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How to Improve Your Hiring Process

Hiring

27 September, 2020

Himanshu Gahlot, Director of Engineering at Lambda School, explains how he improved the hiring process at his new company by applying the knowledge he acquired working on different teams with different hiring processes in place.

Problem

When I joined my current company I became responsible for hiring new people. I soon realized that the interviewing process was not streamlined. As a consequence, it was not clear who would test a candidate and on what competencies, there was no question bank or guidelines to evaluate answers, and interviewers would improvise often duplicating the questions. To improve our hiring process I decided to apply the knowledge I acquired working on different teams at my previous company.
 

Actions taken

Developing pre-briefs and de-briefs
 

Initially, we didn’t run any briefs before and after the interviews and instead we would discuss things on Slack. I advocated for de-briefs following the interview to discuss hiring decisions and thus formalize the decision-making process. Also, I introduced pre-briefs where we talked about who would serve on the interview panel, how we would assign competencies to each interviewer, etc.
 

Creating templates on how to write feedback
 

I realized that a lot of the interview feedback submitted was not fact-based. A lot of it was simply overly emotional or biased and would have subjective impressions of candidates. Instead, the feedback should be objective and based upon candidate quotes and assessment of competencies. . For example, instead of saying, “I feel good about this person” or “This person did well”, the interviewer should elaborate on their assigned competencies and provide pro/con arguments. I would instruct an interviewer to take notes and if possible note down verbatim what a candidate said, and if not, summarize a candidate’s answers. After writing a summary of their observation they should clearly specify if they propose hiring or no hiring.
 

Starting off a question bank
 

I started compiling questions for the question bank -- both for the coding and the behavioral part of the interview. That way we could ensure several things: we would be able to have a standardized set of questions and thus comparable evaluation, avoid duplication of questions and also, be able to ask all the important questions.
 

Other things
 

Besides, I introduced shadowing which allowed me to include more and more people on our interview team who were available for interviews. Recently I also gave a talk on how to conduct interviews and also completed documentation on how to improve the hiring process.
 

Lessons learned

  • You have to standardize the interview process and ensure an unbiased evaluation of a candidate. The interview itself is the first point of encounter for a candidate and the best “shop window” for your company.
  • If your interviewing process is a mess, you will start receiving bad ratings on Glassdoor and else and that will impact your ability to attract the best talent. This is why you have to make sure to provide the best candidate experience during your interviews.


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