In Part 1 of this series, I cited three key areas for successfully finding good candidates in a timely manner:
- Well defined position profiles
- Strong pipeline and blended sourcing strategy
- Strong, well-designed interview process
I focused on how to effectively profile a position and why it was so critical to the whole process. For Part 2, I’d like to skip over to the interview process – the other area that also does not usually get the appropriate attention. Because every organization and culture is different, I am going to use a personal case study to illustrate one way this can be done.
- High demand for new hires
- Limited resources in staffing
- Hiring Managers strapped for time
- Strong need to increase the quality of new hires
- Decrease historical time to fill due to time-sensitive customer deliverables
- Address historically inconsistent technical screening results among interviewers
Any of this sound familiar? In this particular case, I was actually fairly new to the company at the time, as was the leader of the department with “the challenge” — and the company was all ready at risk of meeting time-sensitive customer deliverables. We also needed to replace some ineffective third-party contractors and offshore resources that were being utilized, in addition to hiring the additional, new talent necessary to move forward as quickly as possible. No pressure though.
Build and Train Your Interview Team
The concept of key connections should really help drive who should be on the interview team. In this particular case, we not only utilized the Hiring Manager and at least one strong performing peer, we also included one or more key connections.
Trained, experienced interviewers are key to the effectiveness of your interview process. Included was changing the mindset of the interviewers that being a part of the interview process was a privilege, not a burden or hassle — a chance to take great interest and pride in the building of their team. After all, it is one of the most important things that they could do to help ensure their success, the success of their team, and the company as a whole. As such, they should bring as much passion to that process as they did to their work itself. Our interviewers were trained on how to assess candidates against the profiled position(s) by utilizing the structure of our interview day, as well as the various interviewing methodologies selected to help extract the information needed from these candidates. We were all in this together, so role-playing, mock interviews, and group feedback were a major part of this training.
Your jobs are accurately profiled. Your interview team is set and trained. Now we just needed to screen and select who would be invited to that final round of in-person interviews.
The Role Assessment Testing Played
In this case, it played a big role for us. For the record, I am not here to advocate for any particular products as I am a firm believer that there is no one correct solution for everyone — and there are endless vendors and tools out there. There are vast resources available via the web or third-party consultants :) to help guide you through the process of successfully selecting (or creating), implementing, and correctly using assessment tools and technology. For the purposes of this post, I will focus purely on how we used these tools in this process.
We utilized 3 different types of assessments in our efforts to rebuild this team.
- ATS Screening Function. We took advantage of our ATS’s screening function to determine and prioritize which candidates met our “basic qualifications” and needed to be screened by Recruiting. The candidates who “passed” the screening by our recruiters were then sent a technical assessment, since these particular positions were technical in nature.
- Technical Assessment. Historically the technical screens had been done by the technical staff. Outside of the usual scheduling hassles, results would also vary greatly based on how “tough” the interviewer decided to be — and sometimes that became more the focus than just an objective assessment of technical skills, knowledge and experience. Our technical staff were also facing enormous workloads – but even if they weren’t, we would want them to be focused on the right candidates when they did commit time to interviews. Utilizing a technical assessment tool specific to the appropriate tool(s)/platform(s), we were able to reduce our need for time-consuming technical interviews. We also had an objective, consistent bar to judge a candidate’s technical qualifications. Onto the behavioral assessment…
- Behavioral Assessment. We used a tool that measured a candidate’s behavior and potential. It helped us gain insights into workplace strengths and weaknesses by providing a clearer picture into the personalities and natural aptitudes of our candidates. It not only helped us understand what may motivate the profilee, but how he/she may deal with workload, stress, details, organization and interaction with others. Results were used for highlighting which candidates had behavioral profiles that compared favorably to the position profiles – and who did not.
Once we knew a candidates technical strengths, proficiencies, and weaknesses we knew what to focus on during the interview process to validate and assess their ability to be successful in our environment. This also gave us valuable insights into a prospective new employee’s training and development plan going forward.
As a side note, we also utilized our behavioral tool to have the interview team profile what is expected, behaviorally, of the position. When Recruiting would facilitate the profiling session outlined in Part 1, we used the results from different team members to help gain consensus where results would differ. We also took advantage of the agreed upon profile to inspire more targeted job postings designed to attract the people we were seeking.
- Met demand for new hires and more importantly the quality of the team allowed them to exceed critical, time-sensitive deliverables and ahead of schedule
- Time to Fill decreased up to 50%
- Interview to Hire ratio increased to 70%
- Significant cost savings as a result of replaced 3rd party consultants and massive reduction in agency fees
Profiling these positions upfront and using the screening and assessment process to increase the amount of candidates we could qualify greatly impacted our ability to achieve the results that we did. And as you can see the business implications were huge. Despite our challenges, we used this process to exceed the expectations of our corporate clients, as well as industry analysts, investors, etc. and save valuable time and money.
The key takeaway is investing quality time at the beginning of the process to set and gain consensus on selection criteria and the assessment process to support it, kept the entire team focused and accountable — and ensured we found good, quality candidates, who exceeded expectations, within a much shorter timeframe.