October 20, 2023
Did you know that…
That means if things don’t work out with an employee whose salary is $50K, you’re looking at coughing up $25-$100K for a do-over. Now I don’t want to make any assumptions here, but I’m guessing you don’t have that kind of pocket change clanking around in your annual budget, right?
So, what can we do about this? How can we avoid employee turnover and save ourselves time, energy, and of course…MONEY in replacement costs? Believe it or not, securing your ROI on your next employee starts long before that person’s first day on the job. In fact, it starts before you’ve even identified who that person is.
It all begins with the interview process.
Establishing an efficient, effective, and replicable interview process is the best way to build your business’s internal scalability (more on that fun little term later) and secure your ROI, each time you hire.
So let’s talk about interviewing…
Let me be super clear, I’m not here to tell you there’s some magical formula or golden question to ask during an interview that will guide you to the PERFECT candidate who will dedicate the rest of their career to your business. But in all my years of interviewing hundreds and hundreds of candidates, for other people’s companies and for my own business, I’ve whittled down the interview process into 4 basic steps that will all but guarantee a successful hiring outcome.
But these 4-step aren’t just your typical interviewing guidelines. Like I said, these steps are tried and tested over the course of hundred and hundreds of hires, all through the lens of compliance – so I promise you…this sh*t works.
Before we dive into the 4 steps, I want to clarify that this post assumes that you’ve already crafted an ✨iconic ✨ job post that perfectly communicates the requirements of the position, who you are as a leader, and what your business and its culture are all about.
So once you’ve posted the job and candidates are rolling in – it’s time to start thinking about the next stage: the interviews.
Laying The Foundation For a Successful Interview Process
If you’ve ever been interviewed by someone stuck in old HR ways, you’re probably familiar with the icky feeling you got when they acted like they were doing you a favor, just by considering you….despite your clear qualifications for the job.
Well, in case you haven’t figured this out by now, I’m not your typical HR lady (did the cursing, Schitt’s Creek GIFs, and consistent Bravo references give me away??) So on behalf of all my fellow modern HR folks who are working to flip the antiquated HR paradigm, I apologize for the shortcomings of those who came before me.
And that’s why I need to start out by underscoring how crucial it is to prioritize candidate comfort throughout the entire interview process.
This not only helps communicate your company culture from the get-go but also lays the foundation for a successful hire. And honestly, it’s really not hard to do. Small gestures, like respecting their time and communicating if you’re running late to your scheduled interview, will create a positive interview experience for everyone involved and make a big impact on your business’s image.
Remember: in today’s competitive market, you’re competing for top talent just as much as the top talent is competing for your open role. Nobody is doing anyone any favors, so it’s important to go into the interview process with respect and an open mind.
Step 1: Candidate Screening
So now that everyone’s comfortable, this first step is about screening. You should begin the interview process for every position with a checklist of your non-negotiable “must-have” and your “would-be-nice-to-have” skills and experiences. This’ll give you a clear and consistent baseline to sort through candidates and make decisions about who will advance through to the next stages.
If you haven’t listened to my podcast episode with Chandler J. Esq. yet, check that out to hear why an unwavering commitment to your non-negotiables is a long game that’s SO worth the wait.
Step 2: Culture Fit Assessment
Once you’ve narrowed down your candidate list to a handful or two, it’s time to think about how your ideal candidate will fit into your business, both professionally and personally.
It’s important to maintain a clear focus on WHAT you’re looking for in a candidate (great communication, punctuality, self-directed, proactive, loves Bravo gossip….) while remaining open to various “who” possibilities. This not only reduces bias, but also opens the door for more diverse hires and optimizes your return on investment.
Important note: the term ‘culture fit’ is often used as a smokescreen for bias, and I know you’re not about that! So if you think someone isn’t a good culture fit, make sure you do the hard work of figuring out why that might be.
Remember, if you have a small team, every single person contributes to the culture in a pretty major way. Think of it this way: if you have 4 people on your team, each person contributes 25% of overall culture. So finding someone you like spending time with is important! As long as you’re prioritizing diverse hiring and removing bias, give yourself permission to lean into candidates who are fun, easy to communicate with, share similar interests or hobbies, etc…
Step 3: Skills and Experience Validation
This step is about checking up on all the skills, experience, and qualities the candidate told you they have. Think of this stage as being very black and white, focusing on questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.”
You can use methods like Googling their name, checking their LinkedIn profile or other socials, reference checks or background checks (as long as you get a release!) to confirm things like:
Do they have that Master’s Degree?
Did they work at that company?
Did they win that industry award t?
Did they attend that University?
So now you have several candidates who check all your boxes, are all great culture fits, and have the background and skills they say they do….now what?
Step 4: Candidate Evaluation
This is where things get good. If there’s any “magic” to be found in this process – it’s in this step right here.
Candidate evaluation is all about transforming the qualitative information you gathered from the interviews into quantitative data points that you can use to effectively assess candidates against one another in a thoughtful and cohesive way.
If you can create a process in which you document these qualities and convert them into quantifiable data, you’ll be able to create a hiring rubric that can be used for all future hiring. This, in turn, empowers someone on your team to replicate the process and conduct future candidate interviews. The result? A streamlined hiring process that accelerates your ability to scale, allowing you to focus on achieving a quicker return on investment with your new hire. (psst – this is that “internal scalability” we talked about earlier!)
I know what you’re thinking…”Kira, how am I supposed to add numerical values to actual human beings?!”
By assessing their skills and getting SUPER specific….
Transforming Qualitative Interview Material into Quantitative Data Points
There are a couple ways you can produce quantitative data from qualitative data.
Assessments and/or Tests
If you have verified that all your candidates have certain skillsets, you can have them each complete “graded” skills assessments or test projects, which will produce numerical values you can use to rank their skills.
Ask References Specific Questions With Rating Scales
Asking your candidates’ references very specific, scale-based questions within the context of what’s most important to you as a leader – and your company culture – will give you even more quantitative data you can use to compare candidates against each other. For example, you can ask questions like:
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate Sarah’s communication skills?
What percentage of deadlines did Ashley meet?
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate Jen’s problem solving skills?
The key here is to get actual numbers to plug into an established rubric that ensures fairness and consistency across candidates.
Conclusion: It’s Decision Time!
At this point, you’ve put in the hard work of not only interviewing, but of setting up a system and a process that you can use every time you hire. And you should have everything you need to make a decision. But even with all this qualitative and quantitative data, you may still have a difficult choice to make! At the end of the day, if a candidate has made it this far – you can feel confident that you’ve done everything you can to ensure a great fit for your business who will stick around for the long haul, reducing the risk of employee turnover and excessive replacement costs!
If you want to learn more about these 4 steps and how to achieve internal scalability, check out our two most recent episodes of On The Up And Up!
Additional Interviewing Resources
Paradigm Consulting Interview Bundle will help you get a great head start for planning an internally scalable interviewing process, reducing the time between posting the job to having an employee that’s making you money!
The Bundle includes:
- Hiring Process Email Templates
- Interview No No’s
- Interview Questions Part I – Habits and Mindset
- Interview Questions Part II – Leadership and Management
- Interview Script (3 Part Process)
Use code UAU1023 for 50% off!
Set to Scale Membership: If you’re looking for a little extra support, this is where we can help you establish a hiring rubric to not only ensure your next hire is the best fit for your business, but that your future hiring is efficient, effective, and fair!