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Interview process: The right structure to hire the best employees

An insightful interview can help you hire candidates who will contribute to your company’s growth

6-minute read

Take the hassle out of hiring by creating a seamless interview process designed to put a spotlight on the best candidates.

How do I select the best applicants to interview?

After you’ve created a job description, post it in places where good candidates are most likely to see it. To get the most traffic, it’s best to post the job on a hiring site such as Indeed or LinkedIn.

“If the position requires specific, niche skills, you might look at other websites that cater to your industry or the type of role you’re filling,” says Lina Carriero, Senior Advisor, Talent Acquisition at BDC.

She suggests reviewing every resume that comes your way and assessing their qualifications and experience against the criteria you outlined in the job description. Consider how different skills could enhance the role or add an enriching perspective.

Diversity is important for any company’s growth. You don’t want everyone to think exactly the same way. It’s much more vibrant to look for people who can enhance your company culture and thinking.

What should our interview process look like?

Once you’ve found candidates you’d like to know more about, choose a few dates and times to conduct interviews. When reaching out to applicants, Lina Carriero suggests giving them a few options so they can manage their schedule.

“Once the interview is set, send out a confirmation email including the date, time and physical address—or link to an online platform if the interview will be virtual—plus the interviewer’s name and title,” she says. “It’s important that the candidate knows who

they’re meeting, especially if there will be more than one interviewer. It allows them to prepare questions and reduces the stress of not knowing what to expect.”

How should I prepare before the interview?

Take time to consider the right questions before inviting candidates to an interview. They should include broad, open-ended questions such as, “Why did you apply to this position? and “What are your main strengths?” as well as job-specific, situational questions that ask them to share what they would do in the role.

If you’re assembling an interview panel, be sure to coordinate with the other interviewers so it’s clear who’s asking what and in what order.

During the interview, how can I determine a candidate’s fit with the role, the team and the company culture?

It’s tough to assess everything you need to know to make an informed decision in one interview. Carriero says it’s best to rely on the questions you’ve prepared and focus on being a present and active listener.

“You’ll get a feel for the candidate and it’s important to trust that.”

She also advises against measuring candidates by their ability to fit into the current culture. Rather, consider how they might enhance the culture with a different perspective and background.

“Diversity is important for any company’s growth. You don’t want everyone to think exactly the same way. It’s much more vibrant to look for people who can enhance your company culture and thinking.”

How do I respond to a candidate who heard negative things about our company, either from others or online?

It’s important to address negative feedback head on and without defensiveness.

“Try to respond in a positive way. If it’s a situation that’s outside the norm of how you run your company, you could explain that and the steps you’ve take to rectify the problem and prevent it in the future. Candidates need to see that you are open to addressing and learning from criticism,” says Carriero.

What steps should I take after the interview?

Let the candidate know next steps before they leave.

“They should be aware of when you expect to make a final decision. If those timelines change, you should reach out and let them know.”

If someone is not a good fit—It’s courteous to get back to every candidate you interview within the timeline you shared. Carriero says it’s especially helpful to offer insight into why they were not selected.

“Let them know why they weren’t chosen. For example, maybe the person you decided to hire has more experience in a specific area. If you think they have potential for another role in the future, let them know you’ll keep their resume and will be in touch if another opportunity opens up.”

No one we interviewed was a good fit—It can be disappointing to go through the interview process and not find a compelling candidate. It may simply reflect the current labour market—or it might be that your job description wasn’t clear enough.

Look at the job description and see if you can refine it. Maybe you can reduce some of the qualifications or experience expectations. Try posting again to see if it attracts attention from a different set of candidates.

Another thing to consider is taking a chance on a candidate who doesn’t quite meet the mark but is close. “Sometimes we’re too critical in our evaluations or we have an idea of the perfect person and it’s hard to consider anyone else.”

I have multiple interesting candidates—If you find yourself with the difficult task of narrowing down several good candidates, Carriero says this is when you rely on those interview questions again.

“If all of the candidates are technically equivalent, compare their answers to each question. This is when it comes down to more of a gut feeling. If you find yourself in this situation, it may be a good time to consider the person who brings something different to the team rather than settling on someone who’s similar to other employees.”

Next step

Prepare to interview candidates more effectively with this free tool: Interview template

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