Interview Processes have both evolved and regressed during my 16 Years in Recruiting. During this time, I have identified several key differentiators between companies who consistently land their top choice candidates and those who consistently let their abysmal interview processes drive candidates away.
The thing that most interviewers do not realize, or maybe they just disregard due to ego issues, is that a Really Good or Really Bad interview process can and will “GO Viral”! Candidates talk to other candidates, who talk to other candidates, and the cycle continues. The Really Good and the Really Bad experiences travel equally through these channels.
What makes a Really Good interview process AND why does the word spread?
- Rapid response to ALL quality candidates even if they are not the perfect fit for the position. Growing companies understand they will have new positions and attrition, so creating a relationship and positive reputation of responsiveness, will lead to great word-of-mouth about the organization.
- Efficient Processes. Let’s face it…4,5,6 or more interview steps become exhausting and like most things, human beings tend to lose interest, energy or hope that landing “this job” might ever become a reality. Some positions or company cultures require more human touches or interaction with various departments, so the steps may be 100% necessary, but the companies who ensure rapid feedback between steps and little passage of time remain in a positive light even if they have a more arduous process than others. Minimize steps and do panel interviews whenever possible to minimize disruption for candidates.
- Open Compensation Discussions. In this day and age when it has become “illegal” to ask someone what they currently earn, it is even more imperative that companies are up front about what salary, bonus or benefits an offer might yield AND they should know what a candidate will Need or Want, to make a change. Having a reputation of giving candidates what they want, after a competitive interview process is a major part of establishing a great reputation. More candidates will be willing to take the shot and spend the time as they are not concerned about a potential bait and switch at the end.
- Positive Interviewers ONLY Please! Companies who enjoy the benefit of being Really Good interviewers are very thoughtful about who they include in a process and their positive delivery. This is an opportunity to sell the company and culture directly to a strong professional who will share this with other strong professionals…leave “negative Nancy” in her cubical.
- Share The Game Plan. Most hiring managers or process leaders have a clear plan in place for the interview process; share it in the first interview if you really like the candidate. If a candidate knows the process will take 3 weeks due to vacations or interviewer travel, etc, they can mentally plan for this. Additionally, this gives candidates an avenue to let you know that they are getting close to an offer and you may want to Pivot and adjust the process to ensure you have a shot at landing the candidate.
- Always Be Able to Pivot. We all would like to conduct text book processes with the appropriate amount of interviews, references, etc, however, timing does not always allow for this. Companies who are able to pivot and cut the red-tape and fast track their process for a prized candidate often steal the show! If a candidate has been rotting away in a 3,4,5 week process at a competitor and finally gets an offer COMPARED to your company who feels “love at first sight”, and makes an offer within days of engaging each other, there is a level of excitement that comes with that and often gives an edge. The perception that an Executive leader, who needs to sign off or do a final meeting, is just too busy to address the hire, really says a lot about the importance of the position and the interest in the candidate.
- Have a Rainy Day Hiring Fund. A good company will NEVER lose a candidate over a few thousand dollars, a few days of vacation or more expensive benefits. The job market is, just that, a market. Candidate prices go up and down and there are many variables. Internal Equity is a damning concept and often handcuffs hiring managers if their companies have a deficiency in a certain compensation or benefit area. A little extra CASH or PTO can generally level the playing field. Companies with this Rainy Day Fund appear very reasonable and get credit for a very positive employee-focused culture even if just making adjustments that impact the business minimally.
- Make Sure Testing / Case Studies are Meaningful & Necessary. Technical acumen is often the most difficult thing to evaluate in an interview process. Many companies implement Testing or Case Study measures to assist with this challenge. Be sure to empathize when rolling out one of these measures and take into account the amount of time necessary to complete and the real relevance of the deliverable. Candidates shouldn’t be doing Free consulting work, for instance. Many successful hiring companies have these measures…but frankly many do not…candidates ALWAYS cringe when it comes to these mechanisms so make it as painless as possible.
- Make a Verbal Offer AND Get the Offer Documents out FAST! The Really Good interviewers get offer packages out within 24-48 hours of a verbal offer. And yes…GIVE A VERBAL OFFER delivered by a real human being! Whether an external recruiter, an HR Leader or the Hiring Manager delivers the offer, this is a huge step for the candidate and human touch is critical. Unexpectedly receiving an e-mail or Fed Ex package with offer terms without at least prefacing for what to expect is an antiquated execution. It seems final and non-negotiable and can create misconceptions or even close doors if something isn’t clear in writing OR maybe certain policies do not apply to this candidate. The Winners deliver verbally and quickly back it all up in writing!
If you want your company’s positions, reputation and reasonable interview process to “GO Viral”! I strongly encourage Hiring Process Leaders to take a good look in the mirror at why you are winning and why you are losing. Text Book and Practical Application are two different things. Certainly my favorite clients have robust interview processes and high close rates and those clients ALWAYS get the most attention from both Candidates and External Recruiters!
If you are in charge of hiring for your company and you would like to discuss your hiring process and how you might improve things, just message me at BPiotrowski@TheLegacySearch.com and I’m happy to help you evaluate and make positive improvements! I have seen and worked with both the Winners and the Losers…BE THE WINNER!
Brian Piotrowski is a 15+ Year Recruiting Expert whose firm, Legacy Search Advisors, provides Concierge Level Placement Services to Accounting, Finance, Banking, Legal, Human Resources and Administrative Professionals Across the US with Special Focus on Family Offices, Venture Capital, Private Equity & Their Portfolio Companies, and Closely Held Family Owned Businesses.
Prior to his recruiting career, Brian spent time with a Top-10 International CPA Firm & worked for an entrepreneurial company as an Assistant Controller which built his strong foundation and credibility to successfully place more than 1,000 Accounting & Finance Professionals SO FAR in his career. He is excited to bring his network and experiences to a greater variety of career disciplines throughout the US with his new firm!