Today's blog post is going to have lots of useful information on how to improve your interviewing process for candidates which as a result will get you more placements. However, since I wanted you to have all of the best information at hand I've provided quite a bit of material for you to consider :) but I promise you, if you read through it and apply it - you'll see tremendous improvements in your results.
So what are we going to cover?
- Why candidates drop off throughout the interviewing process and how to fix this
- How to make sure candidates don't change their mind throughout the interviewing process
- How to prep your candidates before the interview
- How to get more insight on what happened during the interview
- What to do after the interview is done
One of the most common reasons for candidates to drop off during the interview process is time lag. By the time I was done communicating back and forth on my 4-th email regarding the best time for both parties involved, the candidate would disappear. Most of the times it was because they already received an offer from another company.
Other times the lag would cause the Client to find someone faster. So both candidates and Clients prefer this to be as fast as possible with little investment of their time, since they don't even know if the opportunity will work out for both of them.
So how can we fix this?
Introduce your candidates to your Clients directly. Once a Client says they are interested in having a phone conversation with your candidate - make the introductions. But before you make that introduction - get a consent from your Client to make sure that they're ok with this approach. Some Clients may prefer that you would do all the arrangements yourself even though this is a lengthier path and would still have the same level of involvement on their end. You would need to explain to your Clients the benefit of this approach by pointing out that you are the "bottleneck" in the process and if they communicate directly with the candidate, things will automatically speed up. Essentially, what you're doing is delivering their messages back and forth, whereas that could be done by their email service provider :)
Another thing that you could do to speed things up is offer to your Clients to set up some type of calendar service where they will be able to share a link with the candidate to choose the most convenient time. This approach is tremendously time-saving, since most of the times both parties don't reply instantly and the delay in reply could be up to a couple of days. As a result, the scheduled interview would appear within a week from the initial introduction. This is a placement killer. However, you need to make sure you're included on their correspondence and if you see that one of the parties is not replying within a day - follow up!
Before you do the introductions it's also CRUCIAL to do a recap with your candidate on the initial phone conversation that you have had.
Why is that important?
Just like you talk to many candidates, candidates talk to many recruiters and sometimes they forget the details of your conversation. So you MUST go over the important points once again.
As an example:
- I always recap the salary expectations that they have mentioned
- Their availability if given an offer
- Are they in the final stages for any other opportunities?
- Do they have any offers pending?
- And whether there's ANYTHING that would prevent them from taking the offer from your Client
Usually, they are able to answer the first 4 points with no problem, but for the 5-th point they might say they need more information to make the decision. You must ask very specific questions to understand what information they're lacking or what their concern is and if you can't provide an answer to their questions you need to get them from your Client. So that when your Client goes on call with them, the candidate is certain that they want this opportunity.
If there are questions that can only be answered during the interview with the Client then you need to warn your Client in advanced. That the candidate likes the opportunity, however, they have some specific questions which can only be answered by your Client, thus they are not 100% sure if this would be the right fit.
The reason why you should do this is to avoid wasting everyone's time, including yours. Because when you get down to the offer stage and your candidate starts saying, for example, that they want more money, this is not something your Client would be happy about, especially, if you indicated in your submission letter the salary your candidate wants to receive.
That's why when you do a recap of your initial conversation with the candidate make sure that the recap is also in writing, so if later on they change their mind you can maintain your reputation in front of the Client by showing them written proof of their commitment to a certain salary figure. However, if the candidate is not sure about the salary they want or they don't want to commit to a figure, but are providing you with the range, then you should also emphasize this to the Client. So that your Client knows that a negotiation will take place during the offer stage.
In any case, all of this should be reconfirmed before each interview step and it should be in a written form even though you would be talking to your candidates on the phone.
Now, let 's talk about the interview itself
To gain more insight on the interviews that your Client is conducting - you could offer an option to conference everyone in. This way you could be a passive listener of their conversation which will give you invaluable information that would allow you to prep your candidates better next time in case one of them fails.
This is a very powerful tool, especially if you can develop a level of a relationship with your Clients where they would allow you to be present in-person during the interview (if you can be present of course).
You'll have all the information you need, including their interview questions in order to asses and prep your candidates more thoroughly. You will be way ahead of the competition by doing so.
But if your Client is not open to that then you can maximize the efficiency of your follow ups. Instead of just emailing the Client and asking how the interview went - call them.
Get thorough feedback:
- What was good about the candidate?
- What they should improve on?
- What specific questions did they fail on?
- How can you adjust your search to deliver better quality next time? (in case of failure)
As well as you should call your candidates and instead of asking generically how the interview went, go specifically:
- What questions did the Client ask you?
- How many questions did you manage to answer?
- What questions you weren't able to answer?
- Do you have any questions that you weren't able to ask?
- How long was the interview?
- Do you have any concerns regarding the position/company?
In order for the candidate to provide you with that information you would need to tell them in advanced that they should take note of the whole interview.
After the interview is done, make sure you strongly insist that your candidate sends a follow up letter in which they would thank the interviewer for their time and provide answers to the questions they weren't able to answer as well as ask the questions they weren't able to ask and also explain how they could contribute to the overall success of the company.
If you didn't get a reply from the Client - ping them for feedback the same day. If you still didn't get a reply, ping the next day or until you get a reply.
Also ping your candidate to make sure they are "hot" about the opportunity and consistently ask them how their other interviews are doing. If they have a pending offer, ask the details about it. Which company? What are they offering? Communicate that back to your Client by creating a sense of urgency that they should interview your candidate faster in order not to lose them. As well as they should be aware of the offer details to counteroffer if necessary.
To finish off, I would like provide a couple of extra suggestions to make your interviewing process complete.
Ask your Client for interview details so the candidate is better prepared:
- Who's the interviewer (name/title/contact information)?
- How long will the interview take?
- Will it be a technical or introduction call/prescreen?
- Anything they should be prepared with specifically?
Additional questions for in-person:
- Dress code
- Parking instructions
- Who will meet them?
- Registration instructions
Once the interview is arranged - make sure to email/call your candidate 2 hours prior to that time and date to reconfirm their availability. Anything could happen and they might forget, so it's good to be on the safe side.
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