Whether you’re a recruiter, hiring manager or job seeker, chances are you’ve suffered from the side effects of unstructured hiring. These can include confusion, frustration and annoyance, and you’ll probably find they show up right after you participate in an interview and begin to question what exactly just happened—and why. The cause is common: a lack of alignment between recruiters, hiring managers and interviewers. But luckily, we’ve got the antidote: structured hiring!
By taking a structured approach to hiring, recruiters and hiring managers define exactly what they’re looking for and how to assess candidates for those qualities. Read on for a simple six-step framework for structured hiring that you can easily implement at your organization.
1. Role kick-off
The entire structured hiring framework relies on the role kick-off. During this stage, the recruiter and hiring manager partner to accomplish these three tasks:
- Align on the business objectives of the job
- Define the skills, traits and qualifications that will make someone successful in the job
- Agree to the roles and responsibilities for the search
During the role kick-off, be sure to consider what someone would need to achieve during their first year on the job to be successful in the role. After you’ve decided a few key objectives, consider which skills, traits and qualifications would be necessary for someone to achieve this. Your list will probably include a mix of traits (well-defined abilities like knowledge of a particular type of software or coding language), personality characteristics (like action-oriented or team player), and qualifications (like degrees, certificates or particular career milestones).
Set the foundation for a solid working relationship by making sure both recruiters and hiring managers are crystal clear on what’s expected of them at every stage. Generally, the recruiter’s job is to guide the process and create an effective structure for success, while the hiring manager is the subject matter expert for the role.
2. Scorecard definition.
Once you’ve held your initial kick-off meeting, you can dig deeper into what will make someone successful in the role and create the profile of the ideal candidate. At Greenhouse, we use “scorecards” to keep track of the skills, traits and qualifications someone will need to have to be successful in the upcoming role. These attributes are what the interview process will be designed to test and verify for each candidate. Your scorecard doesn’t need to be anything fancy. You can simply put together a simple table, like the one below that shows what a scorecard might look like for a sales manager role.
3. Interview planning
Now that you’ve got a clear idea of what you’re looking for in a candidate, you can begin to plan what the interview process will look like. You should strive to achieve a few outcomes from interview planning: uncover candidates’ relevant experiences and capabilities, measure all candidates against the same framework, deliver a consistent candidate experience, and facilitate participation by the right internal stakeholders.
The best way to ensure you accomplish all these goals is to spend time partnering with your hiring manager to answer these questions:
- What are we testing for?
- When should we test it?
- Who should test it?
Keep in mind that it’s generally a good idea to test for essentials and easily screenable things (like certifications or work authorization) early on in the process, and focus the later stages on traits that are better assessed in person.
4. Interview kit creation
At this stage, it’s time to put all that hard work from Steps 1 to 3 together by creating your interview kit. An “interview kit” is a framework that informs interviewers about which skills and traits they should be assessing and shows them which questions to ask.
We recommend using interview kits for two big reasons: first, as an interviewer, coming up with good questions on the spot is hard! Second, an interview kit provides a consistent framework for assessing candidates. This gives you better data for making hiring decisions at the end of the process.
When creating your interview kit, you’ll probably find it useful to take all the skills, traits and qualifications you defined in the earlier stages and pair them with different types of questions. Then you can also decide which of your existing employees would be best suited to conduct the interviews. Generally it’s helpful to ask employees who already have a similar role or are particularly skilled in the areas they’re assessing.
5. Sourcing and interviewing
Candidate sourcing strategies and interviewing are essential parts of the structured hiring process, though we imagine these are the areas where most recruiters and hiring managers already have the most experience. Our main piece of advice during this stage is to make sure you execute on the interview kits and requirements you have already built in the previous stages. And if you discover that something isn’t working, go ahead and call another recruiter/hiring manager alignment meeting. There’s nothing wrong with taking stock of your progress and adapting if necessary!
Take a moment to pat yourself on the back—you’ve almost made it to the end of the process! Now it’s time to make a hiring decision, and the best way to do that is by holding a round-up meeting with key stakeholders.
Before you hold the meeting, sync with your hiring manager to determine who the decision-makers are and who will have veto power. Then, when you’re actually ready to hold the meeting, begin by ensuring you have feedback from all participants. Go through all the attributes where there was little ambiguity (i.e., all interviewers pretty much agreed in their assessments). Then, go through each attribute with mixed feedback and let everyone have the chance to share their insights. Finally, compare scorecards across candidates and decide who comes out on top. And if everything goes well, you now have a decision about whom you’d like to make an offer to!
A few final thoughts
You now have a framework that will foster a better experience for recruiters, hiring managers, interviewers and candidates—not to mention better hiring outcomes and a more efficient interview process. If you’re not ready to implement structured hiring on an organizational level just yet, why not start small? Choose a single role and partner with an interested hiring manager. Give it a try and let us know how it works out for you!
Looking to learn more about structured hiring and pick up a few resources that will guide scorecard definition and interview kit creation? Download the Structured Hiring 101 eBook!