A well-designed interview loop serves two purposes: (1) it gives you a clean signal on the candidate’s skill and values and (2) it gives the candidate confidence in your team and approach to team building.

Below are a few best practices to help you design a thoughtful interview loop that’s specific to your team. These best practices are from Viet Nguyen, our Head of Customer Talent Advisory. His team advises hundreds of Gem customers on how to recruit effectively. Prior to Gem, Viet spent the past 5 years in recruiting leadership at a number of great startups, including One Medical where he led tech recruiting.

Feedback? Suggestions? Ideas? Comment directly, suggest edits, or email steve@gem.com and viet@gem.com

High-level best practices

Define what you need

It’s important to take the time to define what you’re looking for before you start recruiting for a number of reasons:

If you’ve never hired for a role or hired in-general before, the best way to develop the necessary context is to leverage your network. We suggest identifying 5-10 experts — people who have hired for the role before or people who are currently/previously in the role and learn as much as you can from them. Another option is to leverage your investors to make introductions to experts from their networks.

Your interview loop will say something about you

We’ve all been through interviews where the interview has nothing to do with the job. This is often the by-product of either (1) not knowing any better or (2) not having the time to do better.

Design the interview loop to sell candidates on your team’s culture and values. At Gem, we care deeply about practicality and collaboration. So rather than doing a standard set of whiteboarding engineering interviews, we decided to go with something more bespoke to Gem.

Our onsite interview is a 1-2 day event where engineering candidates spend time working on a project with another engineer on the team. When we were building the founding team, candidates did this interview with the founders.

This interview structure allows us to evaluate and showcase what we care about — practicality and collaboration. To see exactly how we did this, check out 5e. How Gem interviewed our founding engineering team.