Structured interview – an easy upgrade to your hiring process

Structured interview – an easy upgrade to your hiring process

1. Understand the job requirement

Specifying the job requirements clearly is the first step in the hiring process. Not only can it help dictate the open dialogue between you as an interviewer and the candidate, but also save your staffing team valuable time in their sourcing efforts.

Writing a good job description requires an understanding of company’s roadmap and timeline, both from a business and product perspective. In other words, address today’s needs, while also envisioning what the role would be a year from now.

For example, let’s say, you are looking to hire a Sales Development Representative. Your current need may be to generate more leads and revenue. However, you envision this hire to transition into a marketing role down the road. What would be the job requirements? Are you looking for someone to setup drip campaign or are you someone to do social marketing,

It may be wise to create a generic job description that emphasizes on expectations and accountabilities, rather than specific tasks, thereby encouraging employees to focus on results rather than job duties. We would suggest that you understand the role and responsibilities and write a more wide-ranging job description. A little extra time spent in compiling a good job description would help your recruiting teams efforts in finding the right candidate, faster!

2. Identify the key competencies 

Identify the most important competencies that should be evaluated during the interview. Define the key competencies that are must have and good to have. It is important that the hiring team understand the skills that are important for the job. Ideally, it would be great to get a candidate who has all the desired key competencies but most often you have limited time and so would have to compromise and pick the best available candidate. It would be helpful if the team has a prioritized list of key competencies that you are looking for in the candidates. Next step is to develop a list of questions to evaluate the competencies. Three to six competencies are typically assessed, and one to three questions might be developed around each competencies.

3. Develop questions around each competency

The next step is to develop questions to evaluate each of the identified competencies. All candidates should be asked a similar set of questions to bring consistency in the interview and evaluation process. For example, a key competency for manager often entails the ability to resolve differences within the team. Plan on asking questions that would give an insight on the candidate’s approach in solving such conflicts. The questions may include something like “Describe a time when you had conflicting ideas about the strategy of a project. Describe the situation? How did you help the team to resolve this conflict?” If it is a software engineering position which requires specific language skills, plan to have a specific question on coding that entails the candidate to write a snippet of code.

4. Define the metric scale 

Metrics are essential in today’s labor force. Not only do they help gauge overall performance, but can also be the driving factor for making hiring decisions. As you structure your interview process, it is important to identify the types of specific behaviors and descriptors that can be used to evaluate the candidate’s actions. These anchors are typically developed around a three or five-point scale. Define the metric scale and format to capture the factors that are important to the job position as well as for the company. Next, define the standards for rating so that all the evaluation across interviewers are normalized. Here are two factors to keep in mind:

  • Relevant metrics to a role: Measure a candidate on similar metrics to what their role entails. For example, if you are interviewing a Marketing candidate, your objective may be to read a sample writing a piece on the spot.
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative: Being able to reduce subjectivity in the interview process is important. We are a product of our environment and as such, do bring our personal biases in the hiring process. We can reduce these biases by quantifying the candidates on the set of objectives with a well defined metric scale 

In the end, a structured approach to interviewing and decision-making process will help you in scaling the team, faster.