Tighten Up Your Interview Process

By Bill Ripol on

Funny thing about the first sales candidate I interviewed on my own was that I didn’t know I was going to be interviewing alone. In fact, I wasn’t aware we were having anyone in to interview at all! At the time, we were a small company with only a few formal procedures, one of which was our interview process. When our receptionist let me know there was a sales candidate waiting for me, I was surprised. I did have a notion we were talking to someone about the role, however, wasn’t sure of where we were in the process. My boss was nowhere to be found, and after a brief phone call, I discovered I was on my own for this one. Yikes. While walking the candidate back, I frantically attempted to think of interview questions to ask. The rest flew by in a blur, but in the end, the candidate was hired, quickly became a top performer, and made our President’s Club 12 of his 13 years with the company. 

Tighten Up Your Interview Process

Since that day, I’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates, and as part of a staffing organization, I’ve seen the hiring of several hundred clients. If there is one lesson I’ve learned, it’s that well-thought-out, consistent and tight hiring processes lead to the best hires.

A few best practices regarding hiring processes:

  • Clearly define the stages of the hiring process. We have an internal recruiter who filters through resumes and does the first screening interview. After that, the Area Manager conducts phone and live interviews. And then finally, we invite the candidate to visit our headquarters for a final interview.
  • Outline questions that must be answered at every stage. Our questions are more general at the beginning, focusing on a candidate’s work history and why he or she is in the market for new positions. By the end, our questions are focused on company culture and their understanding of the good, the bad and the ugly parts of the role.
  • Plan for who is involved at each step. Obviously, the recruiter and manager are part of the process, but many companies including ours, like to gather opinions from other people in the organization, especially those who will be working daily with the new hire. Also, have back-ups on deck for cases where primary interviewers are unavailable.
  • Begin with the end in mind. In other words, plan for how an offer or rejection will happen. What are the parameters of the offer if things go well? Who will make the offer? When will the offer be made and how long do candidates have to accept? If candidates are not moving forward, whose job is it to let them know?
  • Be quick, but don’t hurry. Keep things moving through the process in a timely fashion, but don’t skip steps. Candidates lose confidence in the organization if the process drags on too long. At the same time, we’ve seen nothing but problems when we’ve skipped steps in or rushed people through our process. 

Having made and seen a multitude of hiring mistakes, I could probably add 10-20 more best practices, but these are a few that I’ve observed lead to the most successful hires.  Incorporating these into a tight hiring process is a great first step.

Interested in working with TriMech Staffing, but unsure of the process? Download our infographic to see each step of the process.