IS YOUR INTERVIEW PROCESS BROKEN?

by Matt Thomas

With clients across industries, regions, and sectors, we have a front-row seat watching the gamut of interview processes and techniques unfold. Some of our clients prefer to lean into their gut. If they have a good feeling about a candidate they’ll make an offer at the conclusion of the first interview. Others take months to screen, interview, check references, and interview some more before making an offer. We have clients who bomb our candidates with assessments and others who will hire anyone with a pulse that passes a background check and drug test. To be sure, an effective interview process is largely dependent upon industry, urgency, and culture. If your competition is scooping talent up quickly you have no choice but to move fast. With low unemployment, good candidates will always have 2-3 offers to decide between. There’s no one right way to go about interviewing candidates, but there sure are a handful of broken processes.

So how do you know if your interview process is broken? Here are a few signs:

Turnover inside the first 90 days is above 20%.

The national average for turnover inside the first 90 days is 19%. If you are at or above that, something in your process is broken. Usually, if a candidate decides to move on from a job before their 90-day review then expectations were not met, or ever clearly established. Simply put, a candidate’s experience on the job did not line up with what they were sold in the interview process.

Usually, if a candidate decides to move on from a job before their 90-day review then expectations were not met, or ever clearly established.

Remedy? Never oversell your culture or organizational health. Be honest and direct about what is working, what is broken, and what is missing.

50% of your “A” candidates take other offers during your interview process.

Good people will have good opportunities. If ½ of your top candidates don’t make it to the final step in your interview process then something is broken. Either you are not moving quickly enough or you are not actively selling the opportunity. Gone are the days where companies can sit back and wait for top talent to come to them.

Remedy? Over-communicate with your candidate. Detail next steps, always follow up with a call or email, set realistic timelines, and remember that you are selling the opportunity as much as the candidate is selling themselves.

A disconcerting number of new hires do not fit the culture.

Too often organizations prioritize technical competence and relevant experience over culture fit. If a candidate checks all the competency boxes but doesn’t fit the culture don’t offer them a job. They are essentially a gun for hire and the collateral damage of hiring a poor culture fit can be significant.

If a candidate checks all the competency boxes but doesn’t fit the culture don’t offer them a job.

Remedy? Prioritize alignment with your core values. Talk about them every step of the way and build out tools that screen for fit.

So what does our interview process look like? There are five steps and we aim to have them wrapped up inside 30 days. Here is the breakdown.

Phone Screen

With a new candidate, we set up a 10-15 minute phone call that we affectionately call a weirdo screen. Basically, we want to ensure this person is worth investing time and energy into.

Manager Interview

The next step is an hour in-person interview at our office with the manager this person would report to. If there is no chemistry with their would-be manager there is no sense in continuing in the process.

Two-Way Peer Interview

Assuming the interview with the hiring manager goes well we set up an hour coffee or lunch with another team member in a comparable position. We stress that this is a two-way interview, an opportunity for our employee to decide whether or not a candidate has the goods and an opportunity for the candidate to figure out if we are who we say we are. No questions are off-limits and we encourage our employees to be as candid as possible.

Significant Other Interview

If our employee signs off on the candidate the next step is a sit down with the spouse or significant other. In the event a candidate is single we invite one of their closest friends or roommates to lunch with the hiring manager. Again, this is a two-way interview. We want the significant other or friend to ask as many questions of the manager as possible and we want our manager to get a pulse on what this candidate’s life outside of work is like.

CEO Interview

If they have made it this far and everyone is on the same page we schedule an in-person at the office with myself and the candidate. As the CEO, one of my primary responsibilities is to be the gatekeeper of our culture. Determining whether or not someone is aligned with our values is the primary desired outcome of this phase in the process. Usually, I am prepared to make an offer at the conclusion of this interview or inform the candidate that an offer will come in the next few days.

Is our process bulletproof? I wish! Even though we are in the recruiting game we still miss from time to time. However, it works for us and has enabled us to lock in some of the most gifted people I have ever been around, and pass on others that just would not have been a good fit at Core Ventures.

So, what does your interview process look like? Is it working as it should or is it broken? Let us know, we’d love to help you dial it in.