Interviewing

Philosophy on Candidate Experience:

The interview experience is a candidate’s first impression of a company’s brand. Even if you don’t end up hiring a candidate, you want them to leave with a positive view of the company.

Your company can make the interview experience special by making every interviewer responsible for personalizing the experience to the candidate. The Recruiter may ask both the Hiring Managers and Interviewers to text candidates after interviews, or even hop on a call with candidates before final interviews to help prepare them. You could also do virtual dinners with candidates to help them meet people in non-interview settings. These frequent personalized touchpoints from the Hiring Managers, Interviewers, and Recruiters will help you win candidates during the offer process.

Candidate Experience Guidelines:

In order to create a positive candidate experience, it’s important to adhere to these guidelines:

  • Experience is consistent across roles and candidates
  • Interviews include the right questions that are legal, relevant, and clear
  • Questions are structured and targeted to the role
  • Interviewers are prepared and present

Laptops in Interviews

Entering candidate feedback in a timely manner is important, but we also want to deliver an excellent candidate experience. Laptops are allowed while interviewing a candidate as long as you adhere to these guidelines:

  • Place notifications on “do not disturb”
  • Close all your windows and apps except the feedback form
  • Tell the candidate why you have your laptop open
  • Make eye contact and engage with the candidate
  • Use keywords to write down your feedback and fill in the blanks later. You should not be typing the entire time the candidate is speaking.
  • When interviewing, there are two goals: Evaluate the candidate and sell the company to the candidate.

Ideal Time Breakdown

  • 25-30% of the time – interviewer talking
  • 70-75% of the time – candidate talking

How to Sell:

In order to sell your organization to a candidate you should be prepared to answer these questions:

  • Why did you join initially?
  • What keeps you here?
  • What’s one thing you’re working on and excited about?

How to Prepare for an Interview:

Before the Interview:

  • Have questions built out. If you don’t, work with your Recruiter and Hiring Manager to build them out.
  • Before going into an interview, ask yourself:
  • What am I assessing? What is the subject matter my interview covers?
  • How will I evaluate that? What follow-up questions might I need to ask?
  • What does a good answer look like? A great answer? A bad answer?
  • Talk to the Hiring Manager and your peers to practice asking and answering questions so you know what to look for in candidates.

During the Interview:

  • Introduce yourself and warm them up
  • Warm them up by asking a couple of softball questions so they feel comfortable.
  • Please review (and avoid) the illegal questions here.
  • Consider what the candidate needs
  • Bathroom break, food, water, etc.
  • Track the time
  • Interviewers are responsible for keeping track of the time and ending on time.
  • Plan on five minutes at the beginning for a warm-up/rapport building and 5-10 minutes at the end for the candidate to ask questions.
  • Bonus: Slack/message the next interviewer when you’re wrapping up!

After the Interview:

Take a few minutes after the interview to write good quality feedback.

Good quality feedback is:

  • Timely
  • Thoroughly written
  • Uses concrete examples
  • Connected to your focus area
  • Stands on its own in a debrief

Be open-minded but decide for yourself. Be fearless and trust yourself.

  • Give your interview a score on the 1-4 scale. Scoring guide:
    • 4: Great – Must hire; I would advocate to work with them
    • 3: Good – They can do the job and I would like working with them
    • 2: Weak – I’d need to be convinced they can do the job; as it stands I don’t believe they can. We should not move forward
    • 1: Very Weak – They cannot do the job and would set us back
    • 0: Did not interview
  • Red Flag; an observed behavior that is counter to a core value and/or lacking a skill that is a basic qualification for the role
  • Questions: unclear on whether an observed skill is a must or nice to have or got mixed signal on an area outside of interview role
    • Note: the ability to interview well may not mean the person can do the job. The opposite is also true. This is a question, not a red flag, and should not significantly impact your score.

Champions:

See our playbook on Champions.

Debriefs:

Use debriefs to share feedback, uncover any issues in the interview process, and ultimately make a decision on the candidate. If the decision is to move forward, then it’s also good to use the time discussing how to further sell the candidate on your company. Refrain from talking about feedback with coworkers before the debrief.

Best practices for debriefs:

  • Attend (and RSVP to the calendar invite)
  • Bring notes
  • Use evidence to support your points
  • Share the time – everyone should speak
  • Best practice is to keep your feedback to ~90 seconds
  • Avoid conforming to others’ opinions. You’re assessing the area of focus for YOUR interview.
    • Come with an opinion about your focus area
  • Polarizing feedback is better than a soft/neutral yes (try to give 4’s or 1’s when possible)
  • If you’re senior/influential, be mindful of sharing last as to not influence others