In the post-pandemic world, virtual interviews and remote employment options abound. This could be a good thing for candidates; 62% think being virtual gives them a competitive advantage. But many hiring managers are finding it difficult to adequately evaluate candidates while also enticing the best talent to join their ranks.
Our clients tell us about candidates who have impressive resumes and give the right interview answers but can’t perform to expected levels on the job. This skills mismatch has led to an uptick in technical interviews. These interviews, which became popular in the 1990s for software developers, aim to quantify an applicant’s skills. Yet while technical interviews may prove a candidate’s resume is accurate, they don’t make the candidate feel wanted as a person.
So how can companies marry their need for proof of skills with a candidate’s need to feel pursued by the company?
Proving Candidates’ Skills
According to LinkedIn, 74% of job seekers look forward to sharing their knowledge, experience, and skills during an interview. If a candidate is hesitant to share, this could be a red flag that they are not as skilled as their resume suggests. (Or they might just be nervous!) To avoid investing in the wrong person, companies should develop a strategic approach to interviews.
By planning your interview questions in advance, you’re able to structure them to judge the most important skills and values relating to the position. For example, if the position must have SQL experience, ask several questions that can help determine the candidate’s expertise.
Behavioral interview questions are those that require an answer based on the candidate’s experience or describing their future actions. You can learn a lot from the candidate’s ability to answer these questions as well as their demeanor while they collect their thoughts. If someone is unable to describe their past work or envision a future scenario, it might point to their lack of capability.
If a technical component is critical for your company, soften it with a more conversational framing. Explain to the candidate up front that there is a technical aspect of the hiring process and give them a chance to discuss any concerns. After the technical part, be sure to follow up with your appreciation of their understanding. People don’t want to feel like they’re being reduced to a number, so make them feel seen as a person!
And what about soft skills? Notoriously difficult to assess, soft skills are crucial for judging a culture fit with your company. You should determine the soft skills that are most applicable to the position just as you would for the technical aspects. Be sure to ask questions that cannot be answered with “yes” or “no” only. Instead of “Are you a team player?” try another behavioral question. For example, “Give an example of a time you acted for the good of the team.”
Improving the Candidate Experience
The good news is that 80% of candidates accept offers after a positive hiring experience. Since you’re devoting hours of recruiting and interviewing time to finding the right person, it’s also financially important to provide the best experience you can.
So how can you sell your opportunity to top talent and gain the necessary buy-in from candidates? How can you differentiate your company and position from other similar opportunities?
The key to a positive hiring experience is communication. When companies are transparent with candidates and communicate at every step of the hiring process, they build trust. 85% of job seekers say that transparency throughout the process is important to their experience. Even if you need to tell someone they are no longer being considered, it’s best to communicate clearly and promptly.
Again, it’s best to take a strategic approach to your hiring process and think through the steps from a candidate’s point of view. At what point will you provide information about available benefits and other perks? Consider promoting these things, along with your company culture, earlier in the process to build excitement for the company as well as the role.
An expedient process is also preferable for job seekers. The waiting period between multiple rounds of interviews can be nerve-wracking. Clear communication between these stages can cut some of the uncertainty that candidates face. Moving quickly will also help with differentiation in the market. The average hiring process takes three to four weeks, so if you can speed up your company’s time-to-hire you can potentially beat out competitors who are interviewing the same candidates.
At A Glance
- Develop a strategic approach to interviews
- Plan your questions in advance
- Ask behavioral questions
- Be as transparent about the process as possible
- Communicate at every step
- Provide information about benefits and company culture
- Expedite your hiring process
- Ask “yes” or “no” questions
- Forget to add a human element to technical interviews
- Leave candidates in the dark about the hiring process
- Drag out multiple rounds of interviews
Do you have additional questions about marrying the need for proof of skills with a candidate’s need to feel pursued by the company? Contact Employment Enterprises today to see how we can strengthen your workforce.