TIIP — The Ideal Interview Process

Do we live in an ideal world ? ‘Yes and No’ both could be answer depending upon situation and surrounding.

Interview is a process we all deal in our life. I have been on both sides of table (Interviewer and Candidate) many a times. I was thinking what could we possibly do better to streamline process.

In my opinion, interview process varies from company to company and inside a company, it varies from interviewer to interviewer.

NOTE: These are my own viewpoints and solely mine. I am not representing any particular company’s process. Secondly, I will be taking technical interviews as example.

The Fitment screening

Before actually calling anyone for interview, there should be some fitment screening. It is like match making based on applicant Resume, Linkedin Profile, refer letter, tweets, facebook updates, github or any other medium if you have. This usually happens in companies. Problem here is everyone claims they have done everything in same project. Do not forget 20–80 rule; it applies everywhere. It is very hard to differentiate but still you can go with your gut feeling or I would suggest —

General discussion call

In my opinion, someone who understands domain must talk to candidate for few minutes (10–15 usually) and they should never let impression that it is an interview. Have a healthy discussion and clear your doubts which you have from point 1. Ask very basic questions and candidate’s ability to answer will help you conclude better than reading resume. Even sometimes few brilliant people can not express everything you are looking for in a resume.

“Now things become little interesting and scope of improvement starts”

ROUND 1

Your takeaway from his round should be :

“What is the candidate good at” not the opposite

Depending on company, first round starts here and it could be telephonic, video call OR f2f. It does not matter. Few companies prefer to give some assignment and interviewer looks for perfect solution. Do you think it is fair ? Rough day of someone and you could possibly lose someone talented who could not do the problem statement which is not directly related to your work anyways. Piece of advice is :

Everyone knows something which you do not, so do not bombard candidate with questions of your area of expertise in this round.

You are talking to him/her because they could be good fitment for position you have. My suggestion here is understand candidate strength n weakness here and ask him questions around work they have done. Direct result of this is candidate will feel comfortable with your process and it will boost their confidence. Ask questions which you know in depth. If someone claims they know it very well, then you should dig deep and validate their claim. Interviewer should handover his judgement to HR —

‘strong yes ( 2 ) ’ , ‘yes ( 1 ) ’, ‘neutral(0)’, ‘no (-1) ’, ‘strong no (-2) ’

Round 2

Many companies will simply say ‘NO’ to candidates based on round 1 performance and which could be misleading because of many factors. Your interviewer was too harsh, problem statement was irrelevant, he had a rough day, he drank too much water before and could not concentrate!

My suggestion is “A second opinion always helps”

Your takeaway from his round should be :

“Common between Open position and Candidate”

Second interviewer must not know any feedback from first interviewer. He should meet him with very fresh perspective. Here interviewer should grill candidate and validate their skill-set and what we need. You should ask questions for the position you have but the context should be what candidate has done in past. You can not judge someone solely on image processing where they are damn good at database optimisation where you suck! Here again you should try to gather positive aspect of candidate.

Interviewer should handover his judgement to HR —

‘strong yes ( 2 ) ’ , ‘yes ( 1 ) ’,‘neutral(0)’, ‘no (-1) ’, ‘strong no (-2) ’

Round 3 ..n
Every Interviewer must have clear understanding of what is he/she judging

Now depends on role and company; Tech position usually has many rounds. Unless last 2 rounds claim ‘strong no’ you should go for next round. Takeaway from this round should be :

“Capability of candidate on direct area of job description irrespective of he has worked or not”

You should questions relevant to job description irrespective of he has worked or not. Here you are judging his/her thinking capability, theoretical knowledge, breadth on topics and handling adverse situation.

Depending on your requirement, your organisation structure and other aspects you might have many rounds each covering different aspect of JD.

Interviewer should handover his judgement to HR —

‘strong yes ( 2 ) ’ , ‘yes ( 1 ) ’,‘neutral(0)’, ‘no (-1) ’, ‘strong no (-2) ’

Calculations
  • Sum up the scores from last 2 rounds
  • if you encounter -4, sum up last 3 scores, if it is still -4 then there is need to worry and it depends on your urge. My advice is do not proceed here.
  • If it is positive then convey this to next interviewer if any OR prepare for offer letter
  • If it is neutral, sum up last 3. If it is still neutral or negative, do not proceed
  • If it is negative sum up last 3 scores, if it is still -ive then there is need to worry and it depends on your urge. My advice is consult with all interviewers together OR do not proceed

Repeat step 3 unless you are done with candidate ( Hire or Process over )

At last, sum up all scores,

  • It is negative -> Consult or Do not hire
  • It is neutral -> definitely consult
  • It is positive -> If possible hire

I am not claiming this is right process, it is just my observation and a fair policy I believe.

Do share if you agree, leave comments if you want to contribute or have a question, point grammatical mistakes and ping me.

Thanks!

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