How to Control Your Interview Process

One of the greatest struggles hiring managers face is balancing the interview process with their core day-to-day responsibilities. No matter how high a priority hiring is and how prepared you may be, interviewing often feels like just another task added to everything else. One of the most useful skills you can learn as a hiring manager is how to keep your process as efficient and effective as possible. We often see hiring managers make the same mistakes that result in drawn-out interview processes or complications with the candidates they want to hire. Here are few key rules to keep in mind that will help you run a successful interview process:

Have a precise definition of the candidates you need, then understand how available they are. Searching for a competent candidate to learn the day-to-day responsibilities of a job is very different from targeting a candidate with a specific skill set. Understanding what kinds of candidates you need and their availability in the market will help determine how quickly you should make decisions on viable candidates. The scarcer the skill set/profile of your target candidate, the faster and more competitive your interview and offer processes need to be. If you’re working with an internal talent acquisitions specialist or external recruitment firm, it’s important to communicate your needs as clearly and early in the process as possible. If there’s wiggle room on a candidate’s experience, explain how much.

Build a cadence. Set aside specific times/days to review candidates and hold interviews. If you’re working with a firm or an internal talent acquisitions team, set a schedule. Designate a specific day you will receive resumes and provide feedback. Choose a window of days and times open for interviews. The more structure you can create around your interview cadence, the less it will interrupt your day-to-day responsibilities.

Do not stop interviewing new candidates for any single candidate. The largest mistake hiring managers make is pausing the interview process to see through a candidate identified as viable. Interviewing new candidates should not stop until you have at least two viable candidates in interview stages beyond the first step. Not only will this practice ensure you have consistent backup plans, but it will also promote proper vetting so you can hire the best candidate – not just the first suitable one. Remember, with more than one choice in play, you are less beholden to the requests of any single candidate. In a market as competitive as today’s, more and more candidates are accepting counteroffers, receiving multiple offers or requiring high compensation packages. These realities can put your search at risk and force you to start from scratch if you have not continued interviewing new candidates.

It’s important to keep in mind that you’re buying one of the most unpredictable products: a person’s time and skills. There will always be aspects of the interview process you can’t control as a hiring manager, so it’s important to focus on what you can control. Steps like these help you develop a blueprint to maintain an efficient interview process that will prepare you for any scenario.

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