The last blog I wrote was focused heavily on how to attract the best applicants using a job spec.
Now, assuming that worked, you would have received a few hundred applications. We would have screened and filtered them and sent you a shortlist of the top 10%.
Now you’ve gotta start interviewing. Do you have a system to conduct round 1 interviews effectively and fairly? I’ll share mine with you.
When I interview, the most important thing I have to do is stay objective. I’m prone to ‘like’ people, but it’s not always the idea to hire the people you like (there is a difference between likability and values/culture fit).
I’m also prone to talk a lot because I’m so passionate about the business, but that prevents me from learning about the candidate.
Both these traits have led me to make bad hires in the past, so I put a super simple system in place to help me out:
- Standardised questions for everyone
- A weighted scorecard to track the data
The standardized questions help me stay on track. I plan it so that I have enough time in 45 minutes to ask only those questions, and because I know the time is so tight, I restrain myself from asking anything else.
The weighted scorecard is the real game-changer but is reliant on you being disciplined in asking the right questions and ranking them objectively.
I create a Google sheet with the questions running down the rows. I then make a column for each applicant that I’m interviewing. Each question is allocated a weighting of importance between 1 and 5.
For example, the values-based questions will almost always be a 5 (most important) whereas some questions have less significance and will be weighted with a 1 or 2. Competency questions are generally a 3 or 4 as they’re NB but also things we can teach.
Here is a sample of my template if you’d like to take a look.
Then, as I’m interviewing each candidate, I rate their answers for each question I ask out of 10. Granted, this is still subjective, but because I’m asking everyone the same questions, that in itself neutralizes the subjectivity of my rankings.
Once I’ve completed the interviews, I have a record of how I felt each individual answered each question. I work out a weighted score for every applicant and let the numbers do the talking.
Things gives me objective data on every single person I’ve interviewed against the exact same criteria. I’m not relying on my memory, and I’m definitely not relying on how well we got on or how nice of a person they were. I’m focussing acutely on the criteria that I am hiring for.
The spreadsheet will tell you who scores the highest, and those are the ones who will generally progress to the next round (advanced competency test).