The time it is taking employers to make decisions on hiring is excruciating. I am all for finding the right person for the job and the right fit, but if after multiple phone screens and in-person interviews you can’t decide, then you don’t have the right person or you are being way too picky. Employers should be hiring with diversity and inclusion at the forefront of their thinking as well. But if you wait too long, you will lose the candidate that could take your organization to the next level.
Please Consider the Candidates Timeline
You as the employer, have no idea of the circumstances of your candidates and why they are looking for new employment. Unemployment only lasts six months and there are no extensions in Washington State. So, this could mean that your candidate is on the brink of homelessness or bankruptcy at no fault of their own. I’m not saying that all candidates are in this dilemma but there are many people that I have spoken to that have been looking for a position for up to and more than a year. They report that unemployment is low and companies are having a hard time finding people, (so they say) I just don’t buy it.
Speed Up or Fine Tune Your Processes
You can find good people quickly. That same first impression or chemistry test you all use when meeting a new friend or potential mate can also be used to find a new employee. Do you like their knowledge, skills, and abilities? Are they answering the questions correctly? Do they have a nice demeanor? Then give them a shot! You may be saving a life in the process or the life of an entire family.
What Can HR Leaders Do?
Work with your executive teams and hiring managers to set compensation ranges, job descriptions, and hiring timeline expectations. When you are organized in the beginning and you have a generous advertising budget you will gather the resumes you need to start the phone screening process and get people in the door to begin interviewing. There will always be those exceptions in the process, but ultimately you can speed this up by planning ahead and being organized.
So you have phone-screened your candidates and you pick a lot to come in and meet the team. Today is the day. What will happen?
You decide that you can spread out the three candidates in one day. Make sure you and your team are fresh all day. Each candidate deserves your complete attention without distractions or fatigue
Types of Interviewee’s
All of these candidates are coming in hopeful, energetic, and a bit nervous at the same time. Let’s take a look at what could happen and what you can do to counteract it.
- The “One word answer” candidate. What should you do? Well, obviously the interview will be shorter but let’s see if you can get the person to open up a little. If you have asked all of the pertinent questions for the job, ask the person what they are passionate about. The person may surprise you and start blabbing about their passions. This is when you can see the real deal. The person behind the fear.
- The “Can’t stop talking to save my soul” candidate. These ones are hard for me because I want to keep on schedule and when someone just keeps rambling on, it is really hard to concentrate. This person is usually this way all the time. It’s not nerves. Let’s be real. You may love it or not, but it is hard to listen to. Of course we don’t let that get in the way of seeing if the person is qualified for the job, but it does go to “fit” within the organization.
- The “Confident Interviewer” candidate. I feel a kinship to these types of candidates. I have been in my field long enough that I am confident in my skills and abilities and at a certain level, the employer should be understanding that the position they are hiring for the person they speak to has the education and skill level they are looking for. Sometimes we are wrong. I know this. However, the majority of the time it is true. So this interview goes by smoothly and someone on team feels that the candidate is cocky or conceited. Is this really true? Or…is it the fact that confidence can make others uncomfortable if they are not as confident in their own roles.
I know I sound like a head shrinker in this case but be aware that this may happen. We don’t want to lose a good candidate because someone on the team is threatened. We also want to make sure that we are not basing this decision on gender too. If a man is confident, they are seen as go-getters. If a woman is the same, she is seen as a bitch or conceited. Let’s make sure we are providing equity in the workplace and not allowing this to happen.
Pick the Final Two
Of these three, who would you pick to come back? Only you and your team can decide. You know your culture, what the job entails, who they have to work with, etc. Make sure you decide on the person based on their skills and abilities and then fit for the organization. Don’t just pick someone because everyone liked them. Make sure they can do the job.
Also, a person may surprise you when they get hired and they have the pressure of being “on”. They might relax and show you their personality a bit easier. Yes, this can backfire. Let’s concentrate on the good for a while and play that this has a great outcome, shall we?
The Last One Standing
Here is your winner. You have had all of the interviews, you have asked all the questions and answered some too. Congratulations on picking your new team member. There is nothing in HR as satisfying as giving someone a new job. I love the feeling of it and I love seeing their face on the first day!
What is your greatest weakness?
Why would you ever in 2019 want to ask a candidate what their weaknesses are? This is a punitive and antiquated question. I feel like this question needs to go hide in the closet and never come out again.
The answer you are most likely going to get from people so they don’t have to speak badly about themselves, is “If anything, I am a perfectionist”. Is that really a weakness? Candidates spin this so it looks like they’ve answered your question. I don’t see how wanting to do things extremely well in our work is a bad thing. If we were to really just lay it out there, a good answer to this question could be; “Sometimes I just hate dealing with stupid people and want them to leave me alone so I can get my job done”. Is that a weakness? I know we all have thought this same sentiment at one time or another.
Where do you see yourself in Five Years?
Wow. As an HR professional that has been in this business for a long time, I know that either people stay in their positions for ten or more years, or they leave within two or three. With the surge of millennial’s in the workplace, asking them what they think they might be doing five years from now is daunting to them. I once read an article that said instead of trying to retain millennial’s, we should invite them to come and work for us and if they decide to leave, invite them to come back when they have tested out other organizations. Guess what you’ll get back? A more experienced employee with ideas that might help you move your business two or three steps further based off the knowledge that they have gained elsewhere. On top of that, you will have shown this employee that you cared enough to let them fly free and come back to the nest when they were ready.
Tell me about yourself…
Yikes. I have been guilty of asking this question in the past. This is a very difficult question to ask candidates and even more difficult for them to answer. Most people don’t want to talk about themselves. It is awkward and at times you may be getting answers to questions that fall on the line of being illegal. Does this question affect the candidate’s ability to do the job? Will the answers they give you contribute to their ability to do the job? Most likely, not. So don’t ask this. Let’s stick to questions that are job related. Especially if these are initial screening questions. As HR professionals we want to verify that they have the necessary skills and abilities to do the job, not if they were to be any tree in the world, they’d be an Oak.