strategically plan for everything, and the interview process should not be any different. Planning around the most important action items like the interview process will yield better business results by reducing turnover costs, creating a consistent communications method, setting a good brand image and demonstrating a commitment to the company culture by hiring employees with the best fit.

Is your business looking for a trusted partner in the staffing and recruiting space? The Applied Companies can help your business grow across northern Nevada with our team of staffing, HR and executive search experts. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your team find the right candidates quicker with a structured approach to interviewing.