Remember to always be closing — your interview loop is a great opportunity for your candidate to continue to learn more about your startup.
If you have other co-founders or a founding team involved in the hiring loop, we recommend you walk your team through best practices on how to interview (takes approx. 20 minutes). Share these best practices with new hires as you build your team. A little bit of context can go a long way towards making sure your interviewers getting the best signal and your candidates are getting the best experience.
It’s probably worth emphasizing the importance of candidate experience. Delivering a great candidate experience will increase your close rate and preserve your employer brand. A negative one (e.g. showing up late to an interview, or treating your candidate poorly) can hurt your company’s reputation. All it takes is one bad glass door review to cause some serious damage. Every person at the company the candidate interacts with from the first reach out to onsite to hire needs to understand the concept of candidate experience.
Below are the interview best practices that we share with our team internally. These best practices were written by Gem’s very own Head of People, Caroline Stevenson, who spent 6 years at Dropbox building a world-class team before joining Gem to lead Recruiting & HR.
Feel free to copy/paste these into your own doc and share it with your team. If these best practices are more built out than what you need, definitely feel free to pair them down or tweak them to what you need.
Feedback? Suggestions? Ideas? Comment directly, suggest edits, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
TLDR; best practices for interviewers
- Interview prep best practices. Review the candidate’s resume before the interview, know what areas/questions you’re responsible for.
- Interviewing best practices. Put the candidate at ease, ask probing/open-ended questions to make sure you get signal, avoid making assumptions about the candidate, take notes, leave time at the end of the interview for questions, don’t ever ask questions, directly or indirectly, around age, sex, sexual orientation, race, color, national origin, religion, genetics or disabilities.
- Post-interview best practices. Write (detailed) interview notes promptly, attend the debrief, do not discuss feedback with others on the interview panel before the debrief
Interview prep best practices
Review the candidate’s resume before the interview
- You should walk into the interview knowing things like where they’ve worked, for how long, etc.
- These things might influence the questions you ask. Eg - the last company the worked at seems highly relevant to what we do - how might that help you tweak your questions. What about if they’ve never worked in tech before?
- There might be extra context available to you on candidates before going into the interview. If there is, make sure to read it over. This might include information like - why the candidate is looking, how they were introduced to your startup, what things are important to them in their job search.
Know what areas/questions you’re responsible for
- Every role should have a doc with an interview panel and the questions to be asked for each interviewer. Make sure you know your part here! If you have questions, sync with the hiring manager.
Interviewing best practices
Put the candidate at ease
- It is normal for a candidate to be nervous, so you should try to put the person at ease from the moment you enter the room. If we can help candidates be less nervous, we have a better chance of getting clear signal on their abilities, and also their personality!
- A good way to do this is to start with a bit of small talk to get them warmed up
- Offer the candidate a quick break if they need a drink or a restroom break (sometimes they might just appreciate taking a minute to re-group).
Introduce yourself and cover the agenda for the interview