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Make the first impression count! What does a good hiring process look like?

By Zak Bainbridge

Candidates with unique skillsets are in high demand, but they're also likely to be looking elsewhere - making nailing your hiring process essential.

This year’s hiring market is still firmly candidate driven. Candidates are rarely exclusive, and their unique skillsets are in high demand. As a result, hiring managers often susceptible to removing as many hoops as possible during the recruitment process that may deter candidates from that all-important offer accept, or even applying for a role in the first place. 

It is rare to find candidates that are genuinely "off-market". Those who have taken the time to prepare a CV and think about why they may leave their current position are likely to be open-minded to other opportunities they may not have yet considered – making a top-notch process vital. 

Speed is vital – but quality should not be sacrificed for this. Organisations and clients alike may benefit from moving quickly through a couple of snappy stages, but we’re increasingly seeing the quality of hires decline with these less-than-thorough processes…

Don't let a longer process put you off

Whilst interview time-management can be a deciding factor for potential candidates, this doesn’t mean that fewer interviews make for a better hiring process. In my experience, processes with two (or even fewer!) stages result in less controlled placements, more withdrawals and counteroffers commonly being accepted. 

Using multiple interviews during the hiring process to sell the team and wider business as well as the role applied for is critical to help individuals make quick decisions that they are confident in. 

Yes, you can make an offer after one or two interviews, but you’re more likely to have a less engaged candidate, who takes longer to make a decision, and who is less likely to even accept.

Why consider multiple interview stages?

A typical hiring process may include a 1:1 call with the hiring manager, followed by a 1:1 or 2:1 with senior leaders. Reframing this process to introduce candidates to peers in the same function - and leaders within another function – would offer fresh perspectives to the candidate, allowing them to visualise themselves in the role and connect to opportunities in the wider business. 

The more people an individual speaks to that sing from the same hymn sheet will help to solidify their impression of the business; it also gives the organisation ample opportunity to clarify its commercial goals and showcase real development opportunities that are proven to sway the candidate.

A slick and effective baseline

There is no perfect “one size fits all” hiring structure. But if you want to increase the efficiency of your recruitment process, we prove time and time again that more interviews, that can take place in a shorter timeframe, will equate to easier decision making for all relevant stakeholders. 

Here’s what I think makes a solid base for wowing the best candidates, and ensuring they’re right for you:

  1. The initial 1:1 interview with the hiring manager is standard, and for good reason. This not only allows the applicant’s skillset and suitability to be vetted, but gives the candidate a chance to ask any burning questions and set out their own expectations for the role.
  2. An 'interview' with peers provides the candidate with an invaluable culture insight from the get-go. Talking to somebody doing the same job, someone who has been promoted, or somebody who works in another relevant discipline is a useful tool for offering the applicant peace of mind in regard to how they’d fit into the business. Especially if you can introduce a salesperson with pre-sales, and vice versa.
  3. Great leadership has always been an important sway for candidates; an interview with another senior leader enables individuals to assess whether the company vision truly aligns with their own values. Furthermore, this stage allows candidates to learn the internal opinions on the team they are considering joining.
  4. A final 1:1 with the hiring manager is always a good idea. You allow the candidate to ask new questions that have arisen as the process progressed, and for vacancies where you have an equally strong selection of individuals to consider, you’re afforded a great opportunity for further vetting to make your decision easier.

What does your hiring process look like?

If you’re interested in discussing the recruitment market or would like to find out how the Smart Industry team can support your recruitment needs, contact me at or give me a call on +44 (0) 1522 812 458.