Table of Contents
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Table of Contents
What Is a Batch Interview?
A batch interview is a hiring event where several hiring managers interview multiple candidates in batches. These hiring events allow for numerous candidates to apply for the same position in a streamlined, thorough way. Typically consisting of one focused day of interviews, candidates moving through a batch interview have the benefit of receiving a same day denial or acceptance.
Should Companies Do Batch Interviews?
Depending on your company’s hiring needs, batch interviews may or may not be a good fit. If you need to hire several new employees in a small window of time, batch interviewing might be the answer. Here’s what to keep in mind:
Pros of Batching Interviews
- Saves time. Scheduling multiple candidates for rounds of interviews working toward an acceptance or rejection on the spot saves hundreds of hours compared to HR spreading out interviews on an individual basis.
- Efficient and accurate. A well-conducted batch interview is planned to a T. There are often multiple rounds of interviews taking place with uniform questions. This is not only time efficient, but also ensures thoroughness.
- Hire multiple employees at once. A large number of new employees who are needed at once is the main appeal of batch interviews.
- Reduces cost for onboarding and training. Hiring multiple employees at once presents the opportunity to onboard and train multiple employees together, thus saving time and money.
Cons of Batching Interviews
- Time constraints. An effective batch interview allows for large numbers of candidates to move through the hiring process simultaneously. As such, it must run like a well oiled machine, leaving little room for error.
- Can be intimidating. For candidates who don’t do well in crowds or have conditions such as PTSD or anxiety, batch interviews can cause stress that may affect the quality of their interview or deter them from interviewing all together. This can lead to losing potentially excellent fits for the role and company. When inviting candidates to participate in batch interviews, include a disclaimer for those with invisible disabilities to help avoid this problem. This invites them to contact you to discuss alternatives if they are interested in being moved forward in the interview process.
- Involves preparatory process. An event of this scale and structure requires a fair amount of research, scheduling, team management and more. This takes time, energy and much more prep work than your average interviewing process. On the flip side however, you move more candidates through quicker.
- Can lose the human touch. When moving a large number of candidates quickly through the interview process, entering “machine mode” is a potential risk. The focus of your interviewers can wane and applicants may start to blur together. This can lead to losing the human touch. To avoid the stress, mental overload, and “push,” select interviewers with high empathy and schedule many small breaks between interviews.
Batch Interview Preparation Tips
The differences preparing for a standard interview versus a batch interview can be massive depending on the scale. When planning a batch interview, you’re planning a full-blown event compared to a standard interview more closely resembling a one-on-one meeting. Therefore preparation is the key to a successful batch interview. Here are the main preparatory points you don’t want to miss:
Tip 1: Schedule Enough Time
Before and during batch interviews, make sure you schedule more than enough time for pre-screening, selecting applicants, notifying applicants with enough advance notice, gathering interviewers, booking a location (if needed), writing interview questions, giving each applicant time to interview properly, taking breaks, etc. To make picking a date easier, ask for availability in the application.
Tip 2: Ensure a Uniform System
A standard interviewing process gives you time to review the candidate prior to the interview. This includes things such as reviewing their experience, qualifications, and even their social media. This can be important for choosing the best candidates. Batching interviews can make time tighter and more difficult to complete this kind of research. Therefore a uniformed system can make a huge impact. Organize your staff into teams so no important aspects get lost in the shuffle. Additionally, the order, approach, and questions asked must be completely uniform to ensure a fair and efficient interviewing process.
Tip 3: Use Appropriate Space
Don’t invite 100 applicants to attend a batch interview in a space with 50 chairs. If you need to rent a space, rent a space. Applicants may be asked to wait. Ensure they have a comfortable space and access to facilities and water during their wait. This speaks volumes to the culture of your company and that you value their time and effort to attend the event.
Tip 4: Break it Down
Breaking the batch interview event into multiple rounds of small interviews is an excellent way to tighten things up. Focus on specific factors in each round of interviews. This gives structured movement through each round and creates opportunities to eliminate more candidates each round. This also makes room for scheduled breaks, more detailed interview talking points, and overall optimal efficiency.
How to Plan and Conduct Batch Interviews
Planning multiple interviews together means you’ll sift through more qualified applicants than you would filling a position traditionally. This also means there’s a lot more groundwork and technical points to hit. Step by step, it might look like this:
Step 1: Pre-Screen and Select
Assuming you’ve taken advantage of online job boards, include knock-out questions that will auto-reject any applicants that do not meet the non-negotiable qualifications for the position. This maximizes the qualified applicants who make it through to the interviewing process. Additionally, having a review team dedicated to looking for red flags can be more time-efficient than alternative options (finding those red flags after hours of their time and yours). This could look like a team whose job is to review each candidate’s resume, cover letter, experience, qualifications, online presence, and so on, then compile the talking points into a concise list. This can be an invaluable asset to an interviewer with limited time and many interviews.
Step 2: Create Interview Questions and Phases
Build your interviewing questions with rounds of interviews in mind. For example, the first round might cover the most black and white knockout questions such as qualifications, certifications, experience, and education. Round two might cover questions that focus on seeing if the applicant’s goals line up with the company’s mission. Round three might be a personality interview.
Step 3: Gather Applicants
Post the position and push it out on your company’s social media and job boards. Keep in mind, if you’re looking for a large number of candidates, it may be wise to utilize attraction tools and strategies such as posting a video job description or implementing sign-on or referral bonuses.
Step 4: Schedule a Date and Book a Location
Once your candidates have been gathered and screened, it’s time to set a date and the agenda. When selecting the date (or dates), keep in mind what date will work best for the most applicants, balancing interviewing as soon as possible with giving enough notice to applicants. Set the date far enough out to ensure time to solidify the organizational logistics, like what the interview rounds will look like, what questions to ask, etc.
Step 5: Notify and Invite Applicants
Once the date is set, inform the candidates they are being invited to interview. To avoid mass gathering, stagger arrival times. It’s also helpful to use calendar invites or request RSVPs to have an accurate idea of the number of candidates to expect.
Step 6: Set Up the Location
In addition to setting up divided areas where each round of interviewing will take place, also consider a check-in table to track arrivals and specified waiting areas (with proper facilities, seating, water, etc.). Depending on the number of candidates and amount of time scheduled, you may need a crowd control plan in place. Utilize crowd control gates, signage and workers to help move applicants from one round/area to the next.
Step 7: Direct Applicants Through the Process
Using clear schedules, crowd control tools effectively direct applicants through the interview process. Many choose to plan the first few interview rounds to be in groups. This is where the interviewer asks the candidates basic interview questions and everyone answers orderly. Depending on the size of your batch interviews, this may or may not be necessary.
Step 8: Post Results
After each round, select a method to notify each applicant if they made it to the next round. If you prefer to notify applicants immediately following the completion of the round, do it tactfully by dividing the group according to who will move on and who will not. Once separated, you can notify each group of their results. Other methods include an online disposition board, bulletin board in a common space where results will be posted, or virtually notifying applicants individually.
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Kayla is the Chief Innovation Officer at Hero Culture, where the passion is to create company cultures of retention using the power of personality.