Why the interview process is so vital to a scaling business and how to improve it

7 October 2021

Job interviews are arguably the most essential part of the recruitment process. It’s a crucial time for you to learn more about the candidate and how well they’ll fit into your organisation but also for them to learn more about you and the role they’ve applied for. Whether you’re interviewing face to face or virtually, it’s often the first real opportunity for conversation between candidate and employer. Interviews significantly impact the overall candidate experience and how you are perceived as an employer. Done well, an interview can leave candidates desperate to work for you, but if not, they could be damaging to your employer brand and reputation.

Now, as we’re in such a competitive market, businesses of all sizes need to actively refine and streamline their interview process. With tech talent becoming harder to attract by the day, if you have a candidate who makes it through to interview, you cannot afford for them to drop off due to a clunky, unprofessional or lengthy interview process. The last thing a talent acquisition professional needs is a great, qualified candidate leaving the recruitment process early and putting them back to square one, especially in a scaling business when time is tight. Reasons a candidate could leave the interview process include; poor technology, not getting a good enough feel for the employer brand, closed off or non-inclusive interview panels or even lengthy interviews, which involve many stages and tasks which take up candidate time.

When you’re trying to scale, your senior teams don’t have time to interview candidates constantly. They have other priorities. If your interview process isn’t up to scratch, you may find yourself in a cycle of candidates dropping out halfway through and restarting the hiring process all over again.

In a candidate-driven market, you also need to leverage the interview process to show what’s great about your business. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that every candidate you interview is desperate to work for you; you’re just one option of many in the current market. Instead, think about how you can sell yourself to the candidates. Perfecting your interview process creates consistency within the candidate experience, helping to get your employer brand message across. As a scaling business without reputation and name to fall back on, employer brand is everything and will make the difference for candidates. And when it comes to employer branding, consistency and authenticity are key.

 Your company culture will entice candidates, and so you need to show this at every opportunity, including throughout the interview process. Use your interview panel to demonstrate a diverse range of employees who work for you. Use the format and questions to reflect who you are as a business rather than just reverting to the default interview style with no personality. Remember, a data scientist is a data scientist. Anyone qualified can do the job, but not everyone can fit into your organisation. Therefore, promoting your culture and showcasing your employer brand at the interview stage will help you to sell yourself to candidates and allow them to determine whether they’d be a good cultural fit as well as you. In doing this, you’ll find talented people that connect with your company culture and are likely to stay with you for the long haul.

Even at the first stage, you need to leave an interview knowing a candidate is a right fit for you, and similarly, they need to leave feeling like your business would be a good fit for them. Refining your interview process to ensure that you sell your company and find out as much information as possible about the candidate will help this become a reality. The last thing busy hiring managers want is to leave an interview regretting the questions they didn’t get a chance to ask.

So, here are our tips on improving the interview experience to benefit both your business and the candidates:

Build a quantifiable interview process

Scaleups and startups should take the time to build a quantifiable interview process to make it more time-efficient. This includes establishing the questions or type of question that will be asked and how to score the candidates. The quality of hires is an indicator of the success of your interview process, from the questions asked to the nature of the interviews and panel. You must also keep evaluating it over time to identify areas for improvement. When hiring at scale, you need to be more efficient with the resources used, and this means having a quantifiable way of scoring candidates and ranking the best fit for the job. Not only will this approach free up your immediate team’s time, but it will also limit the time you’re taking away from candidates. They’ll find out if they’re successful a lot more quickly, which will enhance your employer brand. Even if they didn’t get the job, no one likes to be kept waiting.

Train and prep your team

You can’t just expect your senior team to go into an interview and find the perfect candidate for you. Firstly, they all need to be on the same page regarding the individual you’re looking for, so make sure all of the interview panel are briefed on the skills and qualities that are most important to the role. In addition, creating a list of ideal things to look out for and a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities will help and inform leadership team members who may work in other departments.

You also need to create guidelines that ensure that your interview panel reflects your employer brand throughout the process. A job interview is often the first real-life glimpse a candidate has of your business, and therefore, you’re selling yourselves to them just as much as they’re selling themselves to you. Consequently, you need to ensure that the employer brand image you promoted through your careers page, social media and recruitment professionals is reflected in the interview. Otherwise, candidates will notice inconsistencies in your company culture, which will likely deter them from accepting a job. It’s a huge red flag!

At Talent Works, we work with some of the world’s most exciting scaleups and startups to help them surround themselves with outstanding talent. We source and attract talent through various techniques and help businesses discover the best elements of their workplace culture, which can be translated into an EVP and Employer Brand. 

If you’d like help attracting tech talent in this competitive market, contact us and see how we can help.

You can also view our services and work here to see how our flexible approach to RPO has helped many companies to surround themselves with talent.

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