HOW TO BUILD YOUR INTERVIEW PROCESS AND HIRE FOR IMPACT

Learn how to make your Interview Process a secret weapon that will make top talent choose you over the competition.

INTERVIEW PROCESS
interview process
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WELCOME TO THE NEW WORLD OF HIRING

PICK YOUR FAVORITE SONG.

Any song. Do you know how it came to life? How it was structured?

Probably not unless you’re a musician. But every successful song is built on a carefully thought-out structure. What key it is in. Where the breaks are. When to transition.  The chorus and the overall arrangement.

IT’S ALL PART OF A DELIBERATE PROCESS.

But as a listener you just know it works. And that’s all that matters.

Getting talent onboard your company requires no less structure than crafting a great song. It requires a process to really work.

What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Do you know why?

Finding and hiring transformative talent has become more important than ever. And if you think recruiting agencies and job boards are making it easier, you couldn’t be more wrong. You need a killer hiring strategy.

In the following pages Key Hire Recruiting Solutions is going to open your eyes to what REALLY matters and why you need a solid interview process to guarantee successful hiring results.

PUT SIMPLY, YOU’RE GOING TO LEARN HOW TO BUILD A KILLER INTERVIEW PROCESS AND MAKE YOUR INTERVIEWING ROCK!

SURVEY SAYS...

When you look at the dynamics of recruiting and hiring by the numbers, you can begin to better understand the importance of discipline, your interview process and long-term vision.

Still, the fact is that hiring is just not in the wheelhouse of most small business owners and leaders like you.

Nor should it be. You have other things to worry about. But for perspective, here are some interesting stats to help frame the dynamics at play today.

HERE'S WHY YOU NEED A SOLID INTERVIEW PROCESS TO MAKE GREAT HIRES.

Bad hires cost you time, money and more often than not create problems within your company’s culture. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. The problem usually results from not having a correct, consistent, controlled and considerate process that allows you to make the smartest, most informed decision based on facts with minimal bias and a way to make valid comparisons from one candidate to another.

What follows is a proven interview process that will minimize your investment of both time and money and maximize your hiring results.

INTERVIEWING IN THE KEY OF "C": CREATING AN INTERVIEW PROCESS THAT WORKS.

Having a clearly defined and easy to execute interview process is essential to landing “Key Hires” that fit your culture, can make positive contributions and have the leadership skills, expertise and a savvy understanding of your DNA to take you and your business to the next level.

A recruitment process is an organization-specific model to source, contact, interview and hire candidates based on a clearly defined set of expectations, requirements and a consistent method of evaluating potential transformational talent.

This document will focus on the bottom of the funnel, the “Hire” section
  • 1

    Identify the need

    Somebody just quit! Need identified.

  • 2

    Advertise the Position

    Take the job description and put it on every free or cheap job board you can find.

  • 3

    Hire

    Start reviewing the avalanche of applicants that you receive online, prescreen, interview, draft and present offers, onboard etc.

interview process

We will be hyper focused on Part 1, the Interview Process.

Nothing else matters unless you have a world-class interviewing process as your foundation. Without it, the efforts put into crafting the perfect job description, the hours spent sifting through applicant or the questions you ask in the interview don’t matter – at all.

Every organization and company is different. What works well for one company may not work well for you. That’s why the ability to be self-aware is a crucial component of the interviewing process. You can’t do what sounds like it might work within your organization. You must do what DOES work.

After all, it’s your sheet music for success.

In short, you want to:
  1. Maximize your potential to make the very best hire possible.
  2. Minimize the time you spend recruiting.

At Key Hire we want to make sure you are always using the correct process, a consistent process, that you are in control of the process and that you’re being considerate of the candidate throughout the process. We believe to have a successful search we need to “Interview in the Key of C”, which is comprised of four primary components:

interview process

CORRECT INTERVIEW PROCESS

OKAY, SO, HERE’S WHERE THE PICK MEETS THE STRINGS.

If you're thinking, "I don't know how to conduct an interview?" Or, "What does the correct process mean?" As we just covered, that may be different from company to company but the specific components that guide the development of that process don’t.

The first step is to make sure you’re doing it right – that your process is correct.

And the guiding principles of being Exhaustive and Efficient are critical to creating the correct process; one that works for you.

BE EXHAUSTIVE.

You might think being efficient and being exhaustive is contradictory. The opposite is true — they are two sides of the same process coin. So, make sure you do your homework to create the right process.

Being Exhaustive means that you include all the elements you actually need; nothing more, nothing less. But we don’t want a shortcut. We need to make sure we’re using the right elements at the right times of the interview process.

If you have an assessment that you know, like, and trust, include it. If you’ve had success conducting group or panel interviews, include them. But, remember, it’s not one size fit’s all. Your exhaustive process for an entry or hourly employee will look different than your process for a manager or director level positions.

interview process

BE EFFICIENT.

Your process has to be efficient so your time is not wasted. We never present prospects that we don’t believe are at least an 80% match for you. But efficiency doesn’t mean cutting corners. It means doing the least to get the best result. Smartly and with purpose. Ideally, we want no longer than 10 days from contact to onboarding. You read that right; 10 days. Any longer and you’ll miss out on the best people for your job. If you’re in love with a candidate, so is at least one of your competition (probably more).

Why is that important? 60% of applicants quit the process because it takes too long. Now here’s a common misconception for you. Most executives think if they have a job, we don’t need to be in a hurry.

“THEY HAVE A JOB, WE’RE GOOD. WE CAN TAKE OUR TIME.”

The reality is as soon as you become an inconvenience to someone who has a job they go you know what? They say goodbye. What part of the employment pool do you think those people represent? The best, worst or the middle? The best people are off the market in two weeks. So remember that we want to give ourselves the highest probability of making the best hire. Never lose on time, being efficient as a business owner, is a no-brainer.

THE KEY HIRE SECRET SAUCE.

This is part of my secret sauce. The process I use for every candidate and position with every client I work with. Every candidate goes through a variation of this process with me.

The idea of creating the Correct process for your business is that you invest the minimum amount of time in each step qualifying the candidate and only invest more time if the meet the criteria for the next step.

Pre-Screen 15 minutes

Quick call to determine the size and scope of their experience ONLY. Do they have what we need.

Phone Interview 30 – 60 minutes

This is the interview where you dive deeper into their experience to establish if they can do what they say they can do, explore if they are a culture fit and determine if they have the capacity you need.

Assessments

If you use assessments, you’ll want to add them here – for two reasons. The first one is (I’ll explain the 2nd in the next section) is that you want to keep the candidate in motion.

In Person Interview 2 – 4 hours

Now that you’ve determine that they have what you need… you can invest true man-hours into the process by bringing them in for the in-person interviews and facility tour.

PUT THE “CORRECT INTERVIEW PROCESS” INTO PRACTICE AND SEE HOW WE CAN BE EXHAUSTIVE AND EFFICIENT

  • 1

    Monday

    15-minute prescreen.

  • 2

    Thursday

    45 – 60-minute in-depth Phone Interview.

  • 3

    Thursday/Friday

    Send out assessment to be done over the weekend. Even though you are not physically interviewing the candidate, they are still engaged with you and thinking of your company. They are still in motion!

  • 4

    Monday

    Review of Assessment Results and Interview Notes.

  • 5

    Wednesday/Thursday

    On-Site In Person Interview.

interview process

And there you have it. We just completed an exhaustive interview process that includes all required steps in less than 10-days. Mission accomplished.

Here are critical things to keep in mind to make sure your process is as comprehensive as the position demands.

      • You don’t want to waste your valuable time that can be spent elsewhere in the business. So, make a schedule and stick to it.
      • Create the right process for each specific position – the roles and duties of line-level employees are markedly different than a senior executive. Your process should reflect those differences.
      • Use all the tools you need to for each position. Assessments, you include what you need too. If you use assessments, include them, make sure if certain people need to speak with candidates, include them.
THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO LOSE ON SPEED.
Taking too long to hire is the #1 reason people drop out of your process or worse, take a job with the competition.

The ROI on being efficient is HUGE. It doesn’t cost you a penny (it’s free to be efficient) and will give you a clear advantage over your competition.

CONSISTENT INTERVIEW PROCESS

So, our next “tune” in the Key of C is “Consistent”.

Once you have established a correct process, you have to be sure to keep it consistent. You have to have the same people asking the same questions in the same order. Essentially you want to get two things out this approach:

  1. Minimizing any interviewing bias.
  2. Create a baseline for what good and bad answers interview answers look like for your business and culture.

MINIMIZE BIAS

Good moods. Bad moods. We all have them, but the interviewing process is no time for “moods” of any kind. You need to be objective as humanly possible. A consistent interview process will minimize bias considerably.

For example, you might “like” somebody and lob them softball questions. And even if they mess up, you may falsely feel that you were impressed with the content and context of their answer.

On the other hand, if you’re in a bad mood and don’t like somebody at first glance, you may ask some really hard questions which allows you to flail away and then say there’s no way we can hire them. We will never fully eliminate bias but you can minimize it greatly. Think about it.

 

CREATE A BASELINE

Consistency is king when it comes to hiring for culture fit. And, having the same people asking the same question in each part of your interview process is key to identifying people that fit your company’s DNA and people that don’t. You will be able to invest your time in the right candidates and save countless hours interviewing the wrong ones.

If you gave all of your best employees a series of the same questions, you will see common themes in their answers. The same is true of your worst employees. If you have the same person, ask the same questions in the same order to enough candidates, they will be able to create a mental database, key into a candidates answers and get an idea if they align with the your company’s mission, vision and most importantly your culture.

“IF YOU INCLUDE PEOPLE IN YOUR INTERVIEW PROCESS,
ONLY INCLUDE YOUR BEST PEOPLE. "  

If you include people in your process, here’s a little pro tip for you: only include your best people. If people get hurt feelings, that’s not the worse thing in the world.

But when you hire important people in the business, the only people who should ever talk to them are your best people because they know what they’re looking for in terms of culture fit. Bad employees will either try to sour the candidate or sabotage the interview. I have seen it happen live and in person.

At the end of the day, keep things on an equal footing and you will glean better information to make better decisions. I have interviewed a lot of people and gave them the same pre-screen and after that 15 minutes together, I can get a good indication based on my baseline if this is a good candidate or not.

PUT A “CONSISTENT INTERVIEW PROCESS” INTO PRACTICE AND SEE HOW WE CAN HAVE THE SAME PERSON, ASK THE SAME QUESTIONS IN THE SAME ORDER…

  1. Make sure the same person in your company conduct all prescreens so they can create a baseline for what to look for.
  2. Ensure the same person who does the prescreening, do the second interview and dive deeper into the candidate’s experience and, more importantly, if they are a culture fit for your business.
  3. Have candidates take assessments before scheduling onsite interviews so you can review the results from an unbiased position
  4. When you bring them onsite, make sure you include the same people in the process for each position. Don’t mix and match interviewers – keep them the same for each position.
  5. Only include your best people because they know what good people look like. Your worst employees will sour the candidate or sabotage the process.
interview process

ASSESSMENT BEFORE IN-PERSON MEETINGS – POINT #2

Earlier I mentioned there were two reasons I conduct any assessments prior to meeting a candidate in-person. The second reason is that it minimizes any personal bias you might have after meeting in person.

You want to avoid falling “in-love” with a candidate after meeting them in-person and overlooking assessments results that don’t align with the role or results you’re looking for.

By having a candidate take the assessment prior to an in-person meeting you can review the information from both the interviews and assessment from an unbiased viewpoint and make a more informed (and less emotional) decision.

CONTROLLED INTERVIEW PROCESS

The next “C” to take control of the process.

What do we want to control? Two things: the conversations and the communication.
Having control over these two key elements not only ensures you get the best responses but also guides the interview so YOU get as much information about the candidate directly FROM the candidate.

Have you ever started an phone screen interview like this?

“HEY, GREAT TO MEET YOU! LET ME TELL YOU A BIT ABOUT MYSELF AND OUR COMPANY.”

A savvy interviewer will parrot back what you told them and you will think, “You get me! This is great!”

How did that work out for you? Not so good, right?

CONTROL THE CONVERSATION

First, do NOT start off by telling your candidate all about you and your company. They are there so that YOU can evaluate THEM. You can rest assured that by the time you are having a conversation your prospective hire already knows who you are, what you do and what the company is all about. So what we say is that you need to “ask first, talk second.”

You want answers. And if you talk first you may give smart candidates all they need to control the conversation to impress you.

Just. Don’t. Talk. First.

I’ve found that business owners aren’t comfortable sitting across from a stranger and asking them personal questions. They feel the need to gain the candidates trust. And, they do that by building rapport. By telling all about themselves and their company. They talk first and ask second.

I start every prescreen I do with the script below. You can use it to get a candidate to give you permission to ask them questions without building rapport and trust.

“Thanks for taking time to schedule a call with me today, I know you’re busy.
I asked you for 15-minutes and to stay on schedule I’d like to start with you and get a high-level overview of your background and experience. I have a few questions.

Then I’ll tell you all about our opportunity and after that we can talk about next steps together.”

A whole bunch of stuff happened there.

You have:

  1. Thanked them for their time. Flattery will get you everywhere!
  2. Let them know “we only have 15 minutes, I want to honor that time so I’d like to start with you and learn a little about your background and experience. I have some questions for you.”
  3. Made them a part of the process by saying, “I will tell you all about the role and together we will talk about next steps.”

They know what’s happening in the 15 minutes and they feel respected and involved. You’ve been polite and laid out the agenda. And, 99% of the time the candidate will say “Perfect! What questions do you have for me?”

They just gave you permission to “ask first and talk second.”

 

CONTROL THE COMMUNICATION

Communication with your candidates at every step is critical to creating a good impression and let your candidates know what is happening at each stage of the interviewing process. You want them to feel wanted and involved and that you are fully engaged.

And the communication is basically always keeping a candidate informed about what’s happening next. So what is the timeline, what can they expect? We always want to control that communication and that gets really important, because 60% of candidates say that communication would have made the experience a lot better.

Here is a script you can use to Control the Communication with a candidate you want to move through the process.

“Thank you for taking time today to talk. I like what I hear so far. I’d like to schedule a 45-60 – minute telephone call with you so we can take a deeper dive into your background and expertise.”

“If that goes well (and I believe it will), then we would invite you here for an on-site interview so I can meet with you, give you a tour and, you can meet the team and see our culture in action. How does that sound?”

It’s a fact:

A candidate who leaves your process because they weren’t communicated with or feels they were treated unfairly is 3.5x less likely to ever apply to your company again. Now I don’t know about you guys, but in this labor market, can you afford to have people on the street never wanting to apply to you again and tarnish your reputation?

I didn’t think so.

So, at any stage of the process, if you won’t move forward with them, you need to let them know that.

This is what controlling the process is all about: controlling both the conversation AND the communication.

PUT A “CONTROLLED INTERVIEW PROCESS” INTO PRACTICE AND SEE HOW TO CONTROL THE CONVERSATIONS AND COMMUNICATION…

  1. Ask First and Talk Second at every stage of the interview process to get clean data/information from the candidate.
  2. Inform the candidate of next steps and timelines at every step of the process.
  3. If at any time you feel a candidate isn’t a good fit, let them know, immediately. It’s hard, but they will thank you for letting them know and, I’ve had occasions where they have referred someone who is a better fit.
interview process

NEVER, EVER JUST “WING IT.”

You need a consistent, controlled and well-developed structure to guide how you interview. You need benchmarks to compare potential hires to each other against a standard that is fair and equal. To do that you need to be in control of the interviewing process from start to finish.

CONSIDERATE INTERVIEW PROCESS

The final “C” in our Key of C interviewing regiment stands for “considerate”.

What do we put our candidates through? How do we treat them? Are we respectful … are we considerate?

This is perhaps the most overlooked yet most important element of the interviewing dynamic. “How” we engage and treat them is even more important than “what” we talk to them about in many ways.

Have you ever received a resume on a Monday, got really excited and called the candidate right away?

“Hey how are you? It’s Corey, do you have a minute to talk? I just got your resume. Can you come in tomorrow afternoon and meet with me?”

 

They make it happen and show up the next day. You have a great interview and then you say, “Hey, this has been great. Can you come back tomorrow and meet with my partner (or the department manager or our HR person?”

Let’s try to understand what we just asked the candidate to go through.

First of all, we called them blindly, without giving them notice and started talking. Their boss could have been standing beside them.

Then we say can you come in and meet with us tomorrow? If they have a fulltime job, what arrangements will they have to make to come in and meet with us tomorrow?

They’ve got to take time off work. And, it’s probably PTO, or, time that they had earmarked to go on a vacation or spend with their family. We’ve essentially said, “Can you take your money and time and invest it in us?

Now that they are planning to take a ½ day off, they need to have a conversation with their boss. What are they going to have to do in that conversation? They’ll have to lie to their boss.

High integrity people don’t like to lie.

If they show up to work dressed up the next day, what’s the joke going to be? Going for an interview? So some people might have to change in the car.

They don’t know where you’re located and where the parking is. They don’t know where to go or who to ask for. There’s a lot of anxiety and stress.

And after they’ve gone through all of that, you say, “Can you do that for me again tomorrow?”

UNDERSTAND THEM.

Our best prospects already have a job. And any time they take away from that job means you are infringing on their personal, vacation or family time and possibly creating an uncomfortable situation at their current job.

You have to understand their situation and respect them and their time.

ACCOMMODATE THEM

So, don’t make demands on their time. Find ways to accommodate their schedules. Don’t make them feel ANY pressure to take time off their current job and perhaps arouse suspicion.

The bottom line here is:

You want to give your candidates the very best experience, and that starts long before they talk with you or arrive at your company for a live interview. You never, ever want to lose out on a great new hire because of a negative experience.

Understand their situation and accommodate their needs and schedules and you are well on your way to framing up a great experience they will remember. Don’t forget that you’re a small business — they don’t know what to expect and then you blow them away with this amazing candidate experience where you’re being considerate and understanding and accommodating them at every level. That’s the goal here.

PUT BEING “CONSIDERATE” INTO PRACTICE AND SEE HOW WE CAN UNDERSTAND AND ACCOMMODATE…

  1. Always email or text a candidate to schedule a prescreen – don’t call them blindly
  2. Conduct your second in-depth interview via telephone when it is convenient for them.
  3. Only ever ask a candidate to come onsite ONE TIME. If they are taking a ½ day off work, use that time and have them visit for 2,3 or 4 hours. But, only do it one time.
  4. If a key stakeholder is unable to be present for the onsite meeting… it is their responsibility to find time to meet the candidate on the candidate’s terms. They can arrange a telephone call or travel to them and meet over coffee/lunch.
interview process

THE LAST WORD...

Let’s recap briefly. Ask yourself these questions:

Is this the correct process, efficient and exhaustive? Is it consistent? Will you have the same people asking the same questions in the same order? Will you control the conversations on how the process will work at your company? And is it considerate? Are we understanding and accommodating the candidates knowing they have jobs and obligations and we don’t want to inconvenience them or we want to meet them on their terms?

The chances are that your interview process is lagging in some of these areas. but it’s never too late to get the process under control and …

MAKE YOUR RECRUITING ROCK!

interview process

ABOUT KEY HIRE RECRUITING SOLUTIONS

Most small business owners/operators we talk to say that “finding and hiring the right talent” is their biggest barrier to growth.

Business owners and executive leaders struggle with recruiting because they don’t have the time to invest in the process, know where to go to find the specialized talent they need or have insight into how it all works (or is supposed to work).

Many turn to recruitment agencies for help and soon learn that they are largely ineffective because they are unable to address your needs for three main reasons.

They:

  1. Are highly expensive
  2. Don’t understand your business or your specific needs
  3. Aren’t effective in the long run and drain your time

Key Hire is the “anti-agency” model.

It was created specifically to serve small and Mid-Market business owners and operators and offer them a solution that is strategic, long-term and cost effective.

We offer you an “In-Sourced” partnership. Think of it as having a Fractional Director of Recruitment.

We understand that paying a big recruitment fee doesn’t make sense for you.

So, we’ve developed a model that allows you to have a small, manageable fixed monthly cost on your P&L – with no surprise fees – ever.

On average, our clients interview 1.8 candidates per offer and spend 4-6 hours per hire. Which is well below the industry average of 8-20 interviews per offer and 30-40 hours per hire. We want you to spend your valuable time running your business.

With Key Hire, you’ll never have to settle for good enough. We use our proprietary process to Target, Engage and Hire candidates with the skills, expertise and work ethic you need to grow your business.

OUR PROMISE TO YOU

We will:
  1. Value your time. We do all the work up-front, so you only need to show up for final interviews and make a hiring decision.
  2. Maximize your recruiting dollars and minimize your time. Our job is to make sure you get the absolute best recruiting value: High Impact Talent.
We will only bring you people that:
        • Offer Capacity
        • Drive Performance
        • Enhance Culture

WANT TO LEARN MORE? LET’S TALK!

If you’re poised to make the move to the big stage, give us a call or hit us up with an email. We’d love to help you develop the tools to recruit High-Impact Talent (HIT®} that will make your business rock!

WANT TO LEARN MORE? LET'S TALK.

Learn how to attract and hire the people you need by booking your Free 30-minute Consulting Call below.