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What Are Interviewing Techniques?
Interviewing has been part of modern hiring practices for over 100 years starting with Thomas Edison who interviewed lab assistants. His interview technique was to give a bowl of soup to every candidate. If a candidate seasoned their soup with salt or pepper BEFORE trying the soup, he would immediately dismiss them from the interview process. WHY? He believed they would always rely on assumptions.
Wasn’t this just an assumption on his part? While we may never know, we still hire like this today with one bias about a candidate deciding their fate for the interview process.
The interview is part of the hiring process that has never been improved. Every interviewer has their own interviewing techniques that are often unchecked, unverified, and based on gut instincts rather than data. Hiring success, or lack thereof, shows because of it.
We need to redefine interviewing techniques in a more structured way so every person on the hiring team, from the recruiter to a panel interview team to the hiring manager, follows them consistently.
The interviewing techniques that need to be aligned and structured include:
- Asking the right interview questions and clearly defining the success indicators to be met.
- Organizing interview rounds using the intention of each interview, such as prescreening, technical evaluation, deep dive, and leadership assessment.
- Documenting every interview in real-time in one place to reduce the negative effects of recall bias (trying to remember relevant data about every candidate versus only what we liked or didn’t like about a candidate).
- Ensuring every candidate is evaluated equally throughout the interview process.
- Using only relevant data to support the hiring decision process.
Why Are Effective Interviewing Techniques Important?
Effective interviewing techniques ensure a transparent and equitable experience that is free of bias and full of trust, efficiency, and respect. By hiring with structured and aligned interviewing techniques across your organization, you remove a lot of stress from the interviewer. Effective and consistent organization-wide interview techniques also remove the fear that you might get reported for asking illegal questions and ensure you hire right consistently. Effective interviewing techniques help you hire faster, increase your retention rates and decrease your hiring costs.
Effective Interviewing Techniques
Define Required Job Qualifications and Attributes
First and foremost, you have to know exactly what you’re looking for in order to hire the right person. Work with your hiring team to create a list of the skills, attributes, and behaviors that are REQUIRED for the role. These should not include things like “years of experience” or “where you went to school.”
Define the Right Questions and Success Indicators
Every interview starts with a question, however, preparing your interviews should not stop with a list of questions. You must also define the success criteria you expect to hear as answers to each of your questions. These indicators must align to your list of job requirements (see above).
Next create question bundles with the question, clarifying questions, any context that can be shared with the interviewer and/or candidate, your list of scoring indicators, and the scoring methodology (such as 1 to 5).
Organize Questions into Interview Scorecards and Rounds
Rule of thumb: each interview should focus on two to three of the required skills, attributes, and behaviors you’ve pre-defined. If you have nine, you should only need three to four interviews. Define the intent of each interview, is it a pre-screen or deep-dive interview, or are you assessing their technical ability, culture alignment, leadership qualities, etc.? If you know what each interview is meant to assess, you can easily assign the right interview template and interviewer or panel of interviewers to each interview round.
Share Scorecards with Each Interviewer in Preparation for Interviews
This seems like a no-brainer, but most interviewers lack preparation before an interview which leads to unnecessary stress and fear which can enable biases to overtake interactions with a candidate.
Ask Every Candidate the Same Questions
Giving every qualified candidate equal opportunity throughout the interview process results in an “apples-to-apples” comparison of a candidate pool based on data-relevant information not poisoned by bias. This creates a truly repeatable and scalable interview process that produces the right hire every time.
Best Practices for Interviewing Techniques
If you do the bare minimum as outlined above, you will give your hiring teams a great advantage leading to better hiring. To truly impact your company brand in the talent marketplace, consider these best practices:
Include Your Hiring Teams in the Job Alignment Process
When you set out to define the required skills, attributes, and behaviors for your job, consider analyzing the current team. Understanding their current skills, attributes and behaviors will help you know which ones align with high performers and where new candidates could fill existing gaps.
Build Your Question Bundles and Scorecards First, then Create Your Job Description
Hiring managers often start the hiring process with a job description but this often takes the shape of a cut, paste, and edit of an existing job description. Because of this, questions are chosen that often don’t align with the job description, leaving a cloud of ambiguity throughout the interview process.
Start by building your question bundles and scorecards, then use this to build your job description. Questions will then align perfectly and candidates will know exactly what to expect.
Share the Questions with Candidates Prior to Their Interview
Because your hiring teams have already defined the success indicators for every question, there is no way candidates can cheat the system if you share all the questions ahead of time. Sharing questions in advance establishes trust and inclusivity for every candidate who can then begin thinking about their preparation and feel less stress during the interview.
This best practice also saves quite a bit of time during the interview, leading to a reduction in overall hiring costs and faster response times as well as higher offer acceptance rates.
Train Your Interviewers
Whether you have seasoned or first-time interviewers, training them to be better interviewers is always a best practice. We are human which means we are biased, but often we don’t realize our biases are interfering with an equitable hiring process. Regular training about bias and the interview process helps interviewers get better with every interview, improving your company’s objectivity, equity, and organic growth of diversity.
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Questions You’ve Asked Us About Interviewing Techniques
UB leads interviewIA’s marketing and business development strategy through a constant state of innovation and “outside the box” thinking. He has taken his deep experience in client and customer solutions to build a company focused on people first, the value that every human brings to the table, and centered on belonging. UB is the “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” in the HR world. In the Malcolm Gladwell framework, he is the ultimate connector. UB has an intrinsic ability to span many different worlds through his combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.
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