Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Interview Process - Step 2, Screening Candidates

Step 2 – Screening candidates…

This is where having a receptionist, office manager, HR person, or basically anyone non-technical can come in handy during the interview process. Why non-technical? Because if you can hand a list of screening questions to someone who doesn’t have a frame-of-reference, then you can just have the screener ask the questions and record answers. Or if you’d prefer, hand them questions and answers. Having a phone system with a few bells and whistles can improve this a step further – get the screener to forward copies of the phone calls to you so that you can review the responses on your own schedule (say for instance, at 2am on a weekend – like when I’m writing this post).

Couldn’t having a non-technical screener be unfair to the candidate?

I tend to think it’s more fair for everyone. Why? Well, primarily because your screener is likely to have less bias. Having no frame of reference, all they know is what to ask and maybe what the right answer is. You might also help the candidate by having the screener explain who they are and what the purpose behind the screening call is. It might help put your candidate at ease knowing that A) it’s a low-risk interface and B) we’re being as objective and as measurable as possible during this first round.

What if the candidate asks probing technical questions to get perspective on the questions?

Well, if you’ve put together good questions they should be the type of questions that have real yes or no answers – questions where you only have 1 possible “right answer”. If the candidate is asking probing questions, just have the screener reiterate that they are simply recording your responses for the hiring manager.

What kinds of questions should I be asking?

I think I'll save that for tomorrow.