Emerging Team

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Creating a great recruitment process

Matt Buckland

Head of Talent @ Lyst

Before you start interviewing candidates for an open role, you should map out what questions will need to be asked and how you'll structure the interviews to get those questions answered.

Key takeaways

  • Consistent interviewing leads to better candidate evaluation;
  • Ensure candidates feel good about your company post interview;
  • Be empathetic to better understand what is important to a candidate.

Each interview you carry out should have a distinct purpose and focus. It’s crucial that your interviewers are briefed on what their session should cover, and understand the role and requirements. They should also be familiar with the CV before the interview begins so that they can focus their time on questions, not background context that they should already know. Planning the interview process lets you create a challenging question set. Easy questions separate good candidates from bad, but they don't separate great candidates from good. Hard questions give the best signal. If candidates get nothing but easy questions, they may think your team is weak or the challenges are small. By consistently executing the same interview for a given role, you will save time, grow stronger at evaluating the skill set and learn to discern differences in how candidates approach the questions. Plus, your team will appear organised and professional, and the candidate won’t be left wondering why you all asked him the same questions. However, the biggest benefit of creating a consistent interview process is that it allows you to immediately set timeline expectations with your candidate, and keep a quick pace. Not moving fast enough is an unacceptable reason for missing out on a candidate.

Creating a positive candidate experience

The keys to a great candidate experience are:

  • Set clear expectations about the role and interview process.
  • Be as accommodating as possible when it comes to scheduling. Make sure the candidate is comfortable when in your office.
  • If the interview is your first time meeting, introduce yourself with a quick bio so the candidate has context.
  • Show a genuine interest in understanding and addressing what’s important to the candidate. A candidate’s questions will give you the best insight into his motivations and concerns.
  • Follow-up within 1-2 days of each interview. Even if you haven’t reached a decision yet, let the candidate know you are working on it.
  • Share your enthusiasm for your company.
  • It’s illegal to ask about: marital status, sexual preference, children, age, nationality and ethnic origin. But you can ask a candidate if he/she has the correct paperwork to legally work in the UK, and you can ask for evidence or documentation.
  • No matter how well he performs, every candidate should leave feeling good about the interviews and have a positive impression of your team and company.

The First Stage of the Interview Process

Before you meet your candidate, strive to understand what kinds of factors the candidate will be considering. This empathetic approach will help you to better identify what is most important to this person and also help you choose what aspects of your culture to reflect that will resonate with a particular candidate.

Why do people want to work in a startup?

  • To work with and for amazing people
  • Identification with a company mission
  • Love for the product
  • Growth opportunities
  • To work with cutting edge tools and technologies
  • Independence, autonomy
  • Creative and diverse projects
  • Impact and influence
  • Learning by doing
  • Help define a company and its culture
  • Learning beyond role scope about how to build a business
  • Camaraderie and fun
  • The sense of ownership

Things you should learn about your candidate during the first screen

What is important to this person. What motivates her? This tells you what recruiting assets to highlight, and is the key to closing them later. Examples include: type of work, environment, team size, company mission, caliber of colleagues, technologies, benefits or learning opportunities. What does your candidate love to do. What is she best at? Why does your company interest your candidate. What does she want to contribute? Why did she leave her last job? Understand the themes of her previous work, projects and accomplishments. What are the things she wants to cal out as achievements? Would the same things be good in your company? Her competency for the role. Do you think she can excel, and will your team be better off for working with this person? What are her compensation expectations? If she is misaligned with your ideas, it’s best to share your compensation philosophy and proposition upfront to see if it’s worth keep conversations going.

Matt Buckland

Head of Talent @ Lyst

Over fourteen years experience in the design and implementation of Human Resources and Recruitment strategies, from sourcing initiatives, recruitment process re-engineering, HRIS selection and implementation, Reward and Recognition, Performance Management and OKR implementation, usage of a metrics led approach and building teams of recruiters that drive up quality and drive down costs. I have successfully recruited for many areas - software development, trading, financial services and sales.

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