As you evaluate potential new hires for your team, using the 3 E’s to drive interviews can result in a streamlined process for your current employees, a great candidate experience, and hopefully a successful hire!
The 3 E’s are Efficient, Effective and Emotion. We will dive into each one and give you some ideas to incorporate these principles into the interview process.
First make it efficient. You need time to evaluate the candidate, but before you start even thinking of hiring, outline the process.
If you are working with a recruiter or your own HR team, be sure the logistics and details are squared away. Is the candidate truly interested in your company? Is the candidate available to interview and start within your ideal timeframe? Does your target salary range align? These are some basic questions, but essentially the goal is to ensure the candidate is viable.
Once the basics are covered, schedule a 30-minute phone screen with the direct manager or a technical lead. Plan to ask questions for 20 minutes and hear the candidate’s questions for 10 minutes. Opening with a generic “Tell me about yourself” will help you gather a picture of the candidate’s communication skills, interest in the role, and tendencies. Create a pre-planned list of questions that prompt answers so you can confirm the candidate meets the baseline of skills required. About 5-7 questions is enough here, you want to save the deeper technical questions for the onsite. When you feel they have given you enough on the technical side, let them ask questions. Hearing the topics that interest them will help you paint a picture. As you end the call, feel free to express interest in having them precede with next steps, or if you know right away it will not work out, don’t drag out their hope.
For the onsite round, try to limit the interview to no more than 4 hours. Your team’s time is valuable and taking them off their own work to interview is costly. Schedule 30 minute to hour-long sessions with key stakeholders and teammates. If possible, group together interviewers that will have similar questions or expertise. Build an agenda and distribute it in advance to all interviewers and the candidate.
Immediately after the interview, same day ideally or next morning, schedule a 15-20 minute debrief with every interviewer. Creating a scorecard and sharing expectations on what you are looking for, will save a lot of time. If the candidate is out of consideration, let them know.
An efficient interview will drastically improve candidate experience.
Now that you have an efficient process, you also need to make sure the time you have allotted to evaluate the candidate is effective. Are you able to get clarity during the interview that they are the correct person to hire?
Taking time to prepare will allow you to design questions that reveal key skills, qualities, and hopefully interest in your company. You will be able to help guide the conversation to cover all areas you feel are important to making your decision.
As you involve the team in interviews, take the time to train people on how to interview. If people just go in with no agenda, no goal, and no idea as to what to look for, you will diminish the effectiveness of the interview. You also want to be sure not everyone is going in and asking the same questions. It is helpful to discuss beforehand who will handle each general topic and decide how to best leverage the expertise and comfort of your team.
There are plenty of online resources if you need help conducting more effective interviews. We are also happy to conduct interview training and strategy sessions.
Perhaps one of the most important, but often overlooked areas of interviewing is Emotion. This can be broken down into 3 levels, emotion from you and your team, the candidate’s emotion, and the candidate’s emotional intelligence.
The emotion conveyed by you and your team is essential to showing the candidate they are joining a team of people that enjoy what they do and like working together. You want the people interviewing to feel comfort and excitement. It is important the candidate also sees that you listen to them. There needs to be a key transition during the interview once you establish you believe the candidate could fit, you want to start to sell to them and appeal to their emotion. This will make offer acceptance easy if done correctly.
The candidate’s emotion and emotional intelligence during the interview will help be a predictor of success. Nerves are common, but if the nerves become an obstacle that prohibits a conversation, it is tough to get a true evaluation. You also want to watch out for extreme confidence. Someone who is even borderline arrogant, can quickly derail a functioning team, no matter how strong their technical skills are.
Emotional Intelligence and EQ are more than just buzzwords, you want to see if the person shows self-awareness and knows how to adapt to work with others. Some of our go-to questions here are: What type of people annoy you? What type of people do you annoy? Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a co-worker or manager. How do you like to be managed? How would your last manager describe you?
Integrating the 3 E’s can take time, however once they are mastered you will see results in higher offer acceptance ratios, improved interview-to-offer ratios, and post-hire satisfaction for both your company and the candidate.