John HarringtonJune 8, 2023
Topics: Recruiter Experience

4 Ways to Improve the Interview Experience

Interviewing. It’s a critical step in the hiring process that determines whether a company will choose to move forward with a candidate, and whether a candidate sees themselves working at a given company.

Today’s job applicants are no longer willing to sit through multiple rounds of hour-long interviews and will abandon the process altogether if the company isn’t proactively communicative about the process, if interviews are constantly rescheduled, or if they don’t feel well-aligned with the employer brand.

On the flip side, TA teams and recruiters are inundated with applications and are in desperate need of an interview process that is streamlined, efficient, and decreases time to offer.

That’s where AI and automation technology come in. This blog kicks off a multi-part series where we will explore the best ways to improve the overall interview experience for all involved parties, including candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers. We’ll share four best practices here and dive into deeper detail in the blogs that follow!

1. Improve Interview Preparation and Structure

To keep candidates engaged, the interview process must be structured and organized. As a result, providing necessary context and information to both candidates and interview teams is essential. But how?

It’s important to have a structure in place that can store essential information related to the candidate and the interview. This makes it possible to know what has happened so far and what the next logical step in the progression is — as well as how best to proceed.

Members of the interview team, for example, should know whether there’s a cover letter, resume, or CV on hand. If there have been other interactions with the candidate, it should be easy to tell who they were with, what was covered, and what the next steps are. If the candidate has submitted prior applications, it should be clear what positions they applied for and how the process played out (e.g., were they a silver medalist?).

To make this possible, companies should consider technology (such as a Candidate Relationship Management [CRM] solution) that houses all information — like candidate demographics, interview insights and summaries, and analytics — all in one place.

When this information is centralized and tightly integrated with the technology used by hiring managers to raise requisitions, evaluate candidates, and extend offers, TA teams and hiring managers can get better and more comprehensive feedback from all required stakeholders. They can also share context across multiple interview rounds to choose the best candidate quicker.

Organizations can also benefit from putting together interview guides to facilitate a more structured interview process, breaking down what types of questions should be asked (which is especially useful for inexperienced interviewers).

The guide should also make sure the questions being asked are tightly linked to the job competencies, so it’s clear whether the candidate is a good fit for the role. It should provide situational guidance that highlights what to do in specific scenarios and situations (e.g. if this, then do this) so that interviewers are following an approach that meets organizational hiring objectives instead of making decisions on the fly.

2. Boost Hiring Team Communication and Efficiency

When it comes to hiring, the shortest time to offer is the name of the game. Companies that can quickly hire candidates without sacrificing quality remain competitive in a constantly fluctuating market. To do this, hiring teams must be able to communicate effectively.

Although communication is key, it can be difficult to know how to start making effective communication a reality across the hiring team. A great place to start is by establishing a way to capture feedback and notes on candidate engagements — and doing so quickly. All too often, hand-written notes are taken during an interview, which distracts from the conversation and makes it difficult to share important takeaways with the rest of the team. The content is not immediately accessible, and in some cases it forces the interviewer to recall what happened, which can lead to inaccuracies.

By automating the note-taking process, interview teams get summaries of what took place during the interview immediately following the conversation. If the whole conversation is captured, hiring team members can replay the entire engagement, get all the necessary details, and reduce potential bias in the process.

Weaving automation and intelligence into the hiring process not only improves communication and efficiency, but also enhances the interview experience on the candidate’s end. Because TA teams are able to analyze all aspects of the interview and make offer decisions faster, the candidate is not spending weeks waiting for an acceptance or rejection. And even if they aren’t the best fit for the job, they will leave the interview process with a more positive view of your company because the experience was quick, easy, and didn’t leave them guessing.

Related reading: How to Improve How Recruiters and Hiring Managers Hire Together

3. Provide Interviewers Feedback and Training to Avoid Bias

It’s hard to find the right candidate for the job if your interviewers aren’t conducting a solid interview. Because of this, providing feedback, analysis, and areas of improvement to all of your interviewers is key.

Companies that provide limited training or have an unstructured interview process may also be negatively influencing the candidate; candidates may not want to work somewhere that seems unorganized or doesn’t clearly state their job expectations. When interview feedback is given to hiring managers and other interviewers on the team, it allows them to clearly understand what went well and in which areas they can improve.

Organizations that are motivated to improve their process can start by:

  • Making training materials and resources more readily available to the interview team before, during, and after interviews take place.

  • Providing opportunities for interviewers to shadow others, ideally on-demand so that they may find time to get trained during their busy workday.

  • Affording both situational and continuous feedback. Nobody is perfect from the start; more context more consistently produces the best outcomes.

  • Delivering data-driven insights that enable hiring teams to establish benchmarks and identify top interviewers and learnings that can be replicated.

Employers should ensure interviewers are aware of biased and illegal questions that cannot be surfaced during interviews with candidates. Although many organizations have established initiatives to reduce bias during the hiring process, it still happens during interviews for a number of reasons:

  • Interview questions are historically discriminatory and haven’t been reviewed or updated in years.

  • Hiring goals haven’t been analyzed for unconscious bias (for example, does your company hire more males than females?)

  • Only one interviewer is responsible for interviewing and hiring a candidate.

  • There is an absence of structured criteria that all interviewers must adhere to when evaluating and extending offers to a candidate.

  • There’s a lack of a note-taking/sharing system for hiring teams to use to review candidates collaboratively.

To reduce interview bias, it’s important to identify discriminatory questions (find interview questions to avoid here) and create a well-rounded set of questions that assess the candidate's skills, experience, and cultural fit.

Take proactive measures against the list above by comprehensively examining your interview experience and reinforcing training with key stakeholders annually. Providing an equal opportunity for all candidates lowers turnover rates, increases diversity of hires, and ensures your company is in compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) laws.

Related reading: Introducing Phenom X+ — Generative AI for HR — And 18 Platform Innovations to Transform Hiring, Retention & Development

4. Streamline Interview Experiences For Candidates

One of the biggest pain points during the interview process reported by both candidates and TA teams is the amount of time it takes to set up and complete multiple interviews. With the help of AI and automation, this back and forth can be eliminated, streamlining the hiring process and improving the experience for all parties.

For example, organizations can set up a one-stop-shop for candidates (such as a candidate hub) to bring transparency to an often ambiguous interview process. Using this type of resource, candidates can know at any given time where they are in the process, next steps, and who their next interviewer(s) will be. When done correctly, appropriate context is taken into account to ensure that communication and information is completely tailored to the candidate.

Beyond clearing the fog for candidates, organizations can fast-track the interview process with tools that automatically schedule (and reschedule) interviews by matching recruiter availability with candidate availability, and sending confirmation emails via email, SMS, or conversational chatbot. All of this can be done without a recruiter getting involved, ultimately saving time and effort.

With a candidate hub and automated interview scheduling capabilities in place, companies can interview and extend offers to candidates quicker than their competition.

Related reading: 3 Reasons Why You Need Candidate Screening Software

Weaving Intelligence into the Interview Experience

With these best practices at your fingertips — along with AI and automation — there’s no reason your job interview experience shouldn’t be top-notch. Boosting the interview experience reduces time to hire, increases candidate acceptance rate, and helps retain employees longer.

With an AI-powered tool like Phenom Interview Intelligence, companies can provide automated insights to their recruiters and hiring managers — often in real time — and create training and coaching programs so interviewers feel confident in their approach to finding top talent. This technology helps demonstrate what great interviews look like and highlights areas for improvement from an interviewer’s previous interviews and conversations. It also brings transparency to hiring teams with other features like recordings and transcriptions, as well as analysis of interview sentiment, talk speed, talk-to-listen ratio, and voice energy.

See how you can run better interviews and make faster hiring decisions — book a personalized demo of Phenom Interview Intelligence today.

This blog is the first of a five-part series that is dedicated to improving the way organizations approach the overall interview process to create better candidate experiences, improve hiring team collaboration, and reduce total time and cost to hire. Click here to read the next four blogs:

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