As we’re all well aware of, the battle for top talent is becoming increasingly competitive, costly, and time-consuming. Today, the average job opening takes 52 days to fill and costs an organization $4K. Clearly companies are willing to invest both time and money into recruiting talent for their organization. However, what can they do to hire more efficiently and effectively and ensure they aren’t losing candidates to their competition?

The first place to start is with the interview process as interviewing is an important, if not THE most important, step in the employee selection process. It isn’t fair to say that everyone is excellent at interviewing and making the right hiring decisions. In fact, many interviews are rendered ineffective due to lack of training, inconsistency, and bias. Effective interviewing takes careful planning and effort so that hiring decisions are based on data, not superficial cues. This is why we’ve compiled a list of the 6 key ingredients to improving the interview process.

1.) Create a structured process
A random process produces random results, and using an interview structure is important for several reasons…it gives each candidate a fair evaluation, ensures interviewers connect candidate skills to specific job duties, and helps employers make hiring decisions quickly. To lead an effective interview, you should have a set structure to properly evaluate each candidate and provoke a productive discussion. A clear structure where you’re able to compare the candidate’s answers to the skills required makes it much easier to avoid bias because every interview is comparable.

2.) Provide a great candidate experience
Candidates are craving better experiences. In fact, 60% of job seekers report a negative candidate experience with the employers they engage with and 72% report sharing their negative candidate experiences online (brand demotion alert!). Putting extra effort into creating a great experience for every candidate not only excites new hires, but also attracts a better pool of candidates…AND leaves rejected candidates with a positive view of the company. Providing a great candidate experience can come in various forms, from simplifying the application process to keeping candidates appraised of their application status at set intervals.

Want more insight into how to provide a great candidate experience. Check out our blog one how to take your candidate experience from good to great here.

3.) Prepare interview scorecards
Using an interview scoring system that grades candidates’ responses to each question on a predetermined scale is one way to make a hiring decision based on data, not gut feeling. Establish a rule that interviewers should score candidates during the interview while their memories are still fresh (like we do here at Pillar with live interview feedback). This helps to avoid issues with recency bias...ensuring that you don’t select the candidate that’s freshest in your memory.

4.) Turn your team into “pro” interviewers
Prepared interviewers make the best interviewers! Performing a job and interviewing candidates for a job are two very different skills. Interviewing comes second-nature to anyone in talent acquisition, but what about hiring managers? It’s easy to forget that interviewing is a nuanced skill that requires practice and coaching. This is why training your team on how to be better interviewers is key. Interviewers also need to be armed with the right amount of information on the candidate. It takes less than 5 minutes to provide an overview of the candidate’s background and specific areas to dig into as this ensures your team makes the most out of their limited time with the candidate.

5.) Keep it moving!
The best candidates get offers quickly, typically only staying in the job search market for up to 10 days. Having your interview process planned while acting fast helps you have your pick of applicants before they get snagged by another company. Schedule interviews promptly, and don’t delay in making decisions. While you don’t want to rush, you also don’t want your preferred new hire accepting a different job offer first.

6.) Collaborate with team members at every stage of the interview process
This might not be rocket science, but is surprisingly not done with as much consistency as you might think in a lot of organizations. Post interview collaboration often doesn’t happen because it always feels like there’s just not enough time. The interview is over, and you’re running to the next meeting (or interview). When the interviewing team doesn’t come together at each stage, you lose the opportunity to sort out and gain alignment on what was good or bad about a candidate so that you can apply that to others you are interviewing for the same role. This equates to an unnecessarily elongated interviewing process where you’ll once again miss out on the best talent.

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