Nick TateJuly 26, 2022
Topics: Recruiter Experience

Interview Management: Don't Google It!

Do a quick Google search for “interview management”, and you’ll find great information about how to interview for a management role. What you won’t find is what it means to look at candidate interviews as a holistic experience shared by multiple stakeholders, and how to better manage the connected nature of those experiences to achieve multiple benefits for all.

Sally Hartnell, Director of Product Marketing at Phenom, lent her expertise to help uncover a smarter approach to interviewing. She shared how organizations can create an experience that benefits all stakeholders — candidates, recruiters, hiring teams, and leaders.

Get her top insights below or view the episode of Talent Experience Live right here.

How has the interview process evolved?

The concept of interview management is based on the truth that interviewing has changed — and so have the expectations and needs of all stakeholders in the process:

  • Candidates want a consumer-like experience that is personalized, streamlined and respectful of their time. In fact, market data reveals that 60% of job candidates have declined a job offer after a negative experience with a company’s interview process.
  • Recruiters need to identify best-fit candidates as quickly as possible for hiring teams — without being held back by tedious administrative tasks like screening and scheduling.
  • Hiring Managers face jam-packed calendars (this is true of all stakeholders) and only have time to talk to top-quality candidates.
  • Interviewers on the hiring team want to be confident that they’re effectively asking the right questions and providing helpful feedback.
  • TA Leaders increasingly are held accountable for delivering the best hiring outcomes they can at the lowest cost.

These demands require HR teams to adapt their approach to the interview experience, ensuring the process is efficient, transparent, and seamless for everyone involved. And that’s what interview management is, Hartnell said: “It’s a smarter approach to the overall interview process for all of those stakeholders, because we know that it’s an ecosystem.”

What are the consequences of doing nothing to improve interviewing processes?

The interview management ecosystem is living and breathing — it must adapt for the different changes in the talent market and technology. These changes affect all members of the hiring process, from the recruitment team to hiring managers. Anything hindering someone from moving forward in the hiring process could be detrimental to a business.

In addition to turning off job candidates, a negative interview experience ultimately can damage a company’s brand and customer relations as well, Hartnell noted. “The whole candidate experience is a way for organizations to represent their brand. It reflects their brand. And while a good reflection spreads, a bad reflection also spreads.”

Related: Whole-Person Hiring: Essential Tips for Recruiters and Hiring Managers

Has the interview process always been prone to complexity, or has it truly gotten more complicated?

Historically, interview processes are siloed and transactional, involve excessive manual work and are prone to scheduling hassles and other administrative tangles. That doesn’t result in a positive experience for any stakeholder.

“There are solutions to these problems, but not everyone is aware of the value these solutions can bring,” Hartnell said. “A lot of people have accepted that ‘this is the way it’s always been,’ but the evolution of this ecosystem has uncovered what we know people want.”

Now, technology that eases or even eliminates these challenges is illuminating how labor-intensive interviewing can be, Hartnell observes. Using technology supported by intelligent automation has the potential to transform interviewing. It can become an experience in which all stakeholders happily participate.

Hartnell highlighted that with a tech-driven strategy, the interview experience can change for the better — for all parties involved:

  • Candidates are empowered in the interview process
  • Recruiters offload mundane, repetitive tasks (particularly around interview scheduling) with more time available for relationship building and strategic initiatives
  • Hiring managers focus on onboarding the right fit and developing their teams
  • Interviewers are guided and productive members of the process
  • Leaders are confident that they are delivering the best talent outcomes as efficiently as possible

Related: How Recruiters Can Use AI to Rapidly Source, Screen & Hire the Right Candidates

Interviewing is a two-way street. How does that impact the process?

Today, candidates are interviewing companies just as much as they’re being interviewed.

Improving the interview experience is one of the most impactful ways to elevate the candidate experience, and companies can do this with the help of technology and automation. “There are many things that can be done just to focus on that part of the candidate experience, where the process is efficient and respectful of their time, and communicative,” Hartnell said. “Certainly, having a friendly and efficient interview process goes a long way.”

Trimming time off the interview process with automated screening and scheduling is especially critical. The longer interviewing takes, the more likely candidates are receiving competing offers.

Is there one simple tool that can solve all your interview process challenges?

When thinking about HR technology, organizations first need to consider that the entire talent experience is connected. Interviewing, hiring, and onboarding all directly lead into the employee experience.

“That might be the most important part … the connectedness of these things, and not addressing them as siloed, transactional processes,” Hartnell said. That means being aware that many solutions address only one aspect of interviewing. But they won’t holistically improve the entire process.

“There are so many aspects to the connectedness that you could solve for one component, and miss the bigger picture of how to solve for each of the workflows happening for the different stakeholders,” Hartnell added. It’s clear that tech alone can’t solve everything. Tools with AI-supported automation, however, can help organizations adjust the interview experience to meet stakeholder goals. With these tools, each person in the ecosystem benefits:

  • Managers only spend their time speaking with top contenders, and get immediate feedback on candidates so they can efficiently build the right team
  • Interviewers understand their role in the process, understand which questions to ask and why, and able to quickly provide feedback to decision makers
  • Recruiters offload administrative tasks and prioritize getting the best candidates in front of hiring managers
  • HR leaders ensure maximum efficiency and reduce the cost of hiring

How does AI and automation build connectivity into the process?

AI plays a key role in helping organizations move away from a one-size-fits-all interviewing experience. After all, we’re already used to AI’s high-level personalization capabilities in our daily lives — think of apps like Spotify, Netflix and Google Maps, where AI runs quietly in the background, recommending next steps based on data from prior experience and interactions. Hartnell puts it simply: “We use AI to get from point A to point B faster.”

AI underpins a smoother interview process right from the beginning by quickly connecting the right candidates with the right job openings, ensuring recruiters and hiring teams are spending time with best-fit talent. “You can always get from A to B without artificial intelligence or machine learning, but it will definitely take you longer and it will definitely cost you more, and your results might vary,” Hartnell said.

Here’s how an AI-supported career site can “Spotify” the experience for candidates and recruiters:

  • Candidates get 1:1 personalization. AI surfaces jobs tailored to their expressed preferences and skills, as well as relevant content useful to their career journey.
  • Meanwhile, AI is “learning” about career site visitors, using data and algorithms to generate a fit score for recruiters to identify and prioritize top matches.

How does AI help HR save on costs?

When it comes to costs, it always comes down to time. Time is money — literally, Hartnell said. Smart automation ensures that humans have more time to do strategic work that benefits the business. And all the data-intensive work that takes time? “AI never has to sleep. It will work while you’re not,” Hartnell said.

There’s also a tangential cost-saving benefit in terms of preventing turnover among recruiting staff. When recruiters can leverage AI to ease the administrative burden and do more strategic work, job satisfaction and retention increase.

Would you call AI and automation a must-have for recruitment teams today?

It’s important to acknowledge that interview management isn’t just one thing. It’s “many things to all the different stakeholders,” Hartnell emphasized, and a variety of tools and approaches can be helpful.

But regarding the connectedness that AI brings to the process? “In my opinion, you can’t live without it — both now, and as a foundation into the future.” Using AI to manage scheduling is a great place to start for maximum impact, Hartnell recommended. Getting recruiters up and running on AI-supported interview scheduling automation will benefit all stakeholders.

Consider the experience of a global enterprise organization that implemented Phenom’s automated scheduling and saved over 24,000 hours of recruiter time in one year — which translates to more than 12 years saved.

Especially now, it’s hard to justify not using a tool that brings such incredible impact to HR, hiring teams, and job seekers. After all, the interview management experience is constantly being reinvented. But as it changes, it must stay efficient, transparent, and seamless.

Related Webinar: The Power of AI Scheduling: How to Connect with Best-Fit Talent First

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