Years ago, I was the Human Resources Leader on a massive petrochemical start-up project based in the middle east. I was on the project for nearly 5 years, with about 2.5 years of that, spent hiring over 500 employees from 22 different countries onto the project. It was an incredible undertaking, with some of the best teamwork and leadership on the part of our HR and Management team I’ve ever seen demonstrated.
During the most intensive phase of the start-up process, our amazing recruiting department literally scoured the world, looking for the best and brightest people we could find. Our recruiters went to all parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, India & the Sub-Continent, Australia and North/South America. All this, with one major objective: Find people who not only technically met the qualifications of the positions we were looking for, but also find people who would fit within the team-based, safety-oriented and leadership culture we were creating for this ‘newborn’ organization we were building.
If you are thinking about or will be involved in hiring processes that will involve multiple hiring interviews for multiple positions over a relatively short period of time, then read on. From this and other mass hiring experiences I’ve been involved in, I’ve learned 4 highly important ingredients in the mass interviewing process that I want to share.
The Four ‘P’s!
If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember I published an article last summer entitled, Guerrilla Tactics & The Four ‘P’s of Hiring Interviews. In that article I mention four methods or tactics any awesome interviewer will employ to get the best results from their interviews. Here’s a recap:
1- People –
2- Place –
3- Program –
4- Practice –
Watch the video below that I produced last summer on the 4th ‘P’ of Interviewing: Program. Then read the blog below to find out more:
When we were doing multiple rounds of mass hiring for the startup all those years ago, our recruiting team knew (instinctively & by design) that if we were going to get through all those interviews (sometimes dozens per day) we would need some kind of system in place that we could implement and then re-use over and over.
Without the backbone and structure of a ‘project driven’ interview process, any mass hiring/interview process will NOT get you the results you need in terms of a final successful hiring outcome. The Four ‘P’s of hiring interviews provides the key ingredients you will need to structure, outline and format a mass hiring interview process. So here they are again! The 4 key tactics to keep in mind in developing and maintaining focus in mass hiring interviews:
People – Pick a solid interview team who are motivated and trained to do the interviews. This is the first critical key tactic. You want people who are well-trained and impartial to the hiring outcomes. In other words, find a team that is committed to the consistent and systematized search for the best possible candidates. Pick your team carefully. Use both technical experts who know the positions being interviewed and use recruitment/hiring experts that understand the interviewing process. In the end, developing and sticking to a structured process for your interviewers as well as providing effective interview training for them, is key to getting the results you’re looking for when interviewing job candidates.
Place – Pick your setting for the interview on the following 2 factors: What stage of the hiring process you’re in & what position is being hired for. To set the context for this, it’s important to highlight the difference between a formal, structured interview that will determine the ultimate hiring decision, vs. a more informal ‘meet-and-greet’ interview, whose purpose is an initial chance to get-to-know the candidate(s) for the role you’re hiring for. For a meet and greet type of interview, a more relaxed, informal environment such as a coffee shop, restaurant or airport lounge, might be the perfect location. On the other hand, a more formal hiring interview will require a more conventional environment. Keeping this in mind, let’s set the context for location for a formal hiring interview:
Program – Use the 4S system: You must be Scheduled, Scripted, Standardized & Seamless in your planning & delivery of a mass interviewing process. Here are the key tips to get you there:
- Develop a set of well-researched, standardized interview guides for use in each and every interview that you do for each specific role being hired. These guides should be designed to determine how closely each candidate is matched to the exact skills, qualifications, roles & responsibilities and defined outcomes of the position being interviewed for. For this to work, you need to have accurate, up-to-date job descriptions, you can use as you design your questions. For review, take a look at this link to my free ‘Guerrilla Interview Guide’ that you can download and use as a template.
- Develop a specific agenda that you will deliver for each interview. Make the agenda as specific as possible, right down to the minute. Remember, your time is valuable, so know ahead of time how you will be using it during your interviews. Most importantly, stick to the agenda during the interviews!
- Run the interview process like a project. When we were doing our hiring in the middle east, we broke down the hiring process into phases with assigned teams & objectives. Each hiring project had clear rationale backing up the reasons why you’re looking for the role and how the interview process will ensure you obtain your objectives.
- Keep a timeline for the interview process. When will you start? How many interviews will you be doing? How long will the entire process take from concept through to final hire? Put it on a timeline, using project software if you know how to do this. Or simply write out the timeline on an excel sheet, complete with steps/phases, actions and deliverables.
Practice – Our four ‘P’s are rounded off by the cornerstone tactic of Practice. This involves using three key methods of preparation for any mass interview project. The first method ties back to the ‘People’ tactic of the four ‘P’s – Making sure all your interview team are properly trained in conducting the interviews. This includes both telephone/online, initial meet-and-greet as well as formal structured interviews. The practice tactic is the execution or delivery of your “Program” tactic. The second method of practice is…well…Practice! Part of your training needs to be interview practice. I encourage interview teams to do a ‘dry-run’ of their formal interviews, using volunteers to act as candidates. This role-play form of practice gives everyone an opportunity to test out their questioning skills and helps to smooth out any wrinkles in the interviewing process, prior to ‘going live’ with real candidates. Practice also allows the members of interview teams to get to know each other within the interview setting, so they’re more likely to think and act as a team during the real interviews.
With all four of these tactics in place, your chances of increasing your interviewing results from any mass interview process will be doubled. Good luck and leave comments on your own mass hiring experiences, tips and tactics.
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Then leave a comment below on your experience, thoughts or advise on the above ideas.
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Lee Hodgins, CPHR works with entrepreneurs, business owners & hiring managers to leverage the power of hiring interviews to dramatically boost their effectiveness and accuracy in finding the most qualified job candidates. More information is awaiting you online at www.guerrillainterviewing.com