The future of interviewing

The goal of any recruitment or hiring process should be to hire the best people for the job in the most efficient, accurate and fair way and with new technologies and software emerging, this is becoming easier to do. The companies that are the quickest to implement and adopt these new technologies will have a greater chance of attracting, hiring and retaining the best talent.

The majority of this technology adoption has happened in the early stages of the hiring process in attraction, application and screening, with numerous companies offering a range of solutions from Applicant Tracking System (ATS) providers to one-way video interviewing and job simulations. These tools help to modernise, streamline and improve the recruitment process. However, when it comes to the delivery of live interviews there are only a few providers. Live interviews, meaning an interview conducted between an interviewer and a candidate in person or over the phone, are still often conducted using pen and paper, with little structure and consistency or capture and use of data.

Why use interview apps

Before extolling the benefits of using an app for live interviews, it is worth explaining what these tools can do and how they are used within a company’s hiring process. There are a few different tools, but they cover the three main elements of the process; setup, run and evaluate.

  • Interviews are set up on an app by inputting interview frameworks, questions detailed scoring criteria as well as the role and role description. Candidates can be added with the time and date of the interview
  • Interviews are then run in person or on the phone. The interview app will display interview introduction, each question and associated probing questions for interviewer to read as the interview is conducted. Some tools also have recording and transcription for this stage
  • Once the interview has been completed, the interviewer is then able to score leave feedback for the candidate, which in some cases gets exported as a report. These scores are then collated into a scoring matrix so comparisons can made.

By putting the setup and running of an interview into an app can improve the efficiency of the process. In the setup, interviews can easily and instantly be edited and duplicated with all of the relevant information readily available to all interviewers in one place. During the interview, if a tool has the ability to audio record or transcribe the interviews, this removes the need for note taking, not only saving time but also allowing the interviewer to focus more on the candidate.

Further time saving and efficiency can be found in the post-interview tasks. Being able to score the candidate’s performance quickly and easily allows for more detailed scoring and more consistency across different interviewers. As most of these tools integrate with ATS or other Human Resource Management Systems (HRIS) these scores only need to be inputted once and can be referred back to in the future.

Once scoring has been completed, writing feedback for candidates typically takes the most time post-interview, however, it is something that all candidates want and is the best way to improve candidate engagement. But yet many companies will either not provide any feedback or at best something very high level or generic, due to a lack of time, especially if it is a high volume campaign. Having an area where feedback can be typed for candidates reduces the time and effort needed to provide feedback and in cases where a tool has audio recording, this feedback becomes more accurate and constructive for candidates. Some tools are also using auto-generated feedback, which will provide basic feedback statements based on the scores given, as a starting point for candidate feedback.

By having all of the scores done digitally, collating and comparing scores of candidates is straightforward with most tools using a scoring matrix to show how each of the candidates performed. This leads to a greater reliance on data to inform hiring decisions, rather than one person’s gut feel. If a company’s interview process is robust and of high quality, then they should always be looking at the candidates who are at the top of the scoring matrix as being the ones they should be progressing or hiring. Not only can time be saved in key areas of the process by using digital interviews, it also allows interviewers to focus more on what they are supposed to be doing; engaging with candidates, with more time to score accurately in order to make better hiring decisions.

Reducing bias with technology

A key issue in recruitment and hiring is bias and how to identify and reduce it so as to make the process as fair as possible, resulting in better diversity in companies. A LinkedIn report on trends in hiring concluded that 78% of hiring managers ranked diversity as being very or extremely important, showing that companies are focusing more on this. As interview technology becomes more widely adopted it will play a big role in reducing bias and increasing diversity.

Creating a level playing field for candidates is vital for reducing bias and ensuring that the best candidates are being hired based on their skills, knowledge or suitability to the role rather than any other factor. A level playing field means that proper comparisons can be made between candidates as they have been through the same process and they are all receiving the same opportunity.

One way to ensure a level playing field is through a structured and consistent approach to interviewing. Structured interviews are still one of the most effective ways to assess candidates, with studies showing that they are better at determining the best candidate for the job as well as helping to reduce bias. Whilst much time, effort and money is spent on designing a structured interview process, it can be challenging to ensure that it is being delivered properly across all interviewers. By running interviews through an app, hiring managers can ensure consistency across all interviews and allows them to monitor this where necessary.

Having this consistency across interviews is key to creating a level playing field but is difficult to manage or control. This is especially the case for smaller companies, where they may not have the structure or process in place to run a more complex hiring process. Arguably these companies are most in need of more robust interviews as having the right team in place is vital to their success. However, the majority of people do not have extensive experience in interviewing and using recruitment consultants or experts can be expensive. Using an app that provides interviewers with the tools and information they need can ensure consistency and increase the structure of interviews and having audio recording allows for more control over this.

Data capture in interviewing

There can be concerns over using audio recording during interviews for both candidates and interviewers. However, once the reasons for the audio recording are highlighted, that candidates receive more detailed feedback, it ensures fairness and accuracy and provides quality assurance, these concerns are allayed. From a GDPR perspective, there is a legitimate business reason for the audio recording, it is more secure and compliant using an interview app than writing notes about a candidate on a piece of paper and much easier to provide a candidate with their data if requested.

Not only is there a benefit to the candidates with audio recording, but also for interviewers and companies. Having a record of an interview allows companies to improve their use of resources as other people can listen to it if they also need to add their assessment of a candidate. This can either reduce the number of interviews required or the number of interviewers in one interview. Panel interviews have their value but can be a large drain on people’s time and resources.

In cases where complaints or legal procedures in relation to interviews are raised, having a record of exactly what was said is vital for both the candidate and the company. Rather than being a way of checking, it should be more of a safety net for all parties involved. This safety net for interviewers is an instant avenue for reducing bias in the interview process. Knowing that it is being recorded increases the accountability of the interviewer, which encourages them to be more objective, and therefore fairer, in their approach to assessing candidates. In assessment, there is a balance between an assessor’s subjective and objective opinion on a candidate’s performance. The issue with bias, be it conscious or unconscious, is that there is generally more subjectivity resulting in companies still struggling to improve diversity.

As interviewers become more accountable, they will be relying more on data from the interview to make decisions and this is where the audio recording can help once again. They are able to listen back to the recording, or in some solutions the audio has been transcribed into text, so that the candidate’s responses can be analysed again so they can score more accurately, based on what they said and how they said it. The result of this is that companies have a higher chance of hiring the best people for the role that are more likely to stay longer and add more value.

Data analytics for hiring

Capturing useful data is important for any company and especially in the interview process. It is crucial that everything they have said in that interview can be analysed in order to make a better assessment of them, but this relies on the interviewer taking extensive notes rather than focusing on an engaging conversation with the candidate. The analysis of this data will not only help in scoring but also can be used to determine improvements to an interview process and produce key performance metrics. It is possible to see how candidates from varying demographics perform across the questions and data can be used to back up any proposed changes to the questions, framework or scoring criteria.

As these interview apps are fairly new in the market, the potential of this data analysis has not been realised yet. What audio recording and data capture can do in the future is support AI to help identify and reduce bias, automate or suggest scores and help identify high performers quicker. This will be further supplemented with predictive analytics that can combine interview data with employee performance data to understand the key aspects of what makes a candidate worth hiring.

The future of interviewing is bright and exciting, new technologies and software will enhance the process and allow interviewers and companies to make better decisions whilst being more accurate, efficient and fair.

At Equitas we are taking the stress out of delivering live interviews with our app, helping companies to make better, less biased hiring decisions. Get in touch to find out more.