Mike is the HR manager of a telecommunications firm. Recently, the top-performing IT engineer resigned due to some personal reasons.
The business is booming and he needs as many people on board to tackle the overflowing work . Otherwise, the company could lose thousands, even millions. It’s not easy finding an experienced engineer with the right blend of skills and personality. But Mike needs to fill the open position as soon as possible.
The problem is that’s not his only job. He’s also busy maintaining the high productivity of their existing employees. He trains people, helps the team solve work-related issues, and does HR-related paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. It’s an immense workload that can overwhelm anybody!
So, how will Mike solve this problem without neglecting the rest of his duties? What possible steps could he take to speed up the recruitment process?
The Hectic HR Life
The HR life is a busy one. You have to manage payroll, increase employee engagement and handle office disputes. To add to that, you still need to find, screen and interview applicants for the company’s open positions. As if you weren’t busy enough, one survey revealed that it takes around 13 interviews before you hire someone.
One way to lighten your recruitment load is by creating interview templates. This way, your interviews become more focused and easier to manage. You will also have an easier time assessing candidates with a standard set of interview questions.
Here are the steps to creating an effective interview template:
1. Write down your pre-interview tasks.
Switching from one task to another can be difficult. To get into the right mindset before an interview, you need to write down your pre-interview tasks on your template.
Here are some tasks you can add:
- Reserve a room: This is important if HR doesn’t have a dedicated room for interviews.
- Print out all needed documents: Always have a copy of the candidate’s resume, the job description, and the interview questions.
- Put the candidate at ease: Talk about neutral things like the weather or what they did during the weekend.
- Talk about the company first: Provide an overview of the company and state the reason for the vacancy.
2. List down your interview questions.
Luckily, there are already a lot of sources out there for good interview questions. Your questions need to test the interviewee’s essential competencies including:
- Communication skills
- Conflict management
- Interpersonal skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Team orientation
Your aim is to dig into the details of a certain situation or task he faced. Ask what action he took when he faced that situation. What were the results of his actions? You may use phrases such as:
- “Tell me about a time…”
- “Give an example of…”, or
- “Tell me a situation when you had to…”.
Here are some general questions you may want to add to your template:
- Tell me about your most important responsibilities in your current job.
- What do you find most satisfying about your current job? What do you find least satisfying?
- Why are you leaving your current employer? How did you reach this decision?
- What qualities do you think have helped you become successful? Tell me about a situation that exemplifies these qualities.
Closing questions are also important. These questions show the candidate’s level of interest in the position. Some examples:
- Why should I offer you the job?
- What can you do for us that someone else cannot do?
- What reservations do you have about working here?
One good source of interview questions is this list from Luther College’s Department of Human Resources. Feel free to adapt its questions into your own interview template.
3. Add a way to rate the interviewee’s answers.
It’s useful to have a simple rating system for each answer so that you can easily assess the candidate after the interview. It can be as simple as giving a star rating between 1 to 5, or grading the answer from 0 to 100.
Here are some things you can measure:
- Honesty – How can you tell if this person is honest? His answers should be consistent with his résumé and portfolio. Some applicants brag how perfect they are for the position, but can’t show any proof.
- Relevance – Did the applicant answer the question, or did he just mislead you to assume something else? This will show if he is frank, alert, and ready for anything that comes up.
- Practicality – Determine if his solutions to common work problems are practical, realistic and achievable. See if he can state a simple solution that can work in a real-life scenario.
- Clarity – Every company needs a good communicator. Rate the candidate’s ability to express his ideas clearly.
- Cohesiveness with the non-verbal cues – His answers should match his nonverbal cues such as his facial expression and body language.
4. Include a notes section.
Not all answers can be rated on a numeric scale. Add a section in your template where you can jot down insights and extra observations.
What’s Your Next Move?
So take some time to create interview templates that you can use and reuse for future openings. It will save a lot of time and effort in the long run. This also saves you from undue stress in case emergency situations come up, such as when an employee suddenly resigns.
Mike realized this and created an interview template for the open engineering position. While it did take some upfront work, it made screening and interviewing for the position easier. Still, it wasn’t easy getting the right person for the job.
In the end, Mike was able to hand off two highly qualified candidates to his boss in record time. Now his next challenge: defeating all his paperwork.