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Staying Sharp in a Sea of Meetings: Strategies for HR Managers to Stay Focused

Staying Sharp in a Sea of Meetings: Strategies for HR Managers to Stay Focused

HR managers often handle many tasks, like hiring new talent, keeping employees engaged, conducting training, and ensuring compliance. All these tasks require a lot of attention and accuracy. The constant flow of meetings and interviews can cause burnout and lower productivity. However, by using smart practices and modern technology, HR managers can stay focused and work more efficiently. One helpful technology is on-demand interviews, where candidates pick their own interview times. This feature eases the load on HR managers’ schedules.

In this article, we have highlighted some useful tips that will help you unload your working day and hopefully make it more structured.

Prioritize and plan

Planning your day and prioritizing tasks are crucial for managing time effectively and staying productive. These practices help ensure that the most important tasks are completed first, reducing stress and enhancing overall efficiency.

 Prioritize tasks

HR managers should start by identifying and prioritizing their tasks. Not all meetings and interviews carry the same level of importance. By categorizing tasks based on urgency and significance, managers can allocate their time and energy more effectively.

 Plan your day

Planning the day in advance is crucial for maintaining focus. By scheduling specific time blocks for meetings, interviews, and other tasks, HR managers can create a structured routine. Time blocking helps in minimizing distractions and provides a clear roadmap for the day. Additionally, setting aside buffer periods between meetings allows for necessary breaks and reduces the risk of running behind schedule.

Use on-demand video interviews

An on-demand interview is a type of job interview where candidates record their responses to pre-set questions at their convenience, rather than meeting live with an interviewer.

Benefits of On-Demand Interviews

On-demand interviews are a game-changer for HR managers. This innovative approach allows candidates to select their own interview times, thus significantly reducing the back-and-forth of scheduling. Platforms as Easyhire.me that support on-demand interviews provide flexibility for both the candidates and the interviewers.

How On-Demand Interviews Improve Focus

By utilizing on-demand interviews, HR managers can significantly reduce the number of scheduled meetings, freeing up time for other important tasks. This approach minimizes scheduling conflicts and last-minute changes, creating a more predictable and manageable calendar. Moreover, it allows HR managers to batch their interview times, concentrating their focus on interviewing during specific periods and dedicating uninterrupted time to other responsibilities.

Enhance communication and collaboration

A significant advantage of video interviews is that the recordings can be easily shared with colleagues. This saves a lot of time, as you don’t need to coordinate with each team member separately. Instead, you can simply share the recording, allowing them to watch it at their convenience.

Foster a Healthy Work Environment

Regular breaks are essential for maintaining focus and preventing burnout. HR managers should schedule short breaks between meetings to rest and recharge. Techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working for 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break, can help in maintaining productivity and mental clarity. Additionally, longer breaks for meals and exercise should be part of the daily routine.

Also, we think well-organized and comfortable workspace can significantly impact focus and productivity. HR managers should ensure their workspace is free from distractions and equipped with the necessary tools and resources. Personalizing the workspace with elements that promote calm and motivation, such as plants or inspiring quotes, can also enhance concentration and well-being.

Continuous Learning and Development

Stay Updated on Best Practices

HR managers should continuously seek out best practices for managing meetings and interviews efficiently. Attending workshops, webinars, and training sessions can provide valuable insights and strategies. Keeping up with industry trends and technological advancements, such as on-demand interview platforms, ensures that HR managers can implement the most effective techniques.

Reflect and Improve

Regular reflection on the effectiveness of current practices is essential for continuous improvement. HR managers should take time to evaluate their scheduling methods, interview techniques, and meeting strategies. Seeking feedback from colleagues and candidates can also provide useful insights. By reflecting on and refining their approach, HR managers can enhance their focus and efficiency over time.

Staying focused with so many meetings and interviews is tough for HR managers. However, by prioritizing tasks, using technology, making meetings more efficient, improving communication, creating a healthy work environment, and continuously learning, HR managers can handle their responsibilities better. On-demand interviews, in particular, help by allowing flexible scheduling and lightening their load. By following these practices, HR managers can stay focused, boost productivity, and achieve better results in their roles.

The Power of Open-Ended Questions in a Job Interview

The Power of Open-Ended Questions in a Job Interview

During one-way video interviews, creating the right set of questions is very important for prompt candidates to open up. Open-ended questions play a significant role in this process by getting thoughtful responses that show the candidate’s true personality. For example questions like “Can you describe a challenging project you managed?” or “What motivates you in your work?” help candidates share in-depth insights into their experiences and motivations. This approach allows hiring managers to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the candidate, thereby ensuring a better assessment of their fit for the role and the company culture.

What are Open-Ended Questions?

Open-ended questions are inquiries that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” That is they require more elaborate responses, providing insights into the respondent’s thoughts. Examples include “Can you describe a time when you overcame a significant challenge at work?” or “What motivates you in your professional life?”

Benefits of Open-Ended Questions in On-demand Interviews

Depth of Information.

Open-ended questions allow candidates to provide detailed responses that offer deeper insights into their experiences and qualifications. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), candidates’ responses to open-ended questions can reveal their problem-solving skills, critical thinking abilities, and emotional intelligence in ways that closed questions cannot .

Understanding Behavioral Patterns.

These questions help interviewers understand how candidates have handled past situations, which can be indicative of future performance. Behavioral interview questions, such as “Tell me about a time you led a team to achieve a difficult goal,” enable interviewers to assess candidates’ competencies in real-life contexts. This approach is rooted in the Behavioral Event Interviewing (BEI) method, which focuses on past behavior as the best predictor of future behavior .

Uncovering Cultural Fit.

Cultural fit is a crucial aspect of hiring. Open-ended questions such as “What kind of work environment do you thrive in?” help employers determine whether a candidate’s values and working style align with the company’s culture. Research by the Harvard Business Review highlights that employees who fit well with their organizational culture are more likely to exhibit higher job satisfaction and lower turnover rates .

Identifying Unique Strengths and Weaknesses.

By allowing candidates to discuss their experiences and viewpoints in their own words, interviewers can identify unique strengths and areas for development that might not emerge from a structured question format. This is useful in roles requiring creativity and innovation, where traditional questioning may not fully capture a candidate’s potential.

Compose your own useful open-ended questions

Turning a closed question into an open-ended one involves rephrasing it to encourage a more detailed response. For instance, instead of asking, “Did you enjoy your previous job?” which can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” you may ask, “What aspects of your previous job did you enjoy the most?” This invites the candidate to elaborate on their experiences and preferences. Similarly, changing “Can you use Excel?” to “Can you describe your experience with using Excel in your previous roles?” prompts a richer discussion about their skills and how they have applied them in real-world situations.

Also, to maximize the benefits of open-ended questions, interviewers should be mindful of their phrasing and follow-up techniques:

  • Be Specific and Relevant: tailor questions to the specific competencies and qualities required for the role. For example, “Can you provide an example of a project where you had to manage multiple deadlines?” is more effective than a generic “Tell me about yourself.”
  • Probe Further: follow up on initial responses with probing questions to gain more detail. If a candidate mentions a successful project, asking “What specific strategies did you implement to ensure the project’s success?” can tell more about their skills and thought processes.
  • Balance the Conversation: while open-ended questions are valuable, it’s important to balance them with other types of questions to keep the interview focused and ensure all necessary topics are covered.

In addition to all of the above, you can read the list of open questions in this article.

Introducing Practice Video Interviews!

Introducing Practice Video Interviews!

Job Seekers, do you want to ace your next job interview?

Take a practice video interview now. Watch how you did, share with friends, get feedback or request coaching for interview experts at EasyHire.me.

We’ll help you make sure you’re ready for your next interview.

Scaling Fast? 3 Questions HR Can’t Afford to Forget

Scaling Fast? 3 Questions HR Can’t Afford to Forget

Don’t forget the essentials – especially in times of fast-and-furious growth

Job interviews can be a jarring, if not a downright anxiety-provoking event for many, especially when it’s not for a mere ‘job,’ but for the brave next step in a candidate’s career. Depending on the position, interviews can be high stakes for candidates and hiring managers alike. With recruiting agencies, advertisements, time spent on training, cost of low productivity, possible upfront moving costs and even hiring bonuses, the wrong decision on a hire can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Unstructured interviews with a lack of consistent questions can sometimes have HR and hiring managers forgetting the most basic questions:

 

-Can you do the work?

-Will you like the position and bring your best in every day?

-Will you fit in with the company?

 

These are, of course, the very basics. There are thousands of articles and blogs containing the words: “Top Interview Questions” and most questions do assess one of these things. However, companies of every size need to be cognizant that gaps can start growing if they lack quality HR processes. Make sure to having screening tools, consistent interview techniques, and collaboration processes. For example, an enthusiastic ‘thumbs up’ from the department head should not be the ultimate decider in the hiring of a candidate.

Finally, I’d be an irresponsible blogger if I didn’t mention EasyHire. Which, by total coincidence has sponsored this blog space (too weird!) This software is used by HR departments and staffing professionals to screen large pools of candidates with intuitive video interviewing technology. 

 

One last thing: for job seekers reading this, I think these questions are just as valuable. If you don’t know the answers to these questions with regards to companies you’ve applied for, maybe you should find out!

 

The EasyHire Team

Human Resources Today

How Well Do Your Candidates Interview?

How Well Do Your Candidates Interview?

Video Interview

 

Grill candidates with video interview prep to cool their nerves and increase confidence on game day 

 

Whether you’re working in a search firm setting or a corporate environment as a contract recruiter, think for a moment how much of your time you spend sourcing, screening, and recruiting candidates. A lot. Now think: how much time do you spend preparing your candidates for actual interviews?

Before in-person interviews are scheduled between the candidates you’ve recruited and the companies you represent, it goes without saying you’ve already done a whole lot of work developing the matches, the “good fits.” However, understanding the role and its context within the company and confirming a genuine candidate is great due diligence, but is it enough?

Question for you: “How well do your candidates interview?” If you don’t know, you need this article.

Preparing candidates for real-life interviewing is critical to your success. Using a video interview platform allows candidates to comfortably practice on their own time and gives you the opportunity to review and provide feedback where needed.

 

1: Record, Review, Refine…

 

In the few days, hours, and minutes leading up to the interview, everyone gets nervous. No matter how much coaching you provide, it’s simply how we’re wired. Video interviews can help simulate some of the same pressure felt in in-person interview. Additionally, get used to curveballs. Prepare candidates for questions they may not have thought of candidate can be asked questions they might not expect. Being able to practice this scenario over and over will create flexibility in candidates’ responses.

 

2: “Why do you want to work here?”

 

The well-prepared candidate should know the company he or she is interviewing for better than their own resume. If candidates don’t prepare for this question, it will  not only be obvious, it may be a dealbreaker for their candidacy. Asking this question and reviewing it in a recorded video interview will help your candidate avoid the longest most awkward silence ever.

 

3. Ready, Set…

 

Video interviewing platforms such as Easyhire can simulate the challenging interview environments by prompting candidates with similar questions in a live or pre-recorded scenario. Alongside timed assessment, multiple-choice, extended text, including coding / whiteboarding windows, written response, and others, you can be more confident in your rockstar candidates on their big day.

 

4. Go with confidence!

 

Even with years of experience and qualifications a candidate may have, don’t take chances and assume your candidates will do great until you’ve seen it with your own eyes. Some may be ready to go off the bat. However, many candidates may have been out of the market for a while or are entering a new industry. With new technology, preparing candidates with video interviews may be innovative to some, but it’s really just common sense.

 

-Jeremy Hoffman

VP Business Development

EasyHire

 

Human Resources Today

The many layers of interviewing: Unfold the process with EasyHire.me

The many layers of interviewing: Unfold the process with EasyHire.me

You are using EasyHire’s interview platform to interview new candidates. You are consistently going through each question, listening intently to each answer, and carefully rating responses. But what are you actually listening for? How do you take subjective answers and make them objective, allowing you to compare apples to apples? 

Let’s investigate what employers are thinking when candidates are answering questions and how EasyHire can help incorporate these concepts in their interview process in a structured and objective manner.

  1. Likeability. Do I like this person? Will they get along with the rest of the team? Can I spend 8+ hours a day with them? What is the cultural fit? By including “cultural fit” and/or “likability” as measures on the scorecard, employers can rate candidates on a 5-star rating system.
  2. Genuineness. Is this person who they say they are? Do their experiences and language seem congruent with their application? Does the candidate genuinely want to work here? Can I trust this person? Ask in your interview process “Why do you want to work at Company X?” Genuineness can be measured from the candidate’s answer.
  3. Competency. Can the person do the job for which they are applying? Do they reference skills and knowledge relevant to the position? EasyHire.me allows employers to internally list skills, knowledge, and other competencies to be rated for each candidate in the platform, allowing for easy comparison of candidates.
  4. Positivity. Does the candidate seem to have a positive outlook? Do they speak poorly of their previous position or supervisors? When speaking of situations that didn’t go well, does the candidate focus on the negatives or do they express the things they learned to improve for next time? Include “positivity” as a measure or ask questions that get to the heart of a candidate’s outlook.
  5. Uniqueness. Is this candidate memorable (for the right reasons!)? Would they bring something new and different to the company? Are they better than the rest and stand out as someone you want on your team? Simply asking “tell me what makes you unique” or “why should we pick you out of all the other candidates” can yield some telling results related to uniqueness. Additionally, the way a candidate presents themselves, their variety of experiences, and how they tell a story might give them a 5-star rating in the “uniqueness” measure.
  6. Employer knowledge. Did the candidate spend the time to get to know the company and what they are about? Do they know the job description well and understand how they will contribute in the position? Do they reference company projects and initiatives while relating their skills? Including “employer research” as a measure can help employers compare candidates who took a cursory look at the website against those who really spent some time understanding what the company is about.

Although objective answers to questions in an interview are very important, subjective concepts, such as genuineness and uniqueness cannot be forgotten. Let EasyHire help you navigate both objective and subjective scores and find the best candidate for the position.

Why and how employers ask the questions they do

Why and how employers ask the questions they do

“Tell me about yourself”

“Why should we hire you?”

“Why is a manhole cover round?”*

“Tell us about a time you worked on a team that went better than expected and a time that went worse than expected”

“Please use the whiteboard to write the Java code for……”

There are many types of questions employers may ask in an interview and there are reasons for each:

  • Get to know you questions. These are asked with an intent of learning about the candidate, including their goals, education, and past experiences. Interviewers learn more about the candidate’s personality, their credentials, and motivation for interviewing.
  • Behavioral questions. Questions centered around past experiences or hypothetical situations have one goal in mind: past behavior predicts future behavior. If a candidate describes what they’ve done or would do in a situation that doesn’t mesh with the mindset of the company or the goals of the interviewer, there’s a good chance the interview process won’t move forward.
  • Brainteaser questions. You probably don’t know how many gas stations there are in the US (Microsoft interview question) or the annual revenue of the Starbucks in Times Square (Morgan Stanley interview question). Interviewers are less interested in the right answer, but more curious to know your creativity, thought process, and, perhaps most telling, your ability to think under pressure.
  • Technical questions. For candidates applying for technical positions, employers not only want to hear about knowledge, skills, and experiences relevant to the field, they want to see it with their own eyes. Candidates may be asked to code in Java or create something in Photoshop. EasyHire’s in-built code-editor makes it super easy to conduct technical interviews

Integrating the variety of questions in a meaningful and structured manner is important for both employer and candidate. EasyHire’s interview management system is one way to keep interviews on track.

Employers can structure interviews by specifying the skills, knowledge, and abilities required for the job. They formulate the evaluation criteria when compiling interview questions and a rating scale before the interview. Once the interview is in a process, employers ask questions while making notes and rating the candidates’ responses. Keeping questions consistent and structure is also important for employers because discrimination and hiring bias may be reduced, ensuring a more fair hiring process.

Candidates benefit from structured interviews in a number of ways as well. A candidate might feel the process is more professional and consistent when an employer uses EasyHire (don’t forget: interviews are also a time for a candidate to decide whether the employer is a good fit for them!). Additionally, one of the features of EasyHire, the interactive platform that puts the question on the screen, allows a candidate to read the question, reducing the chance of mishearing the question.

Although the interview process can be cumbersome and intimidating for both sides of the conference table, interview questions are a necessary way for employers to get to know a candidate beyond the information in a resume and cover letter. Do we like this person? Are they a good fit? Can they do the job? Pick the best candidate with EasyHire’s easy-to-use interview management platform.

*A manhole cover is round because it cannot fall through its circular opening and is easily moved and rolled.

How do you fight bias in your hiring process?

How do you fight bias in your hiring process?

Hiring bias is something that affects everyone whether you are a candidate being overlooked or an employer unconsciously making a biased hiring decision. Fighting bias is a choice and more companies are starting to make that choice in their recruitment process and reaping the rewards of a team built on diversity.

Hiring bias can take many forms: the way the job posting is written; the effect of the name, age, and pedigree of the applicant;  what questions are asked in the interview and more. Employers need to be aware of their hiring bias whether it is conscious or not while asking themselves the bigger question – what aspect of the company culture is fueling the hiring bias in the first place?

Today many resources are available to the companies to reduce unconscious biases which in turn will bring diversity into the workforce. EasyHire.me recognizes that the interview process is potentially the gateway to many of the biases that influence the hiring process which in turn shapes the company’s culture. EasyHire.me’s interview management platform helps employers to conduct a more consistent interview across all applicants ensuring that every candidate gets a fair chance. Hiring managers can create pre-defined questions to evaluate the candidates which help the interviewers to stay on track during the selection process, put their biases aside and discover the best candidates.

In technology industries specifically, knowledge and skills create a strong candidate. Many a times employers have been less likely to interview a female candidate, an LGBTQ-identified applicant, an older applicant due to biases of who should “represent” the tech world. EasyHire.me’s interviewing tools and processes can help companies take the first step forward in hiring people based on “who can do the job well” and not “who they are”. This will not only help the companies find strong candidates but also bring diversity to the workplace. In a time of a technology boom, combined with an increasingly diverse community of technical applicants, it is important to face hiring bias and stop denying it exists.

Integrated code-editor for technical interviews

Integrated code-editor for technical interviews

EasyHire.me provides an integrated code editor for conducting effective technical interviews.  The candidates can choose to code in their favorite coding language (C/C++, Java, Javascript, Python, Perl etc.) using the inbuilt code-editor. Whether it is an on-demand or live interview, the ability to write code, compile, and test all  in one place makes it easy for the candidates to display their programming strength.

EasyHire.me tags the code snippet along with the question and makes it available to the hiring team as part of the interview report. Below is the screenshot of the interview report of a candidate. Note that you can look at the interview question, listen to the candidate’s response, and review the coding skills, all at the same time.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 1.51.38 PM

With EasyHire.me, you can effectively pre-screen technical talent much earlier in your hiring cycle.

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.