Interview process takeaways

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In the last several weeks I've had the opportunity to speak with numerous companies as a job candidate. While the experience is still fresh in my mind, I thought now would be a good time for me to jot down my observations as a job seeker and note things I would like to practice in my future recruiting & hiring efforts.

Ditch the phone and do video chats instead

As an interviewer, I've always done my initial interview with candidates over the phone and when I thought about why I've been doing it over the phone instead of utilizing video, I realized that I didn't have a good answer. I think it's because that's just what I'm used to doing and I suppose setting up a video call takes slightly more work than simply picking up the phone. The more I think about it, video chats are the way to go. One of my goals as a hiring manager is to make the interview process as efficient as possible and by doing the initial interview over video, I'm able to get a fuller picture of who the candidate is. So much of communication is body language & facial expressions--things that can't be conveyed & captured when speaking over the phone.

Address compensation early in the interview process

With one of the companies I was talking to, the topic of compensation didn't come up until all the way at the end of the interview process. It was then that we both discovered that we were significantly off. Argh. While I suppose that I (as a job candidate) could've very easily addressed compensation at the very beginning of the interview process, I think ultimately it's the company's responsibility to bring up this topic. When candidates bring up the topic of compensation at the very beginning of the interview process, it may cause the interviewer to think that what the candidate cares about the most is money. Not something that would reflect positively on the candidate.

Be punctual - especially when calling the candidate

I think I'm already doing a pretty good job in this area but after having gone through numerous interviews in the past month and seeing how often interviewers were late, I'd like to be really good at this. It was more common for the interviewer to be late by a few minutes. As a candidate when the interviewer called me right on time, it sent a message that the interviewer honors my time.

Share detailed interview agenda with the candidate at least a day before the interview

I admit that I haven't done a very good job of this as a hiring manager. Once the onsite interview is scheduled, I'll let the candidate know ahead of time what time the interview starts & ends and the address of the office but... that's been about it. In the future, I'd like to share at least the following information with my candidates beforehand:

  • Expected dress code for the interview. Are jeans & t-shirt perfectly okay? Would it best to wear a suit & tie?
  • Who should the candidate ask for upon arriving at the office?
  • List of people who will be doing the interviews. Include their names & titles.
  • For each portion of the interview - include a summary of what the interviewers will focus on and what the candidate will be expected to do. For example, will the candidate be expected to draw architecture diagrams on a whiteboard? Will the candidate be expected to write code on a laptop? Pair program? A few months ago I came across the following interview agenda template that readme.io shares with their candidates beforehand (I think it looks awesome!) and I'd love to do something like this in the future: http://hiring.readme.io/2342-carla-walton (In case the link goes away, you can see a screenshot of it here)

Give a tour of the office

It's a minor thing, but as a job candidate, I really liked getting a tour of the office. It allowed me to get a better sense of what sort of an environment I would be working in. It's not something that I've been doing as a hiring manager but it is something that I would like to do going forward.

Commit to sharing both positive and negative feedback after an onsite interview

At the end of an onsite interview, one of the companies I interviewed with told me that I will receive feedback the very next day, even if it's negative feedback. It was music to my ears. I loved that they committed to sharing feedback with me in a timely manner AND that they committed to sharing feedback with me even if it meant that they would not be moving forward with me in the interview process (and they delivered on their promise). It reflected very positively on this particular company. Unless I'm prohibited by my employer from sharing negative feedback with candidates I'm choosing not to move forward with, I'd love to be able to commit to providing timely feedback--both positive AND negative--with my candidates. Sure, I would need to be somewhat careful what sort of negative feedback I share with candidates but I think I can handle that pretty easily.

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