Providing structure in a startup is never easy and structured interview processes are far and few between on the French Tech scene. However, getting into the habit is worth it in the long term. Structured interviewing clarifies the entire team’s role in the process, reduces the time to hire and allows less biased decisions to be made.
So how to put in place a structured interview process like a pro?
1. Outline each step of your structured interview process and the individual stakeholders
As we discussed in our article on reducing your time to hire, try to stay under 4 steps (or interviews). If you need more than 4, it most likely means you haven’t done the next steps. 😉 Everyone involved in the process should be 100% clear on their role and responsibility in the process from day one. There should be little change between candidates for consistency in comparison.
2. Drive ownership among stakeholders for startup hiring bliss
So now you’ve reached a new stage when your employees must start to recruit for their own team. Make sure each member fully embodies your values. These are not only written on your office walls but serve as key decision drivers in your recruitment process. Each team member should be fully aware that every discussion with a candidate will have an impact on your employer brand.
3. Create a list of questions to ask every candidate in your structured interview process
First, define question types at each step of the interview process.
There are typically three types of questions:
- job-specific questions
- behavioral interview questions
- and situational interview questions
We find that our French startup clients are very strong in job-specific questions. However, they often have issues assessing important factors such as attention to detail, behavioral characteristics, coachability, critical thinking, and integrity.
Next, Check your questions for bias.
Are they setting the candidate up for success, yet challenging enough to weed out B and C players? Only include questions that provide a true value-add to the final decision.
Why? This ensures there are no repeated steps or questions so your time is minimized with the candidate, the candidate experience jackpot.
There should be some flexibility in questions of course! Before each interview, the previous interviewers should be consulted for weak points in case there are certain areas that deserve specific concentration.
Finally, all questions should have defined strong, average and poor answers.
Explicitly defining what a good answer looks like before the start of the process further reduces bias in hiring.
How to include an external recruiter in your structured interview process?
These steps become even more important when using a recruitment agency.
Make sure that these questions are communicated and that the external recruiter is completely on board with your process. External recruiters should save time and energy. However, this can only occur when you properly brief your agency/recruiter.
The agency should focus on understanding the big picture and detecting any major red flags in a candidate’s background.
The internal team should focus on technical/job-specific questions and selling life at your company.
So how do you pull your structured interview process altogether? With a Scorecard!
Finally, only about 20% of our clients provide a scorecard (or end up using it!). A hiring scorecard provides consistent, objective and fair processes.
The hiring scorecard should be directly tied to each step of your structured interview steps so that the answers provided translate into a quantifiable way to measure and compare candidates on skill and culture (more on culture fit here).
Whether you do this before or after you structure your steps is up to you. The scorecard should be seen as a working document that adapts to your needs as new information is revealed in the process, yet treated as carefully as the value and mission statements in your organization. It should be the only guideline throughout the hiring process (since our instincts are often wrong!).
Having trouble with your scorecard? You can use our template here.
The more thought and effort put into the overall structuring before you start will decrease your time to hire dramatically (see more on that here).