The COVID-19 pandemic is, amongst many deep global impacts, reshaping the world of work. Many organizations have turned to 100% work-from-home models, using enterprise collaboration tools for the first time and engaging in valuable discussions around employment and labor policies.
Pagefreezer was extremely fortunate in being able to successfully move to a fully-remote workforce. We were also very lucky in that we did not have to make a single layoff, but we did take steps to reduce costs and safeguard our business continuity wherever we could. One of those steps was freezing most of our hiring.
After a couple months of ‘waiting and watching,’ though, we’re confident that we’re still in a strong position. So we’ve decided to repost our open roles and continue to grow!
The Structured Interview Process
Because of the economic impact of the global pandemic, more candidates are on the market than ever before, so we wanted to give you some tips and tricks on how to confidently interview at a company like Pagefreezer—especially if it’s your first time back on the job market in a long time, or you’re getting used to virtual interviews.
There are many ways to interview candidates, but at Pagefreezer we use a Structured Interview Process to provide a fair, consistent, and efficient experience for candidates and interviewers alike.
Have you ever been in an interview where you felt the questions were random or didn’t make sense? Or maybe the interviewers didn’t seem to agree on what they were looking for in a candidate? Or perhaps it seemed as if a hiring manager had some biases that they were struggling to overcome in the moment? A Structured Interview Process seeks to fix some of those systemic problems by having written guides on how to host technical and cultural interviews.
After we post an open role at Pagefreezer—but before we interview the first candidate—our Talent Acquisition team collaborates with a panel of at least three stakeholders for the role, usually members of the leadership team, as well as members of the relevant department. Together, we:
- Create a document that defines the criteria we’re assessing candidates against
- Create and assign the questions we’ll be asking candidates
- Prepare the technical exercise we’ll administer during the interview. Here’s an example of one of our structured technical interview documents for a past Finance role.
We’ve had lots of feedback from candidates—both those we hired and those we did not—saying that they appreciated the process. Our Content Marketing Specialist, George van Rooyen, felt our process differentiated us from the competition saying, “I appreciated the fact that the interview process was so clear and transparent. At the start of the interview, it was explained to me that all candidates were getting the same questions. I liked that, because it showed that the process was fair, and that every question had been carefully considered.”
Finding the Right Fit
Since we know what we’re looking for in the right candidate before we even see a single person, we’re able to confidently assess, score, and make criteria-based and data-supported decisions on why a candidate is, or isn’t, the right fit.
But this doesn’t mean we’re blind to candidates going above and beyond our expectations, or being a better fit for a different role! Malcolm MacIntyre, our new Director of Sales & Sales Development, originally applied for our Enterprise Sales Director position. But in reviewing his application materials, our Talent Acquisition team recognized Malcolm’s leadership experience and started a conversation with him about a different opportunity.
When asked about his candidate experience, Malcolm said, “In the age of applicant tracking softwares and high competition for opportunities, I genuinely felt like Pagefreezer’s team took the time to carefully read my resume and understand my whole career journey to this point, which to me, seemed both uncommon, and very welcome."
Finding, interviewing, and hiring stellar talent while providing an outstanding candidate and interviewer experience is one of Pagefreezer’s ongoing objectives, and using a Structured Interview Process is one of our best strategies to accomplish that goal.
So, how should you prepare for a structured interview process? Here are some tips and tricks:
- Use the STAR method. This interview technique is an HR oldie (but goodie) for a reason. Employers want to hear about past situations you’ve faced, how you handled them, and what the end result was, as this really helps them to learn how you might take on challenges in your new role.
- Distill your answers. If you find yourself rambling, remind yourself of the question asked and keep the time in mind. Employers appreciate a candidate’s ability to clearly and succinctly communicate a message with the appropriate level of detail.
- Get creative. Employers want to see your thought process and problem-solving skills on display. If you’re asked a question you don’t have an answer to, instead of simply saying “that’s never happened to me before,” try “I haven’t run into that before, but if I did, my approach would be…”
- Ask for help. Technical exercises, such as live coding or presentations, can be the most nerve-wracking part of an interview, but try to stay calm. Employers are not looking for perfection. They want to see whether you know when and how to ask for help if you’re struggling. The courage to ask for help is an important attribute!
- Prepare your own questions. Don’t be shy about grilling the interviewers when it’s your turn. Employers want to see candidates who are fully engaged with the process, excited about the opportunity, and thoughtful in finding the right fit for themselves.