Interview Bootcamp: 4 Hiring Tips to Help Your Team Recruit Top Talent

May 24, 2017

Category: Talent

Employee Leave of Absence (LOA)

Hiring is hard. Do you give candidates a test? Do you ask about their experience, or pose theoretical situations to see how they think them through? These questions are hard enough for recruiters to answer, but even more of a mystery for managers and team members.

While there’s no perfect formula, when it comes to finding a star candidate, everyone needs to be on board. The best way to accomplish that is creating a bootcamp for your managers (and anyone who interviews candidates) to teach proper technique and legal dos and don’ts. Here are four steps to get you started.

1. Structure a better team interview

Before you teach candidates anything about interviewing, make sure that you’re structuring interviews properly.

Interviewers shouldn’t have to sit down before an interview, dig up candidate details and whip up a list of questions out of the blue. If there are multiple team members interviewing the same candidate, it’s better if recruiting provides basic materials and direction to each interviewer to avoid redundancy—everyone should focus on a different aspect of the candidate’s experience.

Should they purely assess cultural fit? Or should they try to get a sense of a candidate’s experience, based on their own areas of expertise? For example, you might have three people interview a potential Graphic Designer, but a managing Art Director and peer Front-End Developer should ask different questions relevant to their own areas of work and how they’ll interact with the candidate instead of both covering “tell me about yourself” territory. The former might focus on design skill, but the latter on workflows and how the candidate works with others.

Related ArticleHow Much Does Hiring and Onboarding Cost?

Team members should also have a way to share feedback following the interview that is funneled to the ultimate decisionmaker. How did the candidate do? Do interviewers have any concerns or doubts about his or her abilities? It might also help for interviewers to meet and discuss these points in person.

Bottom line: Define your process up front.

2. Teach legal dos and don’ts

As a recruiter, you’re aware of what’s legal and illegal to ask in an interview, but an inexperienced interviewer may not be. Make sure your team knows to avoid illegal questions around:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Citizenship
  • Disabilities, illnesses
  • Ethnicity, national origin
  • Organizational or political affiliation
  • Family, children, marital status

Untrained interviewers will more likely accidentally skirt these red-flag areas when making small talk rather than ask about them outright, so it’s critical to bring awareness to these hot spots.

3. Help interviewers craft better questions

Blind interviews are a waste of time for everyone. Candidates and interviewers should know something about one another to be able to ask more meaningful questions than, “what is your biggest weakness?” and “where do you see yourself in five years?”

On the interviewing end, this means that interviewers should:

  • Ask situational questions: Keep people out of cliché question territory by reteaching what the goal of an interview is in the first place. Interviews shouldn’t be treated as due diligence, but as a way to determine 1) whether this hire can do the job well, 2) fits in with your culture and preferred way of working and 3) is enjoyable and professional to work with. #1 comes from asking for specific examples from a person’s professional past. “Tell me about a time when…” will evoke more meaningful responses than basic “Would you be able to…” or “Can you…” questions. Ask for anecdotes, or a walk-through of old projects to see how candidates think and work.
  • Chew on the company’s mission, values and culture: Interviewers should be able to share how you’ve codified your company culture and mission, but also be open about what they personally like and find challenging about the company. Sugar-coating the tough parts about working with your company doesn’t do you any favors: while it might convince a candidate to sign on, it might also mean they’ll leave just as quickly due to poor fit and mismatched expectations.

Related Article: What’s the True Cost of Bad Hire? 

4. Share the art of the follow-up

Who is supposed to follow up with candidates? Establish whether managers or recruiting will follow up, and make sure everyone knows the point person beforehand. Above all, whether your team is moving forward with someone or not, make sure that managers set clear next steps every step of the way. Keeping candidates in suspense about their application status is poor recruiting etiquette.

Ready to extend an offer?

Onboarding is one of the most exciting steps in the recruiting process, but can also be one of the messiest, often requiring tons of compliance paperwork and communication between managers, HR and candidates. Want to learn how to take this part of your recruiting to the next level?

Download our Definitive Guide to Onboarding: The First 30 Days.

This article was originally published on Jul 20, 2015.


Sarah enjoys analyzing the future of work, deciphering labor trends and where work meets tech. She tweets about all things work @shsiwak.

Category: Talent

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