Improve Your Quality of Hire with These 5 Tips for Enhancing the Final Interview

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Ray Gibson

Ray Gibson is CEO of StartMonday and has been working in HR and recruitment for 16 years. He has seen every type of recruitment process in a wide range of businesses and shocked the HR industry last year with the introduction of 15-second-videos for job assessments via StartMonday. Connect with Ray on LinkedIn.

 

$11 billion is lost annually in staff turnover. Think about that for a moment...billion.

How can that be avoided? It all starts with hiring—better hiring, that is.

Consistently hiring great people is tough, so finally getting to the end of the hiring process with a solid candidate can feel like a relief. But, ask yourself, is this candidate merely good, or are they great? Expending a little extra effort before taking the plunge can protect your quality of hire and save a lot of frustration—not to mention money—later on. Let me explain...

Take your typical hiring process to a new level

Most evolved hiring processes with a good candidate go something like this: you complete an initial screening and find out that a candidate meets all the must-have skills and qualities for the job. You then put them through a thorough, structured interview process where they have a chance to meet different members of the team on site and are assessed from different angles. The candidate receives thumbs-ups all around. And, they also meet the salary requirements. You’re thinking that they could be the one...

But before you pull out the champagne and noisemakers and extend an offer, stop and think for a moment. Just for a moment…not so long that you lose this candidate to the competition, but do sit and actively think of a creative way to see this candidate in a new light.

Their on-site, sit-down interview went very well, but this setting may not reveal the full story of the candidate’s character, skills, and capabilities. The best way to get a comprehensive look at the candidate is to consider taking the interview process one step further so that you can truly ensure you have seen all sides of the candidate and can make the best hiring decision accordingly.

You can accomplish this by including a wider range of both on site and offsite situations to help reveal more facets of the candidate’s personality and motivations and moreover, improve your quality of hire and hire success rate. Here are 5 interview extensions to consider, depending on the position and traits you’re hiring for:

1. Meetup

Invite candidates to a themed meetup up that your team is attending (e.g. invite coders to a hackathon). This is a great way for your team to see how the candidate behaves in an offsite social setting. Keep the situation relaxed and informal so it does not feel like an assessment. Ask your team for feedback the next day while impressions are fresh in their minds. How did the candidate do in a social setting? Did they try to form a rapport with others? Were they open to networking and meeting new people? Could your team see working with the candidate?

2. Trial Day

A trial day on the job is great for many roles to understand how the candidate reacts to real situations in real time. This day would also help the candidate see whether they truly are interested in the position. (Note: You may need to have the candidate sign an NDA, or you may need to have a senior team member mentor them beforehand if they’re actually going to interact with your customers or partners). Make sure more people chat with the candidate through the day and always include a lunch outing or other activity that is not just task-oriented. This helps you see the candidate in a less pressured setting and gives them time to raise questions or share how they feel the day is going. This day would be the best glimpse you would get into what it would be like to actually work with the candidate. At the end of the day, have your team reflect on whether they could truly see it happening.

3. Insights Report

For management and leadership roles, give the candidate a situation to analyze that relates to your business and ask them to present their insights and solutions back to you in a 5-minute presentation. When I was once a candidate, I was asked to visit and assess six branch offices of the company and then present back to management on client trends at each location. (Obviously, I was the one who was really being assessed by each of the branch managers!). Giving candidates in higher ranking positions this task will demonstrate whether they can present themselves professionally, can be quick on their feet, can make accurate judgments, and can relay information to others in a concise but informative way—all attributes of those who lead teams and serve as a face of the company.

4. Pitch

For sales jobs, pitching is critical and worth testing thoroughly. Ask the candidate to prepare a pitch for a product or service you specify in advance. Provide a projector so that they can prepare slides and visuals if they want. Allow them to really get into it so you can see how they’d do it as a member of your sales org. For any business with long sales cycles, it’s vital that your sales team is comprised of engaging personalities that can maintain the interest of a decision maker for long periods of time. So, ask yourself: Does the pitch dry up within a few minutes, or do you like the candidate and their approach more and more as every minute goes by?

5. Dinners

For executive hiring, so much of the success of an executive team relies on team dynamics, trust, and mutual respect. Inviting the candidate to a dinner, industry-related event, or even going on a short business trip together to show the candidate, for instance, a second facility or a partnering company, will reveal how this candidate connects with new people, investigates, and asks questions.



Positioning these approaches or similar ones as the final stage of your interview process will give you a greater understanding of how much the candidate really wants the job—and how fitting for it they would be. Taking that extra step to truly see all sides of a candidate will greatly pay off in more successful hires—and most importantly, save your company from all the money and frustrations that are wasted on poor hiring decisions.

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Interview Planning