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How to Conduct Better Interviews in the Current Job Market

April 5, 2018


As recruiters and HR professionals, your jobs certainly haven't gotten any easier over the last few months with the low unemployment rate and stable job climate. While these aspects make this a positive time for the country and the economy, when you make your living by hiring the best employees for your organization, your job just got tougher. Many organizations are struggling to find candidates to fill open positions and often look to the hiring process for ways to help get people in the door more quickly and efficiently. This is a great time to make your process more effective in this changing job climate. 

A standard part of 99% of companies' hiring processes contain an interview (and probably more than one). Structured past behavior interviews provide value to your process by allowing you to talk to applicants about specific job-related competencies and experience before making a hiring decision.  With that said, talking to candidates also likely takes the most time and manpower from your HR professionals and hiring managers. Many organizations may be looking to save time in their hiring process and the interview is likely one area they may consider revising.

Here are some things to consider when looking at your interview process during a time when candidates are hard to find (and you needed them yesterday!:

  1. Are you conducting efficient and productive interviews through a structured interview process?

    Structured interviews, where all candidates are being asked questions around competencies that are important for the job they're applying to, are the most effective use of an interviewer’s time. If you are currently conducting unstructured interviews, you may want to consider a more consistent process. Unstructured interviews, where every interviewer is asking their own questions, will provide less value, give you inconsistent information on all of your applicants, and could lead to legal issues. Hiring managers are often receptive to a structured interview and relieved that they are being given the right questions to ask candidates to get the information that they want. This also makes your process consistent by asking every person applying to a job questions around the same competencies. 

    By creating structure and consistency, you create a more streamlined and often shorter interview process. When interviewers know what they should be asking and what types of answers they are looking for, they can be more efficient in the interview. With this demanding job climate, speed to hire will be important for a candidate who has multiple opportunities available to them.

    Related: 4 Reasons You Absolutely Need A Consistent Hiring Process
  2. Do you have enough trained interviewers?

    When conducting structured interviews, it is important that the interviewers are trained and know how to conduct them effectively. Often, a few people in the organization are tasked with conducting a lot of interviews. but if more people are trained to conduct interviews, each person will have to dedicate less time to them, creating less of a burden.

    Good interviewers should have a solid understanding of the competencies that they are asking questions around and why they are important for the job. They will also need to know how to ask the questions and what types of probing questions they should ask to get the information that they need. Finally, they should have a consistent rating scale to score all interviewees. Often, hiring managers feel that they can get a good “read” on a candidate or have a “gut feeling” about them during the interview. They should be cautioned against these types of biases and have a good understanding as to how to use the provided interview guides and rating scales to take an objective view of each of the applicants. There are many classroom training programs as well as online programs available to get interviewers up to speed quickly.   

    Read more: Common Biases to Keep in Mind When Conducting An Interview
  3. Are you screening before the interview?

    There are many ways to make sure you are best using your interviewers' time and only presenting them with quality candidates who are likely to be able to do the job. By using an initial screening process, such as an online application with qualifying questions, only candidates with the minimum qualifications will get moved on to the next step in the hiring process. An online assessment can be conducted at this point to further refine your applicant pool and only move on the candidates who most closely match the skills, motivations, and abilities needed for the position. By using online screening tools before the interview, a candidate can be screened without having to take the time of an interviewer or any person at all. Using these tools will create a more qualified applicant pool for hiring managers to draw upon when conducting interviews. 

    Read more: Interview Training
  4. Are you finding out if the candidate will be happy in the job?

    Motivational fit or job/cultural fit is a very important aspect of the hiring process. While assessments can measure these things, the interview is an important place where you can find out if a candidate will like the job that you have to offer. This is one measure that should not be compromised in an interview, even if you are trying to speed up the process. Asking a candidate questions about their likes and dislikes will allow you to match them with the correct job or understand if they will enjoy the position and stay.

    Motivational fit is a huge factor in employee satisfaction, and with the tight job market you will want to make sure you are hiring employees who are not only going to stay, but be happy working in your organization. 

    Here are 5 Interview Questions You Must Ask to Assess Motivational Fit

Interviews provide value to the hiring process as well as allow you to give the candidate information about the organization to better understand their motivations about wanting to work for you. In a job market where candidates often have a choice of employers, you can highlight the benefits and differentiators of your organization and get them excited about joining your team. While it may be tempting to skimp on the interview process in this market, there are ways to make it more effective and less burdensome for everyone involved. With an effective process, the applicant as well as the hiring manager will find value in an interview, even with the pressure to meet their hiring demands.

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Megan Why Megan Why is a Consultant located in the Pittsburgh office of PSI. Her areas of expertise include: workplace safety, interview training, and pre-employment selection assessments.