Figuring out an interview schedule can be enough to drive anyone mad. Interviewers and candidates are both busy, and availability changes often. There are a lot of moving parts, and you need the stars to align just so, in order to find a mutually available time. And the sooner, the better: your hiring manager needed the position filled yesterday, and you don’t want to lose your candidates to a competitive offer. You need to build a more efficient interview scheduling process, and these tips can help you do it.
1. Sync with your hiring manager
Sync with your hiring manager to choose interviewers, how often they can interview, and what times are typically best. On average, small and medium sized businesses will need to hold 15 phone screens and 4.7 onsite interviews to make a single hire. Consider whether your interview team would prefer one interview per day for a week, or several interviews per day over a shorter time span. Understanding the interview team’s preferences upfront can reduce the risk of needing to reschedule interviews later.
2. Have a pool of trained interviewers available
Provide interviewer training well before you need to, so multiple people are available to interview at a moment’s notice. This can provide each candidate with more scheduling options, and can prevent you from needing to reschedule if something comes up for an interviewer. Prepare interview kits with interview questions, skill assessments, interviewer instructions, and an interview feedback form. This ensures that all candidates receive the same experience—regardless of who interviews them. In addition to providing a consistent and positive candidate experience, you can keep your interview process moving along so you can get an offer out faster.
3. Split phone interviews with your hiring manager
In many organizations, the recruiter will handle the initial phone screen with the candidate, before introducing them to the hiring manager. However, top-tier and passive candidates may need more selling, and less screening‚ which the hiring manager is better equipped to do. Team up to knock out your phone interviews faster, provide more scheduling options to candidates, and make a lasting impression on your top prospects. Just be sure you both use the same interview questions so that you can evaluate all candidates on the same criteria.
4. Allow candidates to self-schedule
With a meeting scheduling tool, like Lever Easy Book or Calendly, candidates can book their own one-on-one interviews from the interviewer’s available time slots. This helps your talent acquisition team save time by eliminating the back-and-forth that so often takes place between candidates and interviewers during scheduling. It also eliminates the risk of double-booking if your team’s schedule changes before your candidate responds with their own availability.
5. Block off time with interviewers
When you know the interview schedule that will work best for your team, hold that time on their calendars. Maybe that means blocking off an entire day for your team to conduct onsite interviews, or perhaps it means blocking off 10am-1pm each day for a week. However, it should be communicated with your team that they will need to be flexible to meet candidate’s needs. Passive candidates who already have full-time jobs may need to meet outside of your team’s preferred hours.
6. Send calendar invitations right away
Once an interview is booked, send calendar invitations to your interview team and candidates right away so they don’t double-book. In addition, send your interviewers the candidate’s resume and the appropriate interview kit, so that everything they will need on the day of the interview is available. Send your candidates an interview confirmation email with all of the important details, including their itinerary, your address, and travel information. Doing so will help both interviewers and candidates arrive to the interview on-time, and prepared, so their best self can shine through.
7. Leave a buffer between consecutive interviews
If your interviewers are meeting multiple candidates on a single day, leave a buffer period between them. For instance, if you have a 30 minute interview at 9am, schedule the next one after 10am. This gives the interviewer time to submit feedback, and prepare for their next interview. It also allows for the interview to run slightly over, without causing one candidate to be cut short, or causing all interviews to run late for the remainder of the day.
As with other aspects of recruiting, nailing your interview schedule may require some experimentation and optimization to get it right. As your hiring needs and team evolve, so too may your interview schedule process. Keep tweaking it to make it more efficient. You may begin with these tips, but find that some work better than others—and some don’t work at all. Every organization is unique, and will need to find their own formula for success.
To learn more best practices for building a more efficient interview process, download our eBook: Top Interview Tips: The Employer’s Essential Handbook.