Like most things in life, you learn a lot when something does not go as planned.
I have hired a number of people in my career, and between “mis-hires”, failing to uncover red flags, and simply struggling to find the right person for the job, I have come to understand what makes a successful hiring process.
One of the biggest lessons I have taken away from recruiting for various industries and hiring different functions for my own team at TwentyPine is that your interview process needs to adapt. In order to accurately assess a candidate for their skill set, culture add, and potential, you need to frame the interview for that specific role.
Too often, I hear that hiring managers default to conventional hiring practices without much consideration for the seniority level of the talent, or the specific skills that are necessary. You should not be using the same interview process for a potential Salesforce Admin as you would for more technical Salesforce hires like a Developer – just as you would not interview an SDR for your sales team with the same questions as someone for a role in the Finance department. The expectations for those roles are totally different and the questioning, as well as structure for the interview, should be too.
But, more importantly, the biggest mistake you could be making is having a person go through 3 traditional interviews where they simply talk about their background or their last job. This type of interviewing isn’t the only (or always the best) way to assess prospective employees.
In fact, learning about a job seeker’s previous employment and education is only providing you about half of that person’s story. Which is why there are multiple reports stating that traditional interviewing methods are only 50% effective. Especially because these days applicants can coach themselves to be personable and sound knowledgeable. Some people may be better at it than others, but it is important that your interviews dig below the surface, and provide you more tangible proof that this person can do the job and is the right fit for the company and culture you want to build.
Otherwise, you are as likely to make the correct hiring decision by simply flipping a coin – and I can tell you right now, that is not going to slide.
I know it may sound like a lot to set up different types of interviews for each individual function within a company or even just a smaller team but the time you take up front to be more creative with your process will only increase your chances of finding a long-term fit.
It doesn’t matter if you are in Talent Acquisition, one of the interviewers, the Direct Hiring Manager, or a company’s CEO. You all have a stake in your company making successful hires, so you are all responsible for making the interview process valuable.
So, I wanted to share the steps my team takes each time we look to hire for TwentyPine.
1.If it’s the first time you are hiring for this function, do your research.
Whether it is your first time hiring a Salesforce Admin or an Accountant it is so important to do you your research. Read up on the different skill sets a person of that function can have, what you can expect from the range of different years of experience, and even salary norms in the market.
You may think you know what you want based off what another company has, or even a previous employee that was in its place but it will never hurt to do some more reading to ensure you know what you want from this hire and who you need to be interviewing.
2. Define the most important criteria for this hire ahead of time.
The way I like to approach this is to think about where the need for the hire came up in the first place. Where are the holes in your current team? What would be a great addition to your team? Are you looking for someone with tangible leadership and management experience?
Then think back to similar hires you have made into this role if any. What are their strengths? What made that person successful? Those are probably things you want to seek out. On the flip side, where did those other hires fall short? Is there something you could have asked in an interview to predict that type of behavior?
These are all important pieces to consider because you are incorporating lessons learned from bad hires, and good hires, in order to make your next hire based on your companies needs.
3. Sit down as a hiring team to brainstorm how to assess those areas.
Now that you have your list of 5-10 must-haves, you need to decide the best practices for uncovering those characteristics in an interview. Some could be a direct question, but most will require more digging.
Our team likes to use activities prior to interviewing and role-plays during interviews as a great way to gauge the person’s potential in the role, how they process information, think on their feet, and communicate. Plus it is much more engaging for the candidate as well.
Think of ways you can incorporate these into your interviews but also don’t be afraid to ask more situational and hypothetical questions.
4. Ensure the new process is working!
Don’t be afraid to sit in on interviews to make sure your team is implementing that right questioning and that everything is happening the way it should be.
5. Lastly, when you debrief as a team after interviews, remember the criteria you created.
Avoid analysis paralysis, and groupthink by making sure your debriefs stay on topic, and that the conversation pertains to each area of criteria that you selected to interview for. This also ensures also a set standard as you interview more than one person for the same role.