Great Job Candidates Won’t Wait

The best job candidates won’t wait for your slow hiring process. Sure, it makes sense for your hiring process to be thorough and methodical. After all, you are adding talent to your organization and talent is key to your ability to drive performance and achieve goals.

However, today’s fast-paced world demands that your hiring process be both effective and efficient; it must move quickly because the best talent rarely stays available for long.

Here are 4 steps to increase the speed of your hiring process without sacrificing the quality of your new hires.

  1. Build a performance profile on every role in the organization. A performance profile clearly defines the tasks and expectations of the role, as well as the attributes required to do the role well (talents, skills, education, experience). Having the performance profiles completed means you’ll always be ready to source talent for an open role and be clear about what is required to be successful in the role. In short, you will know what the role does and who fits.
  2. Create the interview structure for each job. Using the performance profile as your starting point, define the attributes you want and need to assess to determine a candidate’s fit for the role in your organization. Build an interview using segments, where each segment defines what will be assessed, by whom and for how long. In the segments that use questions, create the questions to ask. In the interview segments that use activities, define the specific activity. Defining and preparing these in advance gives you the ability to quickly activate them when a strong candidate appears.
  3. Train the interview team. Yes, everyone is busy with their regular work, but your employees are key players in accurately assessing job candidates. Help your team understand the impact of hiring quality talent and train them how to do their specific part (i.e. segment) of the interview process. Pro tip: splitting up the interview segments encourages employee interviewers to make time when they are needed because one person or role is not leaned on too heavily. They have clear guidance in what to ask or do, and what specific attributes to be aware of or assess for. Dividing the interview into segments and limiting employee participation to a segment or two, encourages a faster (and more dynamic) response.  
  4. Share the hiring process with your candidate. Be up front and clear about your process and the components the candidate will participate in. Stay in constant touch with the candidate. Keep them informed of schedules. Value their time by keeping your interview to its scheduled time. Live to your word. Be sure your hiring process models your workplace culture in the way you connect and interact with the candidate. Document your full candidate hiring process and the time the hiring team will meet to share their comments about each candidate. Urgency and transparency matters.

The low unemployment rate has the workplace back in a war for talent. So, when a passive job candidate becomes an active job candidate, it is important that your hiring process isn’t the reason you lose good candidates. Remember, most great candidates are already interacting with other organizations.

Take Action
Commit to a sound and efficient process that lets you connect with candidates, efficiently gather information, and accurately assess abilities, respond to questions and make decisions quickly. Great people don’t wait. Be sure your hiring process is effective AND efficient to be responsive to today’s workplace.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 3 Ways to Win in the War for Talent

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This article first appeared on Vistage’s Talent Strategies Network on January 21, 2020.

Think Like A Coach to Improve Your Interviewing Process

Face it, your interviews are boring and stale and probably pretty ineffective. You ask the same kinds of questions. You do the same limited preparation. You just want to find someone who is reasonable, so you can just be done with interviewing.

In my informal poll of the many CEO groups I speak to, nearly two thirds of them say they, and their organizations, don’t like interviewing. They do it because they have to. They do it out of habit instead of intention. And their results show it. Low engagement. High turnover rates. Poor workplace culture.

So, shift with me for a moment to understand how a coach prepares and hosts a coaching call or meeting to learn from it for improved interviewing and hiring success.

First, coaches prepare to coach. In our preparation for every client, we first look inside ourselves and center ourselves; we work on being present and ready to deal with whatever comes up in our coaching sessions. We eliminate distractions, clear our minds, become aware of our biases and choose to be ready to gather and use the information in our coaching session to help our clients. We do this on purpose. We are tuned in, ready and thinking.

Let’s use this approach with the interview. To interview well, you must be ready to interview. This means you must be present, clear and eliminate any distractions that will take you away from the purpose of the interview, which is to gather enough of the right information to determine whether this candidate could fit the role and your company. For that, you must make the time to fully understand the role – what it does, its performance expectations, its performance success attributes and your role in the interview process – and understand the workplace or organizational culture – what it believes, its mission, its values and its focus on customers.

Second, as coaches, we gather information. Jumping right into issues is generally too much too soon for a coaching conversation. Using a few well-thought out questions like, “What’s the best thing that has happened to you today?” or, “What challenge have you successfully dealt with today?” sets a positive tone and encourages the client to talk. Talking is how they share information, which is necessary to help a coach to determine what to ask and do next.

It is the same in an interview. With clarity of the attributes, skills and experience you need a candidate to have to be the right fit for the role, create the interview – the meaningful interview questions and activities – to deliver this information. Today’s interviews need to include activities to provide greater information about a candidate’s abilities; it’s more than simply asking them what they would do or have done in a particular situation. Though questions are important, gather greater information about behaviors and skill levels by having candidates demonstrate their abilities through activities. These could include providing feedback, creating a spreadsheet/memo, selling a product, assessing a challenge or problem, etc. The purpose of the interview is to gather information, so ensure each component or segment of the interview delivers meaningful information. I call it the Prove-it-to-Me Interview.

Third, as coaches we assess what we hear from our clients to determine what to say and do next. Well-crafted questions and intentional listening prepare us to be fully present in the responses from clients. From that information, we can then guide, challenge, support or encourage – whatever we feel the situation requires – to help the client move closer to their goal.

In the interview, use the information gathered from the questions and activities to assess and evaluate the candidate’s skills and abilities. Those involved in interviewing must know what successful responses or behaviors look like to effectively evaluate. Be ready to drill down into any candidate’s responses the way a coach does to fully understand, to be able to wisely assess for fit and alignment. Then, as an interview team, come together to share your assessment and evaluation of each candidate.

Those who interview can learn a lot about interviewing from coaching. The process shares similar goals of being fully present, understanding the situation and gathering and assessing information. What in your interviewing could benefit from coach-like thinking?

Take Action
Stop and notice what works and doesn’t work in how you interview. Then, using the ideas presented, make improvements to your interview process to hire talent that is well-aligned to their roles. Small improvements that result in hiring the right people can yield exceptional organizational results.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Stop Promoting the Wrong People into Management Roles

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