Is Your Interview Process Holding You Back? 5 Steps to Fix It

Your interview process is making a strong impression on prime candidates–for better or worse. These 5 easy steps will help you to hire only the best talent.

As all hiring managers well know, it’s a tight market for talent out there in fields from e-commerce and digital marketing to information technology. Your interview process not only needs to guide you to the right candidates but also needs to make a strong impression on them.

Most of us aren’t born with interviewing skills. During the interview process, we essentially wing it, thinking we can trust our gut.

Now, your intuition might be spot on a lot of the time. But a well-designed process will give you more helpful insights and gut reactions every step of the way. Here are five things that will help you attract and recognize the best candidates throughout the whole process.


Get the Hiring Team on the Same Page

Firstly, make sure your entire hiring team has a shared understanding of the position you’re trying to fill. Then, call for a strategy meeting to discuss the position with everyone handling the interview process within recruitment and hiring. At the meeting, do the following:

  • Discuss as a group what the role involves, and what may have changed since the last time you hired for that position.
  • Agree on what you’d like this person to achieve in the first 30, 60, and 90 days. Then look at what success looks like at the end of the year. This will help you write the job description.
  • Don’t focus too much on cultural fit, says Harvard Business Review–instead, focus more on candidates’ adaptability. Flexible, team-oriented people can adapt to many different types of workplace cultures.
  • Talk through any difference you have about what this person should do so that you are aligned 100% on what you want in a new hire. Candidates will be confused by mixed messages from different interviewers, which could potentially turn them off.


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Focus on Goals, Not Tasks, in the Job Description

Too often, the bulk of the job description becomes a list of tasks rather than a clear overview of what the company wants the employee to accomplish in the role. Revisit the job description to make sure it focuses on what you want the employee to achieve, not on responsibilities.

  • Give your job description a compelling lead-in that makes prospective candidates excited about working for your company, highlighting the value of the role.
  • Build the body of the job description around the goals and objectives you’ve set. By focusing on goals rather than particular tasks in your digital marketing for the position, you’ll find out whether candidates feel truly excited and capable of working toward those goals. Share both short and long-term objectives for the role.
  • List the most key qualities, skills, and responsibilities after the goals and objectives. This then gives the candidate a clearer understanding of what a typical workday will involve.
  • Keep an open mind when candidates apply. Some of the most talented people don’t have the best resumes. They write a resume once every 2 to 4 years or more. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always represent them in the best light.


Ask the Right Questions

Vet your candidates by asking well-crafted questions that uncover how they would perform in the role during the interview process. Here are a few ideas:

  • “What led you to consider this opportunity? Based on what you know about this role, why do you feel you’d be a good fit?”
  • “Tell me about your most significant technical accomplishment, the project you’re most proud of” (Fast Company).
  • “What’s your superpower? What would your coworkers say is your greatest strength? What sets you apart as a digital marketer (for example)?”
  • “How have you used your best strengths to achieve your company’s goals?”
  • “Walk me through the first five things you would do if you got this job” (Forbes).
  • “How have you implemented similar solutions in the past?”

When multiple interviewers meet with the candidate–not necessarily all at once–that will give you a clearer perspective of whether that person is a good fit for your team, says Harvard Business Review. They’ll each bring insightful questions to the table if they’ve prepared well.


Give Candidates a Test Run

If you believe a candidate is a great fit, give her or him a chance to prove themselves! Ask them to complete an exercise that will help demonstrate whether she or he’s the best one for the job. Choose an assignment that requires them to use the high-level skills you want in your new hire, yet won’t take an unreasonable amount of time. E-commerce company Zulily gives software engineer candidates a take-home coding assignment that reveals their ability to write code, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.


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Consider a longer trial period, too. An increasing number of smaller companies are using a temp-to-permanent hiring processes. Here are a few examples of what that can look like:

  • The company Joor, which manages a wholesale e-commerce marketplace, hired seven temporary workers for a month and hired three of them, who proved to be outstanding employees, says The New York Times.
  • Software company Entelo gives prospective hires contract work over a period of two or more weeks, The New York Times adds.


Act Fast

Job candidates hold a lot of the cards in today’s market since they have a plethora of options. They expect hiring managers to treat them with consideration every step of the way. Here’s how to do that:

  • After the interview, let the candidate know what to expect next. Set a date with the hiring team for the next stage of the process, so it doesn’t drag out indefinitely.
  • Stay in close communication from the moment the candidate submits a resume to the moment you make a job offer, sharing a quick note by email to let the candidate know what stage the interview process is at.
  • If you find a stellar candidate, make an offer quickly–otherwise, there’s a good chance that person will accept another position or lose interest.


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Remember, analysis paralysis causes too many organizations to lose prime candidates. You could keep interviewing and analyzing forever, but that won’t necessarily bring you more qualified people.

In addition to these tips, be conversational as well, sharing information about yourself and the company. After all, you want to establish a strong rapport with the candidate so she or he is able to imagine themselves working for you. Candidates want to know what made you accept an offer to work there, what keeps you there, and how they can succeed with the company as well. They also want to understand your management style, how they’ll be challenged, and how they can grow there. They need to understand how they’ll fit in just as much as you need to know how they’ll impact your team.

A well-designed interview process will impress your star candidates, showing them that your organization is a place where they’d love to work. From your digital marketing to your follow-up communication after interviews, show candidates that you value them with these key strategies. While there’s no guarantee that they’ll accept your offer, they’ll definitely have a positive impression of you and your company. As you impress your star candidates–regardless of whether you ultimately hire them–they’ll spread the word among their peers, and you’ll gain a reputation as a top-notch employer where the best talent dreams of working.

About The Author

Melissa Pacheco // Executive Recruiter
Clients have called Melissa the “Recruiter Extraordinaire” for going beyond the job description to focus on what clients' want to contribute and accomplish, and helping them hire great e-Commerce and Digital Marketers who can make a real difference in their organizations. Her goal is… Learn More
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The important thing for hiring managers is to understand that they are conducting a job interview and not a criminal trial. If you are interviewing someone for a job, you can decide not to hire them if you have reason to suspect he is dishonest or not right for the position. Some hiring managers feel the need to prove something beyond reasonable doubt.


Will be good to try if I ever switch jobs. Luckily I got my job from a friend of the family!

Michelle Barry

This is actually true! We need to get the hiring team on the same page when it comes to this. Some people in the hiring team focus on the wrong parts and instead focus on the goal. Thank you for the informative and interesting blog!

Juan Martinez
Juan Martinez

Let candidates know what they can expect: A pet peeve of many job seekers is that they are left “hanging” after an interview, or they are promised follow-up that never comes. If the candidate is a good fit, be clear about what the next steps will be. And if the candidate is not a good fit? “Always end the interview on a positive note, but be genuine,”. “Don’t tell the candidate to call you if you don’t mean it.”

Cameron Dana
Cameron Dana

These are great points to follow for the hiring process. They definitely show that the administration cares more about the company’s growth and working as a team over task oriented work and cultural fits. It also shows that the hiring managers are being real with their clients and telling them what to expect in this line of work.

Dave Williams

The information presented in this article is so detailed, and I strongly agree that a well-designed interview process will look impressive if the 5 steps in the interview process can be implemented properly. In addition to aiming to get prospective workers reliably, this will make companies appear different and organized from other companies.

Elise De Saint Didier

It’s nice to see an article on how hiring managers can improve the interview process. Having direct information, trials and quick time offers are great ways to make candidates feel validated and interested in the company. Thanks for sharing.

Olivia Hart

Assessing the candidates and their greatest strengths and ultimate goals for the company are very crucial. Getting straight down to business with an open discussion and structured deadlines is very key for any business.


Now this is a change, giving the interviewers tips at their own game. I do believe this is definitely necessary because many interviewers are lost in the old fashioned way of conducting interviews and therefore are turning of candidates and losing great talent.

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