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  • Top Interview Tips: The Employers Essential Handbook A comprehensive guide to interview preparation, questions, tactics, and more

  • Table of Contents

    Introduction 3

    The Panel 4

    Interview process 7

    Interview tactics 11

    Candidate experience 16

    Preparing interviewers 20

    Top interview questions 24

    Expert spotlight 28

    Cultural fit 35

    Candidate feedback 37

    Conclusion 41

    2

  • Introduction

    Getting the right people into your open roles is critical to your companys success - and the interview process helps you identify them. The problem is, theres no magic formula for finding your next top performers. Even companies like Google, which see millions of candidates and hire thousands of employees each year 1, are constantly adjusting their formula to identify top-tier talent. While there is no silver bullet, every change to your interview process is an opportunity for improvement.

    The following is a guide for recruiting leaders, hiring managers and founders who are committed to creating a great interview process to get the right people in the door.

    How do you structure your interview process? How can you provide a great candidate experience throughout? Which interview tactics work, and which dont? These are just some of the questions we asked our panel of experienced recruiting leaders, to shed some light on how to create the best interview process.

    Read on to meet the panel and hear their best interview tips for employers.

    1 http://www.businessinsider.com/meet-googles-hiring-gatekeepers-2015-7 3

  • Anna is the Director of Talent Acquisition at Shopify. Since joining Shopify in 2011, shes helped build the company from 150 employees to over 1000. Anna is the co-founder of an apparel company called Caged Collective, an avid snowboarder, and a one-time* marathon runner.

    *Anna has completed one marathon and has committed to never doing that again.

    An accomplished search industry professional with experience leading recruiting organizations from New York to San Francisco, Arthur has spent the last 10+ years helping to build some of the best organizations on the planet. With both agency and in-house recruiting experience, hes continuing to learn and evolve, and loving every minute of it.

    The Panel

    Anna LambertDirector of Talent Acquisition, Shopify

    Arthur YamamotoDirector of Recruiting, Twitch

    4

    https://ca.linkedin.com/in/annalamberthttps://www.shopify.com/https://www.linkedin.com/in/arthuryamamotohttp://www.twitch.tv/

  • Nicole Ossey is the Head of Recruiting & HR at AnyPerk, an employee happiness company with a perks and rewards platform that is used by over 1,000 companies across the U.S. She is responsible for leading the companys HR initiatives and growing the AnyPerk team across all its key functions, including Product & Engineering, Marketing, Sales, and Finance. Nicole started her recruiting career at VonChurch, a digital entertainment recruiting agency, first as a technical recruiter and then as the Global HR Director in charge of internal recruitment.

    Lumen has worked in recruiting for more than 10 years. After beginning his career in agency recruiting, Lumen founded an online talent marketplace called Mighty Spring which he ran for four years before joining Shyp.

    The Panel

    Nicole OsseyHead of Recruiting & HR, AnyPerk

    Lumen SivitzHead of Recruiting, Shyp

    5

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicoleosseyhttps://anyperk.com/https://www.linkedin.com/in/lumenlivehttps://www.linkedin.com/in/lumenlive

  • Richard (Rich) is currently the Director of Global Talent Acquisition at Machine Zone. Prior to Machine Zone, he helped Facebook and Dropbox during their hyper-growth phases. He has a passion for establishing effective recruiting strategies and employment brands for hyper-growth companies, as well as a successful track record of growing companies from the hundreds to the thousands in a short period of time.

    The Panel

    Richard ChoDirector of Global Talent Acquisition, Machine Zone

    6

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardchohttp://www.machinezone.com/

  • The interview process tends to be fairly standard from company to company. It will generally begin with a phone screen, sometimes followed by an assessment, and conclude with one or more onsite interviews. More innovative companies, however, have found ways to make small improvements to their interview process that produce big results.

    Interview process

    7

  • Everyone is trying to put their best foot forward during the interview process and, as a result, may not relax and be themselves. Alleviate pressure by including an informal gathering, such as lunch or happy hour, to allow both candidates and interviewers to be themselves and really get to know one another.

    Thats why Twitch includes lunch during a typical onsite. Arthur says, The candidate will sit and chat with someone from the team - but it isnt an interview, its a conversation with a lunch buddy. Candidates sit with employees, and feel our culture from a more organic perspective. He continues, At the offer stage, we invite the candidate back for a happy hour or dinner - not just as a closing tactic, but also so the candidate gets to see the company culture without the pressure of an interview. We see more of their real self once they know theres an offer because its no longer an evaluation process. We interact on a more human level.

    Lack of communication is one of the biggest complaints job seekers have about the recruitment process. Lumen explains,

    Not knowing whats next and who will be in touch is the worst. Try to set expectations, clearly and appropriately, about next steps - and then deliver on your process.

    Candidates want to be kept in the loop about what to expect next. Respect their time by communicating your process upfront, and alerting them to any changes. This is particularly true if you have a long, or strenuous, interview process. Candidates can be extremely agile if you keep them informed about your interview process, but may not stick around if you spring surprises on them. Top-tier candidates are in high demand, and a simple phone call, email, or even a text message, can go a long way.

    Make your candidates and interviewers comfortable

    Be transparent about your process

    8

  • 2 https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/2015/08/5-reasons-employee-referrals-are-the-best-way-to-hire

    While a structured interview process can help you tell candidates what to expect and provide each of them with a consistent experience, it may be beneficial to deviate from time to time.

    For instance, when AnyPerk interviews engineers, it skips its standard phone interview screening and goes straight to an hour-long video interview. Nicole says,

    When we interview for an engineer, we try to move as fast as possible. If an engineer is actively searching for a new job, theyre usually pretty active.

    If both parties are interested in moving forward, AnyPerk schedules an onsite visit for the candidate to meet the team and CEO. If all goes well, the company will make an offer that day.

    It may also be a good idea to lengthen the interview process in specific situations. Lumen says, If we have a strong internal referral, we will begin with a brief coffee meeting. Referral candidates are often passive talent, and may need warming up before they agree to formally interview. Research has shown that referral candidates are faster and less expensive to hire, and stay at their job longer 2, making an extra meeting well worth the effort. It may also be necessary to add an extra meeting if the candidate needs to meet with additional people, or if they have additional questions - just make sure any changes are clearly communicated to the candidate.

    Deviate from your normal process if need be

    9

  • You never want to substitute quality for speed, but a long time to hire can cause substantial damage to your company. You can lose candidates who are in high demand, and your unfilled position can bar you from reaching your goals.

    Nicole explains that some positions will naturally have a longer time to hire than others, particularly for

    high-level candidates whose availability is limited. For these candidates there are more people to speak with, and there is more thought that goes into making a final hiring decision on both sides. By two months, however, if all parties cant figure out if theres a fit, it probably means there isnt and it wont work out.

    At a certain point, you simply need to cut your losses and pursue other candidates.

    Keep time to hire in check

    10

  • Throughout the interview process, companies employ various tactics to help them identify the top candidates. However, the jury is still out on which methods work best. Each company, and each position within that company, is unique - and needs different interview tactics to find the people to best fill it.

    Interview tactics

    11

  • Rich says,

    There are two categories of hiring: skills-based and qualitative. Every company can test an engineers skills in a programming language well enough for a good signal, but its harder to assess for qualitative skills that are predictors of success. With values-based, or behavioral, interviewing, you can look for the specific values you want to see in candidates.

    He continues, For instance, Facebook values people who take chances and solve problems quickly - youve probably seen the posters inspired by them that read, Move