10 Tips For Scheduling Your Interviews Efficiently
Talent Acquisition, as a whole, is a fascinating, vibrant and dynamic process. Interview scheduling, specifically? Pretty dull.
It’s just something that needs to be done, and done efficiently. Looking for ways to make interview scheduling better, easier, and less of a headache? Read on.
1. Leverage technology
Technology has transformed the recruitment industry, swapping out slow, paper-based processes with digital alternatives.
Interview scheduling tools can distinguish between an efficient process and a logistical nightmare, riddled with delays. Calendar management software has become a fundamental asset for hiring professionals across all sectors.
Before choosing a tool, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you looking for a holistic HR software solution that includes scheduling features (and does your existing software offer those features)?
- Are you looking for a standalone scheduling tool, specifically tailored to recruitment?
- Or, are you looking for a scheduling tool that can be used across your organization?
Here are a few of our top picks, specifically for scheduling as a recruiter.
What we like most: You can integrate multiple calendars so as to share availability in real time. You can also set up automatic reminders (including SMS notifications).
What we like most: Rooster offers a decent amount of integrations, including Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, Workday, Gem and soon Slack and WhatsApp too!
What we like most: GoodTime’s “Hire” solution offers AI-assisted scheduling features. We especially like that they prioritize candidate experience.
🔖 Related read: 20 Best Interview Scheduling Tools for Recruiters
2. Set clear availability windows
Efficient job interview scheduling hinges on how well the availability windows are established and communicated.
Here’s what to consider:
Offer multiple time slots spread across various days, giving candidates a range of choices. Don’t pressure them (too much) to rush into making a choice, and enable time ahead of the interview period for preparation.
Also, this may sound obvious, but don’t suggest any “trick” choices. I.e don’t suggest a slot that you don’t actually want a candidate to choose. If next week is too far away, don’t offer that possibility. If the time difference means it’s an impossibly difficult slot for your hiring manager to make, don’t offer that slot either! Set yourself and your candidate up for success.
Specific time slots
Be clear about the amount of time that candidates should set aside. Provide them with a start and an end time.
We all have that sweet spot during our work days when we’re productive and focused. Keep yours in mind, and ask your interview panel for their preference too. Keep those hours reserved for interviews and try your best to accommodate those involved.
3. Consider time zones
In a world where remote hiring constitutes about 22% of all hiring in the US, and a much larger portion of tech hiring, efficient interview appointment booking depends on everyone’s time zones.
Here’s what to do:
Be upfront about time zones
Ask candidates which time zone they want you to take into consideration. Also, be transparent about whichever time zone you are currently working in. Whether you’ll be interviewing this person or not, it can help them figure out when the best time to contact you is, for example.
You may even want to include your time zone in your email signature, for good measure.
While proposing times, it’s a good practice to specify the time zone. This preempts any potential misunderstandings across the board.
4. Centralize information
With multiple interviews queued up, the process of storing associated details can be overwhelming.
Amidst this deluge, storing candidate information securely is vital – failure to do so could result in legal issues.
At its most basic, securely centralizing data involves a shared calendar with the following:
- Date and time: No more sifting through emails to confirm when an interview is scheduled.
- Venue details: Especially crucial for in-person meetings to avoid last-minute location confusion.
- Virtual meeting details: With virtual interviews becoming the norm, proactively providing platform details and access links is necessary.
- Contact details: Ensure you always have the means to get in touch.
5. Stay one step ahead
A well-organized reminder system is about more than just punctuality – it’s about setting the right tone for a forthcoming interview. It’s best not to allow events to creep up unexpectedly.
Reminders are essential in ensuring this doesn’t happen, especially for something as pivotal as an interview.
Setting a date isn’t enough – keep that data on the radar with automated reminders.
Whether it’s about revisiting a candidate’s CV or setting up the necessary tech, timely reminders ensure you’re at your best. Set reminders both for yourself and for the rest of the interviewing team.
Affirmation for the candidate
For the interviewee, such reminders re-emphasize that the meeting is important and their potential contribution is valued.
6. Plan for overlaps
A successful interview day involves a balance of conversations interspersed with reflection and preparation.
Moreover, some high-responsibility jobs require multiple interview days with multiple stages, which take more meticulous planning. In these situations, strategies must be implemented to avoid candidate drop-offs.
Building some level of flexibility into the interview day is essential in all cases. This involves:
- Buffer zones: Blocking off an additional 15 to 20 minutes post-interview is always sensible. This buffer offers a window for jotting down immediate thoughts and observations and reduces the risk of keeping candidates waiting.
- Breathing space: If your day features back-to-back interviews, consciously integrating short breaks can make all the difference. These intervals allow a moment to recharge, which benefits all involved.
Candidates often appreciate a well-structured process, and these small considerations go a long way in presenting your organization in the best light.
7. Expect the unexpected
Efficient interview scheduling recognizes the unpredictability of life – be it a candidate’s last-minute emergency or an unforeseen hiccup in your own schedule. No matter how rigorous your planning, always be mentally prepared for changes.
While flexibility is crucial, avoid rescheduling at the eleventh hour unless it’s an absolute necessity. Should a need to reschedule arise, immediately suggest alternative dates and times. It shows thoughtfulness and respect for the candidate’s time.
8. Prep your virtual platforms
Online interviews have flourished as digital interactions become the norm rather than the exception. However, it’s easy to underestimate the time it takes to set them up.
For instance, if you’re screening technical skills, ensure you’ve established precisely what you’ll test candidates for (e.g., Python, SQL, etc).
Then, load up the right coding challenges and questions before the interview to ensure everything runs smoothly. Otherwise, both interviewer and interviewee could become frustrated or flustered.
If you’re screening for development roles, you’ll want candidates to perceive your organization as technically proficient – at the very least!
🔖 Related read: Remote Tech Interview Prep: The Checklist
Here’s how to smoothen the virtual interview process:
Regularly update your interview software. A technical glitch or a sudden update requirement can disrupt the flow of conversation and make the candidate uncomfortable.
Crystal clear instructions
Along with the interview invite, share clear instructions about the platform being used, any software they might need to install, and steps for troubleshooting common issues.
Consider sending candidates a tutorial or test link, especially if the platform you’re using might be unfamiliar to the candidate. It demonstrates thoroughness and can alleviate any tech-related anxiety.
9. Offer feedback
Every interview and interaction is a learning opportunity. Not collecting feedback is a missed opportunity. It also conveys an organization’s commitment to progress and evolution.
Embracing feedback as a tool for growth involves:
Open communication channels
Encourage candidates to share their thoughts. Whether it’s about the ease of scheduling, the clarity of communication, or the virtual platform, every piece of feedback can offer invaluable insights. An anonymous survey may encourage candidates to speak their minds.
Implement and evolve
Once feedback is collected, don’t let it gather digital dust. Use it to refine, tweak, and perfect your process for the next candidate.
10. Wrap up post-interview
Once the interview concludes, candidates often enter a limbo stage where they’re unsure just what to do.
The key to dissipating the unknown is clear communication about subsequent steps.
- Immediate acknowledgment: As the interview wraps up, acknowledge its conclusion and appreciate the candidate’s time and insights.
- Timeline transparency: Share a realistic timeline of when they can expect feedback or the next step. Whether it’s a call back in a week or further assessments, a defined timeline manages expectations. This has to be realistic.
- Potential next steps: Be it another round of interviews, a task, a meeting with senior leadership, or background checks, outlining potential subsequent steps provides clarity.
The end goal of recruitment is to secure the best candidate – never underestimate the role of exemplary interview organization in achieving this.