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Advice For Improving Your Hiring and Interview Process

Ryan Garaygay

VP of Engineering at Acquia

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Problem

The interviewing process can be a whirlwind. Whether you are hiring 2 people or 20 it's best practice to have a system in place that eliminates bias, tracks all of the candidates, as well as maintaining documents that record the interviewers' scores and responses. Below I give advice on all of these areas.

Actions taken

Using Lever as a tracking system

"This is a tool we use to help with applicant tracking and interactions."

This is a tool we use to help with applicant tracking and interactions. While I won't emphasize much over the details of this particular software we chose, we put value in it in capturing what we as an organization are looking to keep track of: the applicants, our observations, our conclusions, and our ratings of the applicant. We can then review all of this information to make an informed decision about hiring. Not just during the duration of the search for the role but to review it to further refine our process later on.

Writing it all down

"I stress the importance of interviewers writing down observations rather than conclusions."

I stress the importance of interviewers writing down observations rather than conclusions. Our senses gather a lot of information, more than our brain can process. So it is better to capture what you see, hear, and feel during an interview than to make conclusions right away. Take notes and give yourself some time to reflect before making up your mind about an applicant.

Reduce bias

"I personally don't look at resumes before meeting somebody (unless I did the resume screening of course)."

I personally don't look at resumes before meeting somebody (unless I did the resume screening of course). I go in an interview not knowing someone's background or experience, go through my list of questions with the candidate - everybody gets the same set of prepared questions, and I tailor some follows as I get a sense of that person based off of their answers. Nevertheless we put an effort to make sure candidate get evaluated equally in terms of question difficulty. Once the interview is over, I make a first conclusion about the applicant. After, I take my notes with my conclusion and place it alongside their resume. Then I make a second conclusion with the information from both the interview and their resume. In rare cases where they are very disjointed, I would keep that in mind and see if others might have the same conclusion and if it's compelling enough raise it as a concern and maybe something we can evaluate further through reference checks.

Lessons learned

  • Using a recruitment tool like Lever can be a little time consuming at first. However, my team and I agreed it would be worth the extra bandwidth. It is an excellent resource that allowed us to have access to the same information about an applicant, thus putting us all on the same page.
  • Looking at somebody's resume after rather than before an interview is easier said than done. More so, there are some people who don't agree with it because they want to know that information for the interview. However, I find that if an applicant gets the same score with different interviewers - and this is the value of having two interviewers - and they have arrived at the same conclusion than the delayed process of evaluating a resume should be celebrated.

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Ryan Garaygay

VP of Engineering at Acquia


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