Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!

This Week’s Question: Every employer has its own hiring process, and we want to know about yours! How many rounds of interviews do you do, and why? What is each round like? What are you looking for in each interview?

Brandon1. Use the First Interview as a ‘Sales Job’

For engineering/science jobs, we generally have three interviews: an initial 30-minute to one-hour phone interview, a second one-hour phone interview, and a 4-5 hour in-person interview.

Being a small company, [we use] the first interview as much as sales job as an interview. The first interview allows us to introduce the technical side of what we are doing and allows the candidate to ask questions. We do a little resume digging, too. Generally, 50 percent of those who got the first call make it to the next call.

The second call is a technical interview over the phone where candidates are asked a series of technical questions related to their
backgrounds and what they would be doing at Numerate. It is often very clear who doesn’t know their stuff after this interview. Generally, 25-50 percent of those who get the second call get the in-person interview.

The third interview consists of a 4-5-hour in-person interview. Depending on the candidate’s background, the interview will include sessions such as coding, problem solving, resume digging, giving a talk, meeting the executives, etc.

Brandon Allgood, Numerate, Inc.

John2. Get Some Group Input

At my company, we typically do 3-4 rounds of interviews, depending on the seniority of the person being hired. First is a filter phone call, second is an interview with the CEO, and third is a group interview.

The second interview is for me to narrow it down to the 2-3 people whom I would be very happy to work with and whom I feel would be good for the company. The third is the most important interview of them all. This is where the team decides together which person would be the best fit for the company. This is also good for me as the CEO. It shows the team that I trust them, and if things go wrong with that person, they can’t blame the CEO. It’s helped find some amazing people that I wasn’t originally going to hire.

John Rampton,

Mike3. Take the Emotion Out of Your Choice

Over the years, I have found that selecting the best candidate requires a four-step approach. You can use more, but this seems to be the most workable way to do things.

Step 1: Initial interview or screening to determine whether or not the applicant has the profile required to continue. The job requirements, company, and products are covered here. Not too much time spent on pay or other items. Only decision made is whether or not to go to step two.

Step 2: Field day or company day. You bring the applicant in for a whole working day and pair them with a successful employee doing the same job. The employee is there to show the candidate what a typical day is like and evaluate the person as a team member. This
to me is the most vital step. Someone can act for 45 minutes, but they can’t for eight hours.

Step 3: Outside personality testing. This gives you an objective view of the candidate.

Step 4: Final interview. Should be 1-2 hours, covering all aspects of the job, including pay, benefits, etc.

Typically, this whole process will take about two weeks, depending on the situation. In that time, the emotion goes out of the choice and you will be much more objective in your hiring.

Mike Smith, Salescoaching1

guillermo-ortiz4. Play Some ‘Smash Bros.’ — No, Really

Hiring has always been a challenge for us because our culture is incredibly unique. New hires can either be a home run or a complete failure. After several iterations, we ultimately crafted a hiring process that involves two interviews.

The initial interview is more of a screening process where the applicant answers preselected questions via webcam that we can review and rate. The highest-rated applicants then come in for a second interview where we ask more in-depth questions related to the work they will be performing.

After the Q&A, we then have them play a round of “Smash Brothers” on Wii U with their potential coworkers. The objective of the exercise is not to necessarily win the game, but to see how the applicant behaves throughout the process. Some applicants will be silent after being eliminated, while others continue to converse and ask questions.

The final process of the second interview involves the applicant being given 15 minutes to beat the first two levels of a game called “Besiege.” They are not given instructions and have to figure out not only how to play the game, but also how to build a machine capable of beating levels one and two. This part of the interview process lets us see how they deal with stress, and it is always neat to see how different applicants can be with their problem-solving skills. Some applicants will build really complex machines, while others will build very simple ones.

Guillermo Ortiz, Geek Powered Studios

Aaron5. Don’t Rush to Judgment

We’ve put together an interview process that is concise while also providing enough face time to assess the candidate’s character. Culture fit is essential in a small business, and we have to be confident that a new hire will work well with the team. Our interview process consists of four steps:

First, we conduct a general in-person interview to go over the details of the job and review the candidate’s background and experience.

If everyone is still interested, we set up another in-person interview to conduct a behavioral and situational interview. This is where we really look for the character traits that will make a person successful in the role.

The next step is a job shadow. This step not only gives the candidate a clear picture of what working here will be like, but it also gives the team a chance to assess the candidate.

If the candidate gets the team’s nod of approval, they come in for a series of tests. We focus on personality assessments and a sales test called the Devine Assessment. Scoring poorly doesn’t automatically eliminate a candidate, but if the results confirm any red flags we’ve identified then we’ll likely stop pursuing the candidate.

As a team of recruiters, we hold our internal candidates to a very high standard. One pitfall we’re careful to avoid is rushed judgment, either positive or negative. We’ve worked hard to develop a process that gives us plenty of time to evaluate the candidate without dragging out the process and killing the momentum.

Aaron Straughan, West Coast Careers

Miles6. Screen Out, Dive Deep, and Check your Gut

When hiring up, you want to be efficient and systematic. We usually do three interviews. The first is a screening interview, the second is a deeper interview with any involved managers or team members, and the third is a gut check to verify your initial impressions and instincts.

Be sure to leave some time in between interviews. You want your initial impression to wear off before the next interview, so that you’re rational and measured. If you get impressed and re-impressed over and over again, you know you can trust your instincts.

Miles Jennings,

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