Are you a Hiring manager and Confused? Here are some tips to help you with the Interview process

By Jack J. Kelly

Job seekers do not realize how incredibly challenging it is for a manger to hire someone.  In many ways, the manners in which interviews take place have not changed for generations.  For example, unfortunately, almost always, the company and its management seem blissfully unaware of what it takes for a typical supervisor to hire someone.

The process is long, arduous, complex, and complete with emotional highs and lows, (I love the candidate – oh no, they took another offer), drama, (the candidate can’t make an interview because the cat ate her resume), and anxiety, (what happens if I never find a candidate and will have to do both the departed employee’s workload, as well as my own?)  Even worse, (What happens if I hire the wrong person, who turns out to be a raving lunatic?).

Job postings have become a commodity.  They are ubiquitous, posted on the company’s job board, LinkedIn, large old-fashioned job sites such as CareerBuilder and Monster, aggregators like Indeed, and specific, niche sites.  Literally hundreds of people will send their resume to you.  Without exaggeration, Uber drivers will send in a resume for a VP of Investment Banking job, then get angry when you don’t immediately call them back after fifteen phone messages, or return all of their fifty-three emails.

The resume screening process takes time and effort.  There are no formal programs offered by a company to help teach people how to effectively interview.  An employee who is hiring, is tossed to the wolves.  Corporate management acts as if being an interviewer is an innate talent and easy to do.  It’s not.  It takes practice, and is an art.  Also, the process is fraught with pitfalls.  If you say or do something that is deemed inappropriate, discriminatory, or inadvertently violates someone’s rights; you could end up in legal trouble, or at the very least sent to detention in the human resources’ office.

Additionally, interviewing consumes considerable time and energy, and you already have a busy job to do.  Moreover, in addition to your own challenging job, you are also now simultaneously covering for the work that is not being done since the employee left, (which annoys the hell out of you), leaving you with an open headcount.

Then, even after you finally find the right person after six months of intensive interviewing, you have to engage in an uncomfortable negotiating dance, not too dissimilar to bargaining for a piece of junk at a flea market.

Don’t worry, I can help you with this tricky process.  I will not pretend that it will be easy, but there are some simple things to do, that will make the process somewhat better for you.  Here are tips on how to manage the interview process.

Write a real, meaningful, no-bull, detailed, and accurate job description.  Lose all the corporate jargon and buzzwords.  You want to send a clear and concise message to prospective candidates about what the job will entail, and the requirements needed to successfully obtain the job.  Keep your ideal audience of applicants in mind when writing the job description, and appeal to them.  Don’t let your job description get “Frankensteined”.  This is when you allow a bunch of different people within the organization to add their two cents to the job description.  It becomes a monster of a mess.  Try to be crystal clear about the job’s objectives, title, level within the organization, and compensation; so as not to waste everyone’s time.

Post the job description on relevant and appropriate sites where your core targeted applicant base will see it.  Avoid job boards that will deluge you with time-wasting candidates that don’t possess the requisite skills.  For example, a job board such as ComplianceJobs.com will focus on Compliance candidates, while posting on Wehaveajobforeveryoneandtheiruncle.com may not reach the desired Compliance community of candidates.

Respond back to job seekers in a timely manner, otherwise you will lose good candidates. When you don’t communicate with them, candidates will feel that you are not serious or interested, and will move on to other opportunities.

Be reasonable, in terms of scheduling interviews.  It is unfair, unwise and unreasonable to force people who currently hold a good job, to go on interviews at times that could potentially adversely impact or jeopardize their job.  Interviewing is stressful enough; it makes matters worse when job seekers are coerced into time slots that they are not comfortable with.  If you have a phone interview, which is common now, don’t miss the call, (which is common now, too).

Manage expectations.  For example, let people know how long the process will take, and the number of people they will meet with.  Let candidates know if you already have an internal candidate in mind, but are looking outside to see if there might be a potentially better fit.

Ensure that whoever is involved with the interview process, has the candidate’s resume, understands the job requirements, and cares.  It is discouraging to a candidate when an interviewer has not seen or reviewed a person’s resume prior to the interview.  It is also rude to read a job seeker’s resume in front of them for the first time, while they sit uncomfortably watching you skim through the document.  The message being sent is that you did not value the person enough to spend a small amount of time reading their resume, or doing any homework on the candidate, before the meeting.

Don’t conduct interviews just for the sake of it.  Candidates recognize when you interviewing them simply to pick their brains or gather market intelligence.  They are also savvy enough to recognize when you have already selected a person, but are required to meet with at least a certain number of additional people to show that you are being fair; and not just hiring an important executive’s dopey nephew.

If you are interested in a candidate, let them know, and move the process forward in a timely fashion.  Let people down quickly and nicely.  If you are rude and dismissive, word will quickly spread, and it will curtail the number of future applicants.  Start checking a desired candidate’s salary expectations early-on.  Don’t waste time if the candidate’s expectations are too far off.  Inquire about potential counter-offers.

Rely on good, respectful, honest recruiters to help source top qualified candidates.

Understand the standard norm of offers being made in the niche that you are hiring in, so that you can be competitive.  If offers average a 20% increase, don’t expect a person to accept a 10% increase, just because you think you are awesome.

Be clear on total compensation and benefits, so there are no misunderstandings.  It is an unpleasant situation when a person believes that they were to receive a certain bonus payment, only to find out at a later date that the information was erroneous.

Ensure that the candidate fully understands the expectations of the role, and that they can meet and exceed them.  Be clear about growth, or lack thereof.  If a future employee realizes that their job is a dead-end, they will turn against you.  Sometimes, a person will be open to a job that has a ceiling if the compensation is right, or if there is a chance to learn something new in the short term; and they will worry about the future at a later date.  Be open about any current problems at the company, or potential future issues.  If you don’t, and the person takes the job, and finds out about it later, you will have an employee who will never trust you again and will most likely leave.

Don’t let long periods of time pass, which may cause the candidate to think that they are out of the running, and he/she loses interest.  Inquire if a prized candidate has another offer pending, or is close to getting  one.  Weed out shoppers and mercenaries, so as not to pursue false leads.  Treat candidates with courtesy and respect.  Value the time of the candidates.

I hope these tips and ideas help you.

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