How Efficient Is Your Recruitment Process?

As a recruiter, it is always fascinating to take interview feedback from a candidate and compare their view to the clients.

Updated: 5th February 2024

Invariably, if there has been a real connection and the interview has been pleasant on both sides and the forthcoming offer is eagerly gobbled up, brilliant. Is that due to the quality of the recruitment process (100% match to the role) leading to an informal and rubber stamping of the candidate/employer match? Or is it down to the quality of the interview itself in that it has really uncovered the motivations, abilities and character of the candidate and as a result, sold the company in the process. Maybe, even their choice of Superhero/animal/breakfast cereal was on the button!

Sometimes it is luck and judgement on all three sides…recruiter, employer and candidate that achieves notable success.

However, if the stars aren’t aligned and a company needs to rely on a solid interview to differentiate the best candidate, where do you start or where should you analyse the options if, possibly, you feel your current interview process does not work?

In my experience, firms employ one of three interview types, sometimes out of choice and sometimes from a lack of care and attention. Mostly the interview process reflects the culture of the organisation. I know from experience when briefing candidates on their forthcoming interview. how difficult it sometimes is to accurately predict what is coming beyond the basics. In some organisations the interviews wildly differ from manager to manager to HR. Mostly we tell candidates the interview will be predictably unpredictable.

So how do you get a level of conformity into the process? Well first of all, let's consider the basis for most interviews and not the type of interview itself i.e zoom.

They are:

  • Structured interviews
  • Semi Structured interviews
  • Unstructured interviews.

There are pros and cons with each. As mentioned before, you need to understand these factors when choosing:

Do you want one interview process that allows the interviewers to ask several common questions, at all levels, to decide on the fit between candidate and the requirements of the business. The ‘fit’ will be measured against a number of competencies and skills or talents. Such as: 

  • Motivation
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Working in adversity
  • Problem solving
  • Conflict management
  • Customer service

This process once created, can be trained systematically throughout the organisation, briefed to recruiters and even supplemented by psychometric evaluations.

A structured interview system, is scientific in build, can be tweaked as a process but not during the interview. It requires discipline to conduct, and the outcomes recorded, noted and reviewed re the success of the recruitment process.

The downsides, however, are that candidates feel as if they have been dragged through a process and often feel they have left ‘something in the dressing room’.  A well-prepared candidate, aware of the S.T.A.R (Situation Task Action Result) process when answering competency style questions, will score higher than other candidates simply due to awareness and not their overall benefit to the business.

Favoured in a company where possibly senior managers / Partners recruit on their judgment via an open-ended discussion or conversation. It is usually led by one person and can be fast moving as topics crop up and are investigated in detail or not, as the case may be.

The questions are quizzical and require a level of expertise to elicit the correct response as in some cases, the interviewee may not know what is coming next and may feel uncomfortable.

Recording results for a company is very difficult as notes are rarely taken and assessing their results are more difficult against certain levels or standards.

Downsides to this approach is the bizarre twist on questions between candidates, the ease with which bias can be brought into the interview and the difficulty to prepare for the candidate. It is more of an emotional ride for the candidate.

As a recruiter, we tend to have our fingers crossed for this style of interview. Our judgement is based on the likelihood of a connection, based or experience, skills and personality match. The hope is that our judgement is matched by the quality of the interview process for the candidate to talk as freely as they did with us.

Semi Structured
As you may have worked out, this is a hybrid of the two choices and in my opinion, works best for both companies and the candidates. I believe it is allowing for greater flexibility within an interview structure that is understood, is trainable but flexible when in practice. 

Although the interviewee may not appreciate the subtleties between the interview types, they will come away having had the opportunity to sell themselves effectively, whilst still being questioned about their characteristics in a conversation style.

Questions can be formally drafted in advance of the interview based on the requirements of the role and the CV in front of them. However, the questions will be open ended, and flexibility allows a deeper conversation on a topic if necessary.

  • Interview planning
    Once a company has decided on its choice of the above, is the application of the interview itself and which one is best suited.
  • One to one
    Perfect for unstructured and semi structured interviews.
  • Telephone and Zoom
    A good fit for all three choices albeit hard to build the kind of personal rapport achieved in an unstructured interview.
  • Panel interview
    Perfect for the Structured interview process incorporating a note taker for accurate recording.
  • Assessment days
    All three choices can be incorporated as a hybrid although it does lend itself to a well-crafted structured interview incorporating scores from the various assessments.

One thing is for sure, companies should nail the process and train it through the managerial system and alert recruiters to what the process will be. Why? You will get consistency when the ‘stars are not in alignment’. 

New recruits will find it much easier to fast track when they join and more importantly, will be attracted to the role via the positivity of the interview process. Recruiters love uniformity and understanding the process. At Taylor Hawkes we manage multiple interview processes ranging from a personalised video recording of a candidate’s personal statement, to complex CBI panel interviews to a chat over a Frappuccino in a Starbucks.

And finally .....
For a slice of brevity, would you include any of the following in your new interview process? I would love to see how a scoring system of 1-6 would measure the answers to any of these.

  1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and how would you use it to advance your career?
  2. If our company allowed you to choose a parade as a cause of celebration, what would you choose?
  3. If you could sing one song at this interview to secure the position, what would it be?
  4. How lucky are you and why?
  5. If you were late at your next interview, due to your own mistake, what would you actually say?

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