How To Optimize Your Job Interview Process

Today’s labor pool is teeming with talent; however, the best candidates are often evaluating multiple job opportunities at the same time. The last thing you want is to lose a qualified candidate’s interest after all the time and effort you’ve invested into attracting and engaging them. To remain competitive, it’s critical to reduce candidate churn and quickly convert top talent into new hires. We’ve outlined several key steps that can be taken to optimize your job interview process below!

Standardize Your Job Interview Process

It’s easy to skip steps in the job interview process if you haven’t established a process, to begin with. It doesn’t have to be an overly complex process; however, make sure you’ve identified the primary stages that every candidate must complete when interviewing for one of your open roles. For example, we’ve outlined the following stages below:

  • Phase 1: Screening – The candidate is vetted with a brief conversation and a few quick questions to determine the next steps. 
  • Phase 2: Skills Test – The candidate performs an initial assessment to verify requisite skills, knowledge, and/or ability to perform.
  • Phase 3: In-Person Interview – The candidate attends a 1:1 in-person (or video) interview with the hiring manager for the first time.
  • Phase 4: Group Interview – The candidate meets additional team members to further evaluate job and culture fit. 
  • Phase 5: Group Presentation – The candidate presents on a topic of the hiring manager’s choice (relevant to the role).
  • Phase 6: Evaluation – The candidate is further evaluated and a decision is made to continue searching or extend an offer and fill the vacancy. 

Have you identified the core stages of your job interview process? Are there any stages you should consider eliminating to expedite your job interview process? It will be different for every organization depending on several factors including the role, team, culture, and more. However, the goal is to identify a standard process that will work for your department while keeping your top candidates engaged and moving forward!

Implement Tracking Systems

Once you’ve defined your job interview process, consider using an applicant tracking system (ATS) for record-keeping purposes. You can even use your CRM as long as efforts are made to keep personal candidate information private and secure. Every candidate should be tagged with a status based on where they are in your process. And, don’t forget to store your interview notes in the ATS so they can be revisited throughout the process. Many ATSs will even integrate with your email systems to ensure all inbound and outbound candidate communications are accounted for. 

Create Scoring Systems

Consider giving some forethought to the criteria you’ll be evaluating as a candidate progresses through your job interview process. For instance, if certain hard skills are more valuable than others, you might create a ranking system to score candidates based on their qualifications. You can even apply a ranking system to help assess soft skills and culture fit as well. This is an excellent way to incorporate a quantitative method of evaluating candidates, in combination with the qualitative feedback such as interview notes that you’ve entered into your ATS.  

Establish Communication Channels

“I love getting ghosted”, said no candidate … ever! If a qualified candidate has shown interest in working for your organization, they should be given the courtesy of communication throughout the entire process. Great candidate communication helps to optimize your job interview process in the following ways:

  • Helps to create a consistently positive candidate experience
  • Reinforces your company culture and strengthens your employer brand
  • Reduces any uncertainty about where they are in the job interview process

The goal of creating a communication channel for candidates is to establish trust and build long-term relationships. Remember: If a candidate isn’t a great match for your position right now, they might be in the future. However, strong and trustworthy, long-term relationships cannot be formed without having excellent communication.  

Build Feedback Loops

Give all interview participants, internal and external, an opportunity to provide feedback on your job interview process. This includes any team members who are involved in group interviews. It doesn’t have to be a complex mechanism. For instance, you might even consider implementing a simple net promoter score (NPS) survey: Two easy questions that can be answered in under 60 seconds. This will send the message that you value your candidates’ feedback (and time) along with that of your team. However, it’s also a great way to identify any areas of your job interview process that could potentially be improved upon or further developed.

Looking for additional resources on how to optimize your job interview process? We highly recommend giving the Top 3 Reasons Why Candidates Stop Replying After an Interview a read next!