Seven Steps to Improve Your Interview Process

November 02, 2022
Sara McPhee Founder and Head of North America

The interview stage is a vital part of any recruitment campaign, helping businesses gain real insight into what makes their potential hires tick. But with a candidate-driven market and growing discontent with over-long hiring times, many businesses need to redesign their interview process. 

Here are seven steps to improve your interviews:

1. Start with a clear strategy

Every recruitment process should begin with strategy: what are your goals, and how are you going to achieve them?

This clarity enables you to plan the interview process more carefully, determining what kind of information you require and how to ensure you elicit it from every candidate. 

Everything from which questions you ask to how you structure the process should be linked back to this fundamental plan – instantly making the entire process more cohesive, efficient and effective.

2. Refine your strategy as you screen candidates 

The pre-interviewing screening process is important for time-saving, enabling you to focus on the most qualified or promising candidates and avoid wasting people’s time. 

However, screening is also an opportunity for you to refine your strategy and begin calibrating the interview process to your specific talent pool. 

When looking through CVs and all the rest, you should start considering how you might best distinguish between different candidates – and how that might inform the later stages of your process. 

3. Be transparent in communication

A good interview process is not just about ensuring you make the right decision – it is also about ensuring you nurture a strong relationship with your potential hires and keep them happy throughout the process. 

Candidates should be informed at every stage where they are in the process, how they are doing and when they should expect further communication. 

This shows them that you respect and value their time, and presents an opportunity to boost your employer brand.

4. Create the right interview environment

Too many businesses simply throw together an “interview room” on short notice, with little thought for either the effect it will have on the interview or the signals it sends their candidates.

The ideal interview environment will allow candidates to feel comfortable, with minimal distractions and comfortable seating. This ensures the answers they give are authentic reflections of themselves – not responses to the environment.

It’s also important to remember that the “interview environment” begins as soon as the candidate enters the building, so how they are greeted and where they wait to be interviewed are also key factors to consider.

5. Showcase your culture

In-person interviews are a fantastic opportunity to give candidates further insight into what it’s like to work for your company.

Whether seeing the offices for the first time or chatting with people they would theoretically end up working with, this first impression can have a huge impact.

Many businesses choose to include multiple team members in the interview process, or even include a mini-tour of the workspace – to showcase their culture at its best and make candidates feel at home. 

6. Use an assessment criteria

Good interviewers tend to “read” candidates’ body language and behaviour. But that doesn’t mean you should rely entirely on intuition.

A clear set of criteria will help make decisions more rational and reliable, removing individual interviewers’ biases and avoiding specific contextual factors influencing the outcome of your hiring process. 

This also reduces the disruption caused if, for example, you need to switch interviewers part-way through the process. And gives you data to refer back to both throughout the onboarding process and in future recruitment campaigns. 

7. Provide honest, personal feedback

Finally, the process should end with honest, personalised feedback for every candidate – regardless of whether they were successful. 

While this may appear to just be unnecessary extra work, it is a relatively easy way to help build relationships for the future and improve your employer brand.

Unsuccessful candidates may be perfect for a future role, and they will remember that your business went the extra mile to provide genuinely useful feedback – rather than a pre-written script.