In this hot market, the pace is rapid and the candidates go quickly! If you’re banking on the great talent from your hand-selected, candidate pool, you’ll need to keep them moving while vetting them thoroughly.

How can you structure your interview process to keep the flow and still make the right hire?

Establish expectations

You’ve identified who you want to talk to – make sure you control the when and how. Take a calendar and circle the day you’d like your ideal candidate to start. From there you can anticipate at least a 2-week period from when you’d make the offer — and continue working backwards from there. How many steps do you anticipate taking the candidates through? Ask the candidates for their availability, and let them know when to expect to hear from you so that things can go as smoothly as possible. The old saying’s true: a failure to plan is a plan to fail.

Know your keys

What are your keys for this role? You can often group those bullet points in your job description into categories of Must Haves and Nice to Haves. Structure your questions around the Must Haves during the interview process so that you don’t lose focus to the ancillaries. Most viable candidates are gainfully employed and taking time out of their regular workday to talk to you. They may even have other potential employers pounding at their door. Time is of the essence, so be efficient and effective in your conversations!

Keep conversations conversational

Remember, even for highly technical roles, you’re still hiring a person who should fit well with your company’s mission and existing people. How well do you feel you really know your candidates? Are your keys too focused in one area? Are your questions broad enough to cover their experience, conceptual understanding, work style, and motivations?

Also importantly, how well do they know you and understand your company? It’s a two-way road in an effective interview. Both sides will want to feel mutual excitement to work together at the end of the process!

Double check and Third-party check your gut feelings

As much as you want to press that big, green button – don’t forget to check references. Ask specific questions of former supervisors and colleagues regarding the attributes you feel so positively about with your candidates. If their backgrounds are legitimate and they’re echoing the same notes to how you feel, you can be doubly confident in your hire! Fact-check their backgrounds to what the candidates have noted about their professional relationships and achievements.

But before even these final steps – make sure the candidates you’re vetting have spoken with most/all of the team they’ll be working with! Is your crew as enthused as you?

Hiring managers must balance a fast pace with effective methods for interviewing today’s candidates. Act too quickly, and it may result in a bad hire; act too slow, and those great candidates have already accepted an enticing offer elsewhere. It’s additionally effective to differentiate yourselves – keeping candidates engaged may buy you more time to vet them and make sure the fit is truly right!