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How Many Interviews are Too Many?

More and more companies are changing the process they use to identify who they want to hire out of the pool of applicants. Some have added questionnaires, which they use to pre-screen applicants before determining who to call. Others add IQ tests. Some have:

  • Phone interviews
  • Skype Interviews
  • Panel interviews
  • First Interviews
  • Second Interviews
  • Third interviews

In between, they may ask for samples of work completed, have follow up phone calls, and more…

At some point, it’s too much.

The Upper Limit of Interviews and Candidate Vetting

There are some companies that do not do enough. They have maybe one interview and if they like the person they hire them. That’s not the best way to find new hires because there are simply too many variables that go into determining who is the right fit for your company.

But some businesses go too far with the opposite approach. They make the applicant go through an almost unreasonable amount of work for a job they still may not get. They have interview after interview. Extra interviews because someone was sick. Phone screenings. Asking for the creation of samples. Personality tests – on and on and on.

Businesses need to respect their candidates’ time, even while balancing the need for proper vetting. Often candidates need to take sick days just to get to an interview, or are putting in hours upon hours of work and time only to find they did not get the job. This process is gruelling and, in many cases, does more to hurt your ability to find great talent than it does help your cause:

  • Great Talent May Not Have Time – Those that are working may eventually not be able to continue to attend the interviews, or may decide it is no longer worth their time to do so. The more extensive the process, the more you may force out some potential contributors.
  • Interest Can Fade Quickly – Those that genuinely want to work for an employer but do not get one job may still apply for another in the future. That’s something that you want as a company: people that are interested in you. But if your process to hire is too extensive, applicants may want to avoid being forced to go through that process, take time off work, etc., only to not get the job again.
  • Too Much Information – Scientists often talk about what happens if you have too much data. At some point, if you look at data from a wide variety of sources, you may eventually find correlations and relationships where none exist. Think of it this way – if you have an IQ test, sample work, reference checks, and 5 interviews, at some point the applicant may mess up. But if they passed 95% of the process, at what point does that 5% no longer matter?
  • Process Leaks – There is a word of mouth component of applying for jobs. If someone has a bad experience with your company, they are going to tell their friends, and their friends are less likely to be willing to apply for jobs at your company in the future. Your process should make sense to anyone that applies. Truly amazing career opportunities, like those that pay well for notoriously great companies, can get away with a bit more because people will always want to work there. But other companies are not so lucky.
  • Turning You Down – Even if you choose to hire them, the more extensive the interview process the less likely they will be to accept the job or be excited that they work there. This is especially true for jobs that do not offer competitive pay or benefits. There are countless examples of companies that put applicants through hours upon hours of vetting, only for the applicant to turn down the job once offered because of their frustration.

So there is no specific number of interviews that is too many. There is also no rule about what you can make the person do. It is helpful to have a thorough process in place to make sure that you’re hiring the right people.

Just remember to be respectful of their time. The more you decide to put them through to get the job, the more the job will need to be worth it for the applicant, and justifiable for getting the position.

Tips to Improve Candidate Engagement

Candidate engagement is becoming the newest trend in improving the recruitment talent pool. Companies that use candidate engagement strategies are more likely to attract great talent, more likely to keep them interested, more likely to recommend you to others, and much more.

Even without realising it, many companies have strategies in place to create more engagement. For example, if you have testimonials from your employees on your website, that’s a form of engagement. If you have a recruiter connect with candidates on LinkedIn after they apply, you are engaging.

But there are many different ways to engage, and many different ways to improve how you engage.

Consider the following candidate engagement improvement strategies:

  • Treat Every Applicant Like You Want Them On Board – Every single person that applies or shows interest to your company should be treated like they will be an employee someday, even if they are nowhere near being an employee yet. Keep in touch with them, add them to some type of newsletter, let them know about open jobs – maybe even tell them some things they can do to improve their candidacy to you in the future. The more each candidate feels like you want them someday, even if it’s not yet the right time, the more engaged they will be.
  • Create a Broad Recruitment Channel – Run and operate multiple social media channels, have an active role in industry forums, show up at industry events. Do what you can to give exposure to your brand, your recruiters, and more. Create as many avenues as possible for people to get exposed to your business, and make it possible for them to contact you and engage with you from multiple places.
  • Send Them Possible Jobs – We touched on this earlier, but sending them jobs that may fit their skillset is a great way to improve engagement. It is a better strategy with larger companies that are more likely to have positions available, but sending them personalized open positions that may be relevant to their skillset is a great way to show them they matter.
  • Have A Good Recruitment Process – Your recruitment process also plays a role in engagement. Balance your need to get great information with the need to make sure that you’re doing your part to make the candidate comfortable. For example, opening your office for a late interview so that they do not have to take time off work shows them you really care about their time.
  • Give Candidates More and More Reasons – Focus on yourself as a company as well. What can you do to be more attractive as a company to potential candidates? Companies like Google and LinkedIn became famous for the things they do for their employees – free concerts, free food, unlimited days off, and more. You don’t have to become famous for yours, but you should be finding more ways to give people a reason to seek you out as an employer.

Candidate engagement isn’t easy. It takes good ideas, time, and a commitment to find ways to engage current and future applicants. But the time you spend can be a great tool for finding better talent, and getting more people interested in your company.

What is Candidate Engagement?

Recruitment is about finding and hiring the best possible candidates to fill open positions at your company. Every step you take – from the creation of the job advertisement to reviewing candidates to calling and interviewing those that stand out from the rest – is geared towards getting the best possible contributors into your company.But there is something that often gets lost throughout that process – the desire for candidates to want to work for

But there is something that often gets lost throughout that process – the desire for candidates to want to work for you, and to feel as though they actively want to become a part of your company.

Introduction to Candidate Engagement

The idea of engagement has been growing in popularity in businesses all over Australia, but it is often limited to employees. Employee engagement is the idea of integrating strategies that make the employee feel like they are truly a part of the company, where the company’s success is its personal success and those that work with you are family.Candidate engagement is similar.

Candidate engagement is similar. It is the strategy of trying to get candidates to feel like they want to be a part of your company, and that they are not just some random outsider that your company could do without. It’s making you seem like more than just an employer, and giving the candidate ways to interact and engage with the company beyond simply sending in an application.

Examples of Candidate Engagement

There are many different ways to engage candidates and make them feel more connected to your businesses. Some examples include:

  • Creating a marketing campaign that highlights what makes you a great place to work.
  • Engaging in recruitment and outreach on social media.
  • Have everyone in your company treat candidates like customers.

Think about what will make people interested in your business, and what will attract the interested in working for you. It’s important to come up with your own strategies for candidate engagement as well, because there are many opportunities out there, and the payoff for taking advantage of them can be pronounced.

Why is Candidate Engagement Important?

Candidate engagement has many benefits for employers:

  • It increases the frequency of applicants.
  • It increases the interest level of applicants.
  • It reduces the growing problem of candidate dropouts.
  • It helps new hires be more excited when they start work.
  • It spreads the word about your company to other potential applicants.

It can improve the quality of the talent pool, it can help provide damage control for those that aren’t taking the job, and so much more. If you haven’t yet considered candidate engagement, now may be the time to consider it. The earlier you get started, the more likely you will be able to see positive results.

Tips to Reduce Candidate Dropout

Much of hiring is focused on what you need as a company. It’s about finding the talent that matches your company culture, the production needed at the position, and more. From the interview questions to the recruitment process, the focus is mostly on what you can do to make sure you’re identifying the right talent.

But it’s important not to lose track of the candidate experience as well, and one of the major challenges that many companies are facing is candidate dropout. This is when a good candidate – possible the candidate you planned to hire – decides to withdraw their name from contention or turns down the job in some way.

The Problem of Candidate Dropout

For many companies, candidate dropout is a real problem. Indeed, candidate dropout is, itself, a warning sign that something may be wrong with your hiring process. Usually, when someone receives an interview for a job they are happy, and stay in contention until the moment they are either hired, or told that the company is going to go a different direction.

If someone is turning down interviews, or has decided they are no longer interested in the position in some way, it may mean:

  • You’re losing out on great applicants.
  • You’re doing something wrong that is affecting their interest.
  • Your company may have some type of negative PR, etc.

Perhaps the greatest issue is the first one. The most likely candidates to drop out of contention are those that feel they can get a job elsewhere, and often that implies that they know they are good candidates for other positions.

How to Reduce Candidate Dropout

Luckily, there are many different techniques, strategies, and tips that you can use to reduce candidate dropout. If dropout has become a problem in your hiring process, consider the following tips:

  • Make Yourself Available at Better Times – Not all dropout is due to something your company did or didn’t do. Sometimes it is caused by simply not being able to take time off for the interview. One strategy to consider is to make yourself available at times more convenient to the applicant, like after work. This helps ensure that you can hire those that are employed at demanding jobs.
  • Communicate With Them Often – Dropout sometimes occurs as a result of a lack of communication. Many companies spend weeks at a time failing to communicate whether or not the person got the job (or even the next interview). Frequent updates go a long way towards ensuring that the candidate retains their interest.
  • Respect Their Time – Similar to making yourself available, you should also make sure you’re respecting their time. That means trying to bunch interviews together, rather than forcing the individual to travel for 3, 4, or 5 interviews. It means knowing that they are taking time off work, and not dilly-dallying around and wasting their valuable sick days. Respect the time of each candidate you call.
  • Shorten Your Hiring Time – The longer it takes for you to make a decision, the more likely the candidate is going to move on. Try to hire quickly and efficiently to keep interest level in the position high, and reduce the risk of the applicants finding other positions they get more excited about.
  • Know What the Employee Sees About You Online – If you have negative reviews of your workplace, or any PR that may turn people off from working for you, the applicant is going to see it. Be aware of this feedback and address it in some way, because everyone that is applying for your job will do their research.
  • Give Them Reasons to Work With You – We discuss this a lot here at Recruit Shop, but as a company, it’s important to make sure you’re offering something that other companies are not offering. They should have a desire to work for you, because you represent something more than just a salary. Try integrating strategies into your business that will turn on possible talent.
  • Show Them How You Match Them – Sometimes all you need to do is make sure they recognise how well you fit their needs. Consider what you have learned about them through the interview process and show them that you’re the employer best suited both for their abilities and their personality.
  • Make the Interviews Engaging – When an interview is too rigid and formal, it can be an intimidating and discomforting experience for the applicant. Make the interviews more engaging. You can do this by having them take place at a coffee shop, telling them more about the great parts of your workplace, etc.
  • Offer Jobs Fast – If you think you may hire them, don’t waste any time letting them know. One of the greatest mistakes companies make is taking too much time. The applicant is looking for an answer, because they need to move on with their needs as well. Companies that take too long to offer the job tend to cause applicants to look for better work.

Each of these strategies has the potential to reduce candidate dropout, which should be a priority for all companies. The more likely someone is to withdraw their name, the more you’re losing out on potentially great contributors.

The Difference Between A Human Resource Manager and a Hiring Manager

Here at the Recruit Shop Blog, we sometimes throw terms around without necessarily defining them for the broader audience. Since many of our clients are entrepreneurs, franchisees, and startups, it’s common to go into recruitment not always fully understanding the terminology.

One common area of confusion is the difference between a “human resource manager” and a “hiring manager.” Although the two terms can sometimes be used interchangeably in some companies, they can have very different meanings in others.

What is a Human Resource Manager?

Human resources is the department that handles all tasks as they relate to those that either currently work for your company, or may work for your company in the future. Just like an office supply manager would be in charge of office supplies, so too is a human resource manager in charge of humans as resources.
Their job encompasses a wide range of goals, and yes, hiring is often one of those goals:
• They recruit and hire staff for open positions
• They make sure that new employees have what they need.
• They make sure that existing employees have what they need.
• They make sure that each part of the company has the resource (person) they need.
• They make sure that employees are satisfied, handle employee complaints, and more.
Human resource managers are, as the name implies, the people in charge of the human resource department. Although they have many other roles, they do generally handle many hiring tasks, but they are not necessarily hiring managers.

What is a Hiring Manager?

Human resource managers have a specific title within the organisation. Hiring managers, on the other hand, can be anyone in the company at any time.

The hiring manager is the person at the workplace, generally a supervisor of some kind (although not necessarily), that is in charge of making the final decision on who to hire to replace ONE position. For example, if the IT department is looking for a new coder, then the head of IT may be the hiring manager for that job, as they are the final decision on who they want to add to their department.

The manager of the sales department may be the hiring manager for the new Sales Lead hire. The manager of marketing may be the hiring manager for the Social Media Specialist position. In theory, the hiring manager may not be a manager at all. Any employee within an organisation may considered the hiring manager if they are tasked with finding someone for an open position.

Hiring Managers and Human Resources

Human Resource managers may also be hiring managers, especially with large companies that depend almost exclusively on their HR departments. But since most applicant approval is left to someone in the department they will eventually work, that is often not the case.

Finally, the person in charge of finding and interviewing candidates may be called the hiring manager even if they are not the manager that makes the final decision. For example, if you are a department manager that has someone on your staff advertise the job, review resumes, interview, and then you are simply there for one final interview and approval, the person that did all the work was “managing the hiring” so they may be referred to as either “hiring manager” or “hiring staff” and the term is often interchangeable.

Hopefully, this clears up a bit of confusion between the terms. When we talk about recruitment, frequently we talk about the word “hiring manager” as a catch all for anyone on staff that is involved, because the tips and strategies are the same regardless of their actual title.

5 Simple Rapport Questions that Tell You a Lot About a Candidate

Although they may seem like every day banter, the first, friendly, “nothing” questions that you ask a candidate are still part of the interview. We call those “rapport questions,” and they’re designed to make the candidate more comfortable talking to you, get you more comfortable talking to the candidate, and make sure that the two of you are able to start getting to know each other.

These questions can be important. Imagine that you have a candidate coming in for an interview and you ask them “did you find the place okay?” and their answer is “no, your map was awful, whoever created it should be fired.” Immediately your reaction should be that this is not a candidate you want in your office.

What Rapport Questions Give You the Most Information?

Although these questions are largely designed to make candidates comfortable, there is no harm in being a bit strategic with how you ask them. As long as you’re careful not to “overjudge.” Meaning, as long as you don’t hold a perfectly reasonable answer against someone, then you can consider the rapport questions a formal part of the interview.

In general, rapport questions are designed to identify negative personality traits, like a complainer or someone that is unprofessional. It is also designed to capture the best of the best – the candidates that are engaging and intriguing and fit in well with the company.

  • Have You Been Enjoying the Weather?

This is one of the easiest questions to ask, and one of the most effective at catching negative people. If the weather has truly been awful it is okay to provide a little complaint, but there is a difference between someone laughing and saying “it’s not my favorite” compared to someone that answers “It’s depressing” and says little else.

  • How Was Your Weekend?

Be careful not to judge people for their personal life. You don’t want to avoid candidates that do perfectly reasonable activities, just because they’re not what you like in a person (such as gambling or doing nothing). But watch for answers that are clearly negatively focused.

  • How Do You Like Our Office?

If you have a modern, sleek office, or something that most people really enjoy, this is a good question to ask, as it reveals how dedicated they are to getting the job. If they don’t say anything positive, that’s a big red flag. It can also open up the door to talk about their previous workplace, and you can see if they talk about it in a positive it negative light and why.

  • Any Plans Coming Up?

This question is also useful because it identifies applicants that may have upcoming plans you need to know about, but they were afraid to ask you. As usual, it also gives the applicant a chance to be engaging or show they have great goals. Don’t necessarily hold a “no plans” answer against them though. See if they’re engaging and thoughtful with their responses instead.

  • How Do You Like Living in CITY?

Finally, perhaps the best question to ask is what they think about the city. Everyone has strong opinions of where they live. If those opinions are negative, then it’s clear they were not prepared to impress you or they are lacking in social talents. This is also their chance to give answers that are engaging, or give answers that are boring and thoughtless.

Asking the Right Questions

Rapport interview questions are just one piece of the interview puzzle, and unlike some interview answers that can exclude the candidate from consideration, all candidates should be given a chance even after a bad rapport interview answer – because, by definition, rapport questions are there to help someone get comfortable, and may not reflect their overall talent.

But it’s also important to remember that your job is to find the best talent that will also fit into the workplace, with an attitude that is useful for the company and a personality that will fit in well. So if you receive a lot of negative answers, or something about the way the candidate answers the questions rubs you the wrong way, that should be something you think about when you consider whether or not to hire them.

3 Tips for Better Phone Interviews

When you receive a lot of potentially qualified candidates, it’s not uncommon to need a way to narrow them down. After all, in-person interviews can take a lot of time, and it’s better to make sure that you are only inviting the best candidates and not simply the “adequate” ones.

To do this, most companies employ phone interviewers and conduct brief, structured, 15 minute or less interviews with every candidate that appeared qualified. Phone interviewers are a powerful way to rapidly move through candidates. But they are also prone to mistakes. Below are some quick tips to help make sure your phone interviews are more reliable and effective.

Brief Phone Interview Tips

  • Always Leave a Message – When calling an applicant, either to schedule the phone interview or to make the phone interview, you may need to be a bit more forgiving if they don’t pick up. Most people have switched to mobile phones only, and sometimes they do not pick up when they do not recognize a number. Leave a friendly message and make sure you give them time to call back.
  • Create a Measurable Performance System – Here’s a little known secret about phone interviews: when judged subjectively, interviewers tend to ignore candidates they call in the middle of their day, or candidates that they called right after an amazing candidate. That’s because when you’re measuring candidate quality subjectively, outside factors can affect outcomes, such as comparisons to a recently great candidate or boredom from calling candidates for 8 hours straight. Make sure you’re judging candidates by some type of system that is measurable and fair.
  • Remember to Be Friendly and Open – Similarly, many companies treat phone interviews like they’re a chance for the applicant to prove themselves. But it’s also branding for the company. Top talent is going to be less likely to take a job if the phone interviewer sounds grouchy and rude. Remember to make sure that you are friendly and open to the applicant so they want to work for your company.

Phone interviews are their own unique beast. But you can make sure that your interviews go more smoothly when you follow the above tips and strategies to help you maximize the interview process.

Benefits of Hiring an Underqualified Candidate

Last week we looked at some of the reasons that you may want to hire an overqualified candidate. There are risks associated with overqualified candidates, including the likelihood of them leaving for a higher paying position or showing an unwillingness to take direction. But there are also benefits, including the talent, knowledge, and drive that comes with these types of candidates.

Well, we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss another group you may be in a hurry to overlook – the underqualified candidates.

Why Hire Underqualified Candidates?

By definition, an underqualified candidate is someone that may not necessarily be right for the job. They don’t have the strongest resume or education, and on paper they aren’t necessary perfect for the job.

Of course, these players come with risk. Lots of risk, in fact. They’re underqualified, which means that they are:

  • Less likely to know what to do.
  • Less likely to handle the demands of the position.
  • Less likely to adapt to the work environment quickly.

Hiring an underqualified candidate in many ways makes little sense. But that doesn’t mean they make no sense, and there are situations where you will want to strongly consider the underqualified candidate. Consider the following:

  • Talent Doesn’t Always Have Qualifications

This is the most important reason to at least consider unqualified talent. Your goal is always (always, always) to hire talent. You want someone that is going to thrive in the role, and deliver outstanding results to your business.

Talent comes in all shapes and sizes, all ages, and all experiences. If you analyse someone and it’s clear that they have some real, valuable talent, then you don’t want to exclude them simply because their talent doesn’t match what you thought you needed for the job, you’re going to let that talent go to one of your competitors instead.

  • Not All Qualifications Are Important

One of the most dangerous lines you can add to any job description is “minimum X years experience.” That is because rarely, if ever, does that literal amount of minimum experience become necessary. Many places put statements like “Minimum 5 years of experience.” Should someone not apply if they have 4 years? What about 3? What if they’re extremely talented but only have 2? Why not even 1?

All you’re looking for is talent. If someone only works in the field for a short time, but is extremely knowledgeable and skilled, then lacking a few years of experience is irrelevant. It’s dangerous enough to share a minimum number of years on a job board posting since you may turn off qualified talent that doesn’t match that criteria, but it’s even worse to turn down great applicants because they were unable to meet those expectations.

  • Less Qualified Can Mean Better Loyalty

Theoretically, though it would occur on a case by case basis, an employee that is not necessarily qualified for the position should be more likely to be thankful for the opportunity you have given to them, and stay with you longer.

For this to be true, the applicant needs to be someone that appreciates jobs and seems like someone that would have great loyalty, and that’s something you’re going to have to figure out based on that person’s character. But someone that has natural loyalty is more likely to appreciate the job they have, and what they can do with it.

  • Anyone Can Grow and Learn

Ask anyone that has hired for years and they’ll tell you that, experience or no experience, you never know how much training someone will need or how they’ll handle the position until they’re in it. Sure, there are exceptions – you don’t want to hire someone to lead IT if they don’t know coding, or hire someone for social media manager when they have yet to open a Facebook account, but lots of “experienced” workers need to be trained and re-trained based on your company’s principles, programs, and processes. Experience will have very little effect on that.

It could even be argued that an intelligent and skilled worker that happens to be less qualified may even be better for learning, because they are more open to new experiences and a new way of doing things.

So Should You Hire Unqualified Candidates?

You shouldn’t necessary hire or not hire someone based on one thing. Unqualified applicants are, by definition, high risk. Hire someone that is over their head, and that person could bring down your entire company.

But you shouldn’t immediately exclude people either. With all components of recruitment, you should take everyone into some consideration, and use what you’ve learned to decide whether or not they are worth the hire. Every single person is different, so every person should be considered before excluding them because of one single factor.

What Happens if You Don’t Have a Qualified Candidate?

These days, the traditional job posting receives dozens, sometimes hundreds of applicants. There is a good chance that somewhere in there amongst all that mess there is at least one candidate that would be good for the role.

But that doesn’t mean there is ALWAYS a candidate that is good for the role, nor is your company always looking for just “good.” They are looking for “great.” What should you do if you were unable to attract a good candidate to the job?

Tips to Get More Qualified Candidates

Rather than simply post all of the information up once again, consider the following tips for attracting better candidates:

  • Be More Proactive – Instead of waiting for candidates to come to you, go out and get the candidates you want yourself. Contact people on LinkedIn, social media, relevant groups, and more. There are always good candidates out there, and you don’t have to wait for them to come to you.
  • Change Your Job Ad – Often the problem is simply that the job advertisement you put up was not captivating enough to attract your audience. Try a completely new job ad, and see if that new ad is able to attract the people are you looking to add to your company.
  • Increase Your Visibility – Similarly, where did you post your job description? On your website? On one or two job boards? Consider making your post much more visible, placing it in as many customized niche places as possible and truly getting your name out there for great talent to see.

As an Australian Recruitment Company, one of the reasons that companies hire is because we have years of experience finding lists of qualified applicants for all types of companies, along with our personal guarantees over the quality of each applicant. It can be difficult to find people yourself that are qualified.

If you find that you were unable to capture enough great applicants, rather than do the same thing and expect different results, you should change how you were recruiting and see if that helps get the right people applying to your company.