With companies vying to be Glassdoor Best Places to Work, it’s easy to lose sight of something equally important: being a great place to interview. After all, your interview process is how you find the people that will love working at your company, and your candidate experience says a lot about your employer brand.
This year, we came out with the list of the Best Places to Interview. And, we sat down with representatives from two of the winning companies, DSW Shoes and Cerner Corporation, along with the COO and Co-Founder of HireVue (a provider of on-demand interviewing technology) for an engaging discussion on how to create a great interview process. You can watch the webinar recording or read on to find out just how these companies have created top-notch interview processes.
1. Brand the experience.
The interview process is just as much a part of your company’s employer brand as your recruitment marketing materials. Each and every panelist mentioned building the company’s brand into its interview process, striving to ensure consistency across multiple locations.
Angie Stanland, VP of Global Recruiting & Associate Services at Cerner Corporation, strives to make candidates feel the same as customers. Candidates are given a personalized experience and the company “sweats every detail,” including leaving a hand-signed letter in candidate hotel rooms the night before an interview. Cerner’s recruiting teams in 13 countries report to headquarters and receive training in behavioral interviewing.
At DSW Shoes, customer engagement is critical, and therefore so is candidate engagement. Andy Keno, Field Recruiter at DSW engages candidates by asking about their journey through work, finding out what they are most passionate about and where they feel most successful. To create consistency across its 481 stores, DSW provides online learning classes and training for managers at regional distribution centers. It also keeps the interview process fun and on-brand by asking “if you were a shoe, what kind of shoe would you be?”
For more oddball interview questions, check out our list of them!
HireVue taps into its passion of empowering people to find their next adventure by using its own software in the interview process. Chip Luman, COO & Co-Founder at HireVue, shared how every candidate gets the same initial on-demand video interview, creating consistency as well giving candidates a preview of the product they’ll be working on.
2. Measure success.
How do you know when you’ve got a great interview process, and how do you know what to improve? Creating a great candidate experience requires a continuous focus on quality. Cerner Corporation uses candidate feedback surveys and obtains feedback from interviewers themselves. They also conduct hands-on observation, a practice used by DSW as well.
Because managing interviews across hundreds of locations is a challenge, DSW aims to get to each store every quarter for observation and training. Keno shared that DSW also looks at Glassdoor interview reviews on a regular basis, and reviews data with the appropriate managers and supervisors to find out what needs to be improved.
Like Cerner, HireVue uses candidate surveys and interview observation. In addition, the company looks at first year retention and performance as indicators of a successful interview process.
3. Engage differently.
Every company has its own way of doing things, and interviewing for culture fit is a great way to ensure that hires will turn into happy, productive employees. But cultural fit can’t trump professional skills, and each company must find a balance of both for every hire. While learning about candidates’ hard skills, Cerner Corporation uses behavioral interviewing methods to gauge how they deal with factors important to the culture like ambiguity, stress and change.
DSW uses a PeopleAnswers (now Infor Talent Science) questionnaire it developed to screen for key cultural attributes specific to each position. Keno said that this process of screening for culture resulted in a significant reduction in employee turnover. For some positions, such as store associates, culture fit is more important than hard skills, because many of the necessary skills can be taught on the job.
HireVue strives to give every candidate a realistic job preview, enabling them to gain clarity around the organization and the role. He said it’s important to keep the cultural traits aligned with the business strategy so that the culture doesn’t become outdated. “The closer you [the employee] are to the customer,” he said, “the more you have to live and breathe the company’s culture. The employee is your brand.”
4. Embrace transparency.
Candidates know that no company is perfect, and no job is perfect. Because the interview process is a two-way street, it’s important that employers be as transparent as possible at about what it’s like to work at your company.
At DSW, transparency means giving candidates an accurate picture of what the jobs entail, and educating employees on the impact they can have on others by sharing on social media and writing reviews on Glassdoor.
Cerner Corporation has a “no surprises” rule, and doesn’t shy away from any question. The recruiting process starts with the recruiter giving the candidate a vivid description of the role and life at Cerner. Interviewers are encouraged to allow candidates to ask questions so that every hire is sure Cerner is a place they want to be.
HireVue encourages all employees to share about their employment experience on social media with its #VueNation hashtag. The interviewing technology also allows more transparency by allowing managers to ask video interview questions. For in-person interviews, they ensure all candidates spend time with peers as well as supervisors, “because that’s what’s ultimately going to close the deal,” said Luman.
5. Communicate effectively!
A top-notch interview process requires effective internal communication in two key areas: hiring decisions and candidate feedback. For HireVue, clearly articulating the role and what good performance looks like allows the hiring team to score candidates on the same criteria. Luman shared that they also use their video interviews to calibrate discrepancies of opinion among interviewers. When collecting and sharing candidate feedback, he said it’s important to hold people accountable for making improvements.
Cerner makes hiring decisions at “data integration sessions” using “talent assessors” who know the role but haven’t met the candidate. This person helps ensure candidates are being evaluated objectively. When it comes to improving the interview process, Stanland shared that Cerner ensures accountability through surveys and interviewer feedback. She said that not everyone is a fit for interviewing, and that sometimes the most effective thing to do is to remove someone from an interview process.
Like Cerner, DSW also has meetings to discuss candidates and discrepancies of opinion among interviewers. Keno said that it’s best to let the hiring manager make the decision rather than the recruiter. After reviewing Glassdoor every week, DSW shares praise with stores in which the interviews are going well, and inquires into negative feedback so that processes can be improved.