9 tactics for creating a first-class interview process
How to create the most memorable interview experience
Getting the interview right will win you top talent. But getting it wrong could leave candidates with a bad impression, hurting your recruiting efforts and employer brand. Follow these top tips to consistently create positive interview experiences, qualify candidates better – and avoid turning off talent.
Get to know the 3 critical phases of the interview process
1. Avoid confusion and disjointed goals by aligning teams on must-have candidate qualifications
- What the first 90 days should entail
- Whether industry experience is necessary to succeed
- Which soft skills are essential to work collaboratively
- If there are any internal candidates to consider first
“Expand your candidate pool by getting your team aligned on hiring candidates who can grow into the role.”
2. Prevent interviewers from showing up unprepared by providing a quick overview of candidates
Let’s face it, your team might be too time strapped to read candidate info. To keep everyone in the know, plan a brief meeting (ideally under 10 minutes to keep it repeatable), priming only on the most important candidate details, including key skills and reasons for the interview invite.
“By reviewing a candidate’s history, you can ask more pointed questions and have a richer conversation.”
3. Combat predictable interview questions (and answers) by adding problem-solving scenarios that give deeper insights
The commonality often leads to responses that can feel repetitive and rehearsed. To move beyond the expected, use the LinkedIn Interview Question Generator to inspire questions that test how applicants might solve on-the-job problems. Also, rather than a strict outline, equip interviewers with key talking points to allow for more freedom and insightful questions.
“Panel interviews can eliminate bias, allowing everyone to hear the same evidence. But avoid poorly organized panels where everyone interrupts to ask their own pet questions.”
Additional resources to help you prepare for the candidate interview
4. To avoid sudden interview dropout, don’t go radio silent – prep candidates in advance to instill confidence and vested interest
Yet some simple guidance can make all the difference in the process. Use this pre-interview checklist to get your team and candidates ready. Also, consider sharing interview questions in advance to show applicants you’re invested in their success.
“Send candidates an interview readiness email. This includes a schedule, interview team details, possible interview questions, and what to wear. It should also cover logistics, like directions and ‘emergency contacts’—lifeline numbers candidates can call if they need to reach the coordinator or recruiter during their interview day. Transparency and preparedness allows the candidate to be fully confident and really shine during their interview, which benefits both you and them!”
5. Nix off-putting body language and distractions by conducting a mock interview
Signs of disinterest or lack of focus (fidgeting, checking your watch) lead not only to missed candidate details, but can be a talent turnoff. Rehearse putting candidates at ease by paying attention to your body language, facial expressions, and nonverbal communication.
"Practice active listening. This involves three steps. First, don’t lose sight of your purpose—remember why you’re listening. Are you noting details, big picture meaning or listening with empathetic intentions? Second, be mindful about your presence—what kind of vibe are your body language and facial expressions giving off? And third, minimize potential pitfalls, like avoiding multitasking."
6. Don’t forget to show and tell your company culture by inviting candidates for an office tour
So rather than waving off candidates at interview’s end, showcase your office – be it the cafeteria, gathering place, or allowing the opportunity to chat with potential coworkers about the day-to-day. This kind of openness helps candidates visualize themselves in the role.
“Allow time for candidates to explore further. Not just questions, but a tour. Discuss challenges and wins you’ve experienced. Give them history of the group, company, or department.”
7. Avoid the follow-up fail by sharing your decision timeline immediately after the interview
Candidates understand that decisions take time. But if days pass without any word, they may lose confidence in your company – and accept an offer elsewhere. Beat this issue by being transparent about your next steps and setting clear expectations on when you’ll reconnect with an update.
“Put aside time each day to send updates to every candidate in the interview process. Doing so will ensure you have the time to focus on these tasks and be more efficient.”
More resources to help you create a first-class candidate experience
8. Tackle bias by reminding interviewers not to discuss initial candidate assessments among themselves
To nix this in the hiring process, talk to your panel immediately following interviews to preserve their raw candidate assessments. This will also ensure hiring details remain freshest.
“Feedback must be submitted before the debrief session. Even a casual comment (verbally or over chat or email) can bias other interviewers who may not have yet formed a clear candidate POV or be on the fence.”
9. Conquer candidate decision fatigue by establishing consistent methods to receive and evaluate talent feedback
Making side-by-side candidate comparisons can be extremely challenging when interviewers have different feedback styles. To combat the disparity, equip interviewers with this handy candidate evaluation form to standardize feedback, consolidate comments, and make hiring decisions faster.
“An interview scorecard can provide a quantitative basis for comparison between interviewers. By correlating your predictions with candidates’ actual job performance, you can get quantitative feedback on accuracy of assessing different criteria.”