Interviewing is difficult. Whether your candidates are well-rehearsed or ill-prepared, getting the information you need from them requires skill. Improving this skill takes practice – but exactly how much interviewing practice does a typical hiring manager get? They only have to worry about it when there’s an opening on their team, and often those can be few and far between; but, even if they were to interview candidates all day every day, would they be doing it right? Or would they just be reinforcing bad interview habits?
While interviewing might be difficult to conduct, we can agree that it’s one of the most important opportunities to determine which candidate is the best fit for the role. Making the wrong decision at this stage won’t be obvious, but its effects will be felt 3, 6, or maybe 12 months down the road – and that’s when it starts to get costly. If too many of the wrong candidates are getting through, you’ll notice your turnover rate start to rise. And a high turnover rate brings more stress, less productivity, and lower morale to your team – all things that nobody wants. If you can trace high employee turnover back to the interview, it might be time to start asking yourself, “Are we really doing it right?”
First off, we need to define what “doing it right” means. There are a few components to this:
- Asking behaviour-based interview questions to obtain examples of past performance. If a candidate has done something before, it’s pretty likely that they can do it again.
- Asking the same core set of questions to all candidates. If you know one candidate can do something, but you didn’t bother to ask another candidate the same thing, how can you decide between the two?
- Developing a rubric or rating scale to consistently evaluate responses. If we have two answers to the same question, we need a way to determine which one is better.
Pro Tip: Check out the Interviewer Playbook for more tips on how to create a more effective interview experience.
It’s all about consistency, and the only way to maintain it is with standard procedures. That’s where the interview guide comes in. The interview guide is a tool that includes everything your hiring managers need to conduct an interview – the right way. I’m not saying you have to micromanage the interview process; I’m talking about providing a resource that helps with making better hiring decisions. It can be as basic as outlining a consistent set of questions for all candidates applying for a role. Add a rating scale to evaluate the responses and include some room for notes, and you’ve got yourself a straightforward interview guide. Easy as that.
Of course, if you have the capacity, you can get a little fancy with it. Consider adding some friendly reminders to make the candidate more comfortable. Not everybody remembers to offer the candidate water or coffee, and these little touches are important for candidate experience. You may also want to include examples for what to listen for in a candidate’s response. These clues will help your hiring managers probe deeper, rather than accepting vague responses. This is a more advanced interviewing skill that’s a little harder to develop, but it can be done by following the SARR method.
Pro Tip: Personality assessments can also increase retention - here's how.
I know, I know – sometimes it can be difficult to get people to start doing things differently. Whenever you introduce a new procedure, you’re bound to get some pushback. But I’ve found that most resistance disappears after explaining the “what’s in it for me” factor. If you’ve got a department with a high turnover rate, you might find that the hiring manager already recognizes how it affects them. By explaining how these new interviewing practices will help them make better hiring decisions and reduce turnover, I think you’ll find that your hiring managers will be pretty easy to persuade.
Organizations that experience high employee turnover need to be tackling the problem from all angles, and preventing poor hiring decisions is one of them. With so many variables in determining whether someone is right for the job, the more you can simplify, the better. While a job profile reduces turnover in the sourcing stage, a structured interview guide creates simplicity and consistency for your hiring managers – even if they don’t have a lot of interviewing practice. And if they have lots of practice doing it incorrectly, this can work to correct those issues and get them back on track.