Conducting effective interviewing and candidate screening

If you’ve ever had to fill a role in your organisation, you know it can be quite the process. On top of it taking time and effort, you want to get it right the first time, otherwise, you’ve wasted a lot of time, money, and resources. That means you have to have a robust candidate screening process to identify top talent and make sure it is the right fit for your business.

Hiring the right people is critical for organizational success since it will directly affect your business not only in productivity but in team management. This means that you have to consider hard skills, soft skills, and how they will slot into the workplace culture.

So, how do we create the most robust candidate screening process to ensure that the person you hire suits the role? We explore here.

How to prepare

The initial step to a candidate screening process is making sure that you know what you want. You are not window shopping for a role, but researching the store and heading straight to the aisle you know your item is in, knowing what you’re looking for.

Define the role and required qualifications clearly beforehand and share that with your team. That way you can toss around ideas for what is actually required for the role. There might be elements you’ve not noticed from afar.

Outline key skills, experience, and cultural fit factors to assess candidates on and have a standardized rating system across interviewers. Look for specific examples and accomplishments, not just generalities.

From there you can put together a structured interview process with consistent questions in order to get ready to start reviewing CVS. Make sure you look through them thoroughly so you don’t miss anything that might be useful in the role.

Interview Structure

You want to really think about the structure of your interview during the candidate screening process not least because it keeps you on track with a pattern and allows you to hit every type of question, (behavioural, situational, technical, etc.). However, it also means that your candidate doesn’t feel like their time has been wasted. It’s possible for a lot of interviewers to keep talking and not actually say anything. They might want to (too) thoroughly explain the role and the business and forget to ask questions, or they might go off like a car salesman talking about the game this weekend. Either way is not productive for you or the candidate. Ask probing follow-up questions and take comprehensive notes during interviews. Listen as well as ask.

Mitigating Biases

A modern problem of candidate screening and interviewing is bias. Whether consciously or subconsciously, people tend to make judgements based on a range of aspects that might be unfounded. Beyond the protected characteristics of the Equality Act of 2010, which covers age, gender, marriage status, pregnancy, disability, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation, there are two women going viral on TikTok right now for talking about how they were turned down for a job due to their tattoos or their lack of makeup.

Put together a diverse interview panel to get multiple perspectives and focus on the skills and personality of the candidate so as to not throw out a valuable baby with the bathwater.

Selling the Opportunity

While you’re doing your candidate screening, remember that you want to entice them to the job too. Make a case for the role, the company culture and the sell top candidates.

You’ll want to use job-related skills tests or work samples to determine if this person in the candidate screen process will not only take you on with your role offer but also thrive in it. Provide guidelines on designing fair tests for the rest of your panel to predict job success.

Making a Decision

After the candidate screening process is over, now it’s time to make a decision. Put your panel together to combine interviewer feedback and assess the data objectively. Have an open conversation on who would or wouldn’t be right for the role but have decision-makers there who understand the role’s requirements and can have the final say on who gets the role.

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