Tips for Scheduling Job Interviews
Scheduling job interviews is no one’s favourite task. It’s hard to make everyone happy, administratively burdensome (unless you are using a tool like Interviewer Assistant) and adds no value whatsoever…right? Well, let’s back up a moment:
- The interview scheduling invitation can be the first point of contact for a future employee.
- The interview scheduling invite can be the first point of contact for the top candidates who are not hired…but who you may want to hire in the future.
- It’s the first (and maybe the last) chance to demonstrate the competency of the recruiting or Human Resources function for new and existing employees.
- It’s a great chance to impress or disappoint your hiring panel - typically made up of important people in the organization.
So, yeah scheduling interviews can be about more than booking appointments.
So here are a few of my tips on how to keep this process flowing as smoothly as possible:
- Determine up front what types of interviews are an option – scheduling interviews with out of state candidates is easier if phone or video interviews are an alternative for your interview panel.
- Be clear in the job advertisement on how interviews will be scheduled (and ideally when - typically a date range is the most you can promise).
- Overestimate how long the interview will take AND schedule breaks between them. If you have an interview run long and eat into any break time the panel needs, you could set the schedule off for the remainder of the day and make the panel grumpy. A key question to answer if possible is – will the panel want to evaluate candidates after each interview or at the end of the process. My experience is that any panel that says they want to wait until the end of the process has probably never interviewed before and will inevitably need some post interview assessment time (either way, it won’ t hurt to build a few minutes in for it).
- Plan for bathroom/coffee breaks and lunch breaks for the panel. Have you ever had to conduct an interview where panel members are leaving mid-interview to go to the bathroom?
- Ensure candidates know how far in advance to arrive to do things like; find parking, fill out consent or disclosure forms, find the bathrooms (note how that keeps coming up? – nervous people go to the bathroom a lot).
- Prepare for technology problems – if you are scheduling phone or video interviews, assume you may need some extra time to make them work. Also, initiate the call from your end, not the candidate’s. If you have an interview end late but have a set call-in time for the candidate, you now have stress and a compromised interview schedule. Let the candidate know you will be calling and provide a range of 15 minutes or so. Where possible book these types of interviews for after coffee or lunch break…it can buy you added time to setup that nasty spider phone or whatever you are using (just untangling those cords can take 5 minutes).
- Start your scheduling with reasonable lead time. What I’m saying here is that it’s a little unrealistic to expect everyone on your scheduling list to be able to come in for an interview two days from the day you invite them. People may need to make arrangements for time off work or child care, etc. I’ve always found a week is ample time and in some cases 3 or 4 days can work. You can make shorter time frames work if you use an online scheduling tool (see the next tip).
- And last but not least, for the sheer ease, convenience and scheduling speed - use an online interview scheduling tool. No one (and I mean no one) wants to conduct this process over the phone anymore. Creating an online interview schedule and mass emailing it to your candidates to self-schedule is easier and faster for you and them. An added benefit is that you can include all the documents and info they may need to prepare for the interview without any of the typical back and forth phone tag. If you are using Interviewer Assistant, your candidates will also get automatic confirmation notices (customized by you) as well as the chance to schedule reminder notices if they like. You also get an easy to use process to track their activity and generate day of interview schedules.
These are just a few tips to make your interview scheduling a little easier but you may find that I’ve left something out…what works best in one recruitment environment may not be best in another. If you have tips to share, please feel free to do so in the comments section.
To learn more about how Interviewer Assistant can make your interview scheduling easier, click here: Interviewer Assistant