Getting Technical: How to Minimize Losses During the Hiring Process

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Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

By Eric Wise

This is the third post in a series on building outstanding tech teams. 

Now that there is structure to the interview process and you are maximizing predictability of candidate evaluations, it is time to address the topic of minimizing loss.

Technology workers are highly-skilled, in-demand candidates. If a candidate is in your pipeline, there is a good chance they are being considered by other organizations as well. An effective technical interview can help ensure that you proceed to the offer stage.

Invest in your hiring team

Minimizing loss starts with the hiring team. As with many aspects of business, you are only as good as your team. Yet few companies have formal processes for training, reviewing, and measuring their interviewers. Just as you qualify candidates, you must also qualify interviewers.

Hiring decisions ideally are made by a group with emphasis placed on the feedback received from those who will work the most closely with the candidate. Hiring teams should work as a group to craft the questions and processes that ensure they set realistic expectations of the role. They should perform practice interviews and receive feedback from their peers. 

Success comes down to two key metrics:

  1. Qualified candidates remain in the pipeline. 
  2. Hired candidates are ultimately successful in their roles.

Being a good interviewer is a skill. Success at mastering it generally correlates to being a good leader. Having poor interviewers in your hiring process reflects negatively on your company, and you will lose good candidates because of it.

Communication Drives Engagement

During the hiring process, every touch (or non-touch) tells candidates who you are. As the adage goes, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Your communication must be on-point in a high-demand, competitive hiring environment.

  • Respond swiftly and personally to inquiries.
  • Be transparent about your hiring process and timing early in the process.
  • Always “mind the gaps” in communication. The longer you go without contacting a candidate, the more likely they are to assume you aren’t interested and to move on.

Consider taking a page out of drip marketing campaigns. Use gaps as an opportunity to reach out to evangelize and reinforce your company culture and values.

Time is precious

Beyond the hiring team and communication protocol, make sure to be respectful of your candidate’s time. It’s easy for a candidate to notice a lack of respect for time. Here are some good rules to follow to minimize loss with respect to time:

  • Make it easy for candidates to “impulse apply.” Passive candidates often apply when they are emotionally negative about their current jobs. Overly complicated forms and processes give the person time to calm down and talk themselves out of applying, while in-demand and busy candidates likely have better things to do. It shouldn’t take more than five to 10 minutes to get into your hiring pipeline. 
  • Make in-person interviews “one and done” whenever possible. Do not ask candidates to take multiple days off of their current job for the privilege of being considered for a position. 
  • Make each meeting efficient. Be on time. Your hiring team should follow a process and not waste time tracking people down, finding interview rooms, or repeating questions already asked. When a candidate is asked to tell the same story multiple times, they are likely to get fatigued and annoyed. Additionally, if your team is taking and comparing notes as they should, your debriefs will be productive.  

Make sure that every member of the hiring team gives their full attention to the candidate. No taking calls. No peeking on your mobile device. No answering email. This meeting is your chance to connect with the candidate and make them feel seen and validated, which goes a long way towards keeping them in your pipeline.

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