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Interview Scheduling: Guide & Best Practices

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Companies all over the world are vying for the attention of the best talent in the industry. In this fierce battle for applicants' attention, every step counts. By simply paying attention to interview scheduling, hiring managers and recruiters can significantly improve the overall interview experience.

According to Criteria's 2022 Candidate Experience Report, 33 percent of candidates turn down a job offer because they don't have flexible work options. If that seems like a lot, consider that 53 percent of candidates abandon the hiring process due to poor communication. As a human resources manager, efficient communication and scheduling of interviews can go a long way toward success.

This comprehensive guide is designed to help HR professionals effectively support candidates throughout the entire outreach and hiring process.

What is Interview Scheduling?

Interview scheduling is a comprehensive process with multiple phases. In order for interview scheduling to be effective, there must be close coordination between the applicant, the hiring manager, the hiring manager, the interviewer/panel, and all other employees. Given the high stakes, communication gaps are a luxury you can't afford.

In addition to the people involved, important discussions, metrics, available time slots on different calendars, and more need to be taken into account when scheduling interviews.

How to Approach Interview Scheduling

Because a candidate's recruitment phase can extend over an extended period of time, the interview scheduling process must be tailored to three key phases: pre-interview, interview and post-interview.

1.Phase before the interview

This phase begins with the first conversations, including the first exploratory conversations, right up to the job interview. In this phase, both conversation partners are still getting to know each other. Here, HR managers and recruiters can lay the foundation for a smooth interview process.

Since this is an initial exchange of information, the communication signals between you and the applicant will shape the first impression. Clear and transparent communication via email or other platforms leaves a positive impression on applicants.

  • Confirm the availability of the hiring team

Once you have compiled the list of applicants and potential candidates for an interview, the next step is filtering. Here, obvious profiles that do not meet the requirements of the job profile are sorted out.

The next task is to work closely with internal recruiters and interviewers. In this phase you also face the challenge of reconciling the needs of the applicant and the interview panel.

Get the opinion of everyone involved in advance. Offer alternative options to resolve conflicts. Timely reminders for both parties in advance of the conversation or meeting help to avoid unpleasant surprises.

  • Prepare and send interview details

A well-structured email invitation before the interview creates security and trust. Since you'll be doing this process frequently, using a template can help you increase efficiency and ensure consistency. Include the most important information, e.g. the job title, date, time and duration of the interview.

In this way, applicants can better assess what to expect during the interview and, if necessary, reschedule external appointments. You can also include the names of the interviewees and their LinkedIn profiles to help candidates better prepare for the interviews.

  • Preparing for the interview

Before the interview, familiarize yourself with the applicant's background and relevant skills. Based on the HR manager's needs, prepare a series of questions to help you assess fit for the team and company.

If your company has assessment tests to measure these parameters, this would be the right time to objectively evaluate the candidate. This preparation ensures that you can ask targeted questions to assess the applicant's suitability for the position.

2.Conversation phase

In this next phase, the applicant comes into contact with people other than you. By establishing a detailed process for information flow and steps during the interview, you can ensure that the enriching experience you created before the interview remains undiminished.

  • Create a positive experience for the applicant

For an in-person interview, you will need to arrange for available facilities and meeting rooms in addition to the interview session. If this is a virtual interview, you should confirm platform login details and provide installation instructions prior to the interview. Create a pleasant atmosphere so that applicants feel comfortable during the interview.

Have a conversation with the applicant to ease their nervousness on the day of the interview. This is a good opportunity to highlight the company culture and work environment.

  • Conduct the interview

To make effective use of the time you spend with the candidate, rely on standardized questions that you create before the interview. This ensures that all applicants receive a fair, objective and unbiased evaluation.

During the evaluation process, focus on the applicant's problem-solving approach rather than their answers. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Nilofer Merchant advises: "Instead of asking, 'Did you do x or y or z?' you should ask, 'How would you go about doing x or y or z?'" To ensure your approach is as unbiased as possible, consider taking notes. This allows you to revisit the discussion later to identify gaps or strengths that you may have previously missed.

  • Get feedback from applicants

After the interview, talk to the applicant again to get feedback about the process and their experiences. If you want to make changes in certain areas of the hiring process, you can ask candidates questions to get more information about the interview process itself. This open communication promotes a positive impression of the company's values and candidate-centered approach. If there is consistent feedback from multiple applicants, this is an opportunity to address the issue.

3.Post-interview phase

In the post-interview phase, you evaluate the applicant. Here you should refer to the notes you took during the conversation. If necessary, you can also refer to the interviewers' notes to get a 360-degree assessment of the applicant. Gather feedback from everyone possible and work closely with the hiring team.

  • Complete the Interview Scorecard

Based on the information you learned from your notes and the collective feedback from the interview panel, complete the interview scorecard. Include as much detailed feedback as possible. This is helpful when there is a tie between applicants on a difficult decision.

This contributes to an objective evaluation process while minimizing the impact of personal human bias.

  • Collaborate with the hiring team

Because the candidate you interviewed will be working closely with the hiring team, not you, their input is important. This helps determine the applicant's suitability for the position. Also analyze applicant feedback to improve the interview process.

  • Timely communication

It is normal for applicants to eagerly await the results of the interview. It's only fair to send them an email thanking them for the time they took to participate in the process and for their patience. The email is a good opportunity to inform them of the expected time frame for delivering the results.

Email template for scheduling a job interview

To help you plan interviews, we've created an email template that you can customize to suit your needs.

Subject: [Company Name]: Your Interview for the Position [Job Title]

Hello [applicant name],

Thank you for your application and your interest in the position [job title] at [name of company]. We are impressed with your professional background and would like to invite you for an interview [in our office / via Skype / via telephone] to discuss the position [job title] and get to know you better.

We see a match between your experience and the requirements for this position.

Interview details:

Date: [day, month, year]

Time: [Start time - End time]

Duration: [Duration in minutes/hour]

Location/Platform: [Office Address/Skype ID/Phone Number]

Interviewer: [names and LinkedIn profiles]

Please let me know your preferred time slots from the following options and I can send you confirmation and further details:

[Day, Time 1]

[Day, Time 2]

[Day, Time 3]

I look forward to meeting you,

[your name]

[Your title/designation]

[Your contact information]

Interview scheduling: 5 best practices to keep in mind

Constantly coordinating a larger pool of applicants with different needs and stages in the hiring process can be daunting. However, with better planning and proper preparation, scheduling interviews can be a breeze. In a Forbes article, Neil Morelli of Codility advises not to rely on applicants' intuition or skills, but to have a plan. We recommend the following best practices for scheduling interviews:

1.Schedule interviews immediately

The best talent in the industry is not always available for hire. If they are available, they may be in parallel discussions with multiple companies. So once you find a potential candidate for an interview, you should act quickly and make an appointment. Inaction or delays could prove costly.

If your interviews make you confident that the candidate is a good fit for you, take the next step. Stick to the agreed times and respect their schedules. If you have to conduct interviews with several applicants on the same day, you should plan buffer times between the individual interviews. How to prevent one interview from delaying the next.

2.Use standardized interview questions

Given the impact of human bias and human error that can lead to adverse experiences, standardized questions ensure consistent results. In addition, they enable more objective recording and internal collaboration between the conversation partners.

Introducing standardized questions into the interview process ensures consistent assessments and fair comparisons between applicants. In addition, a list of standardized questions allows each applicant to be evaluated based on specific areas of focus such as skills, approach or problem-solving skills.

3.Schedule follow-up calls with shorter turnaround times

Once you have identified a profile that meets the requirements to be shortlisted for interviews, you need to act as quickly as possible. Be sensitive to the applicant’s scheduling requirements and comfort level. That leaves a good impression.

If you have a choice, this can have a big impact on the offer decision. If your potential candidate has passed the first round of interviews and your hiring process requires additional rounds, a faster turnaround time will reduce the overall time from first interview to offer letter.

4.Advertise effectively

Clarity creates trust. The transparency you provide candidates during the interview strengthens their perception of you and your company. We all have schedules that are constantly changing. This also applies to the candidates you want to interview.

If appointments are frequently postponed, you should communicate this transparently. Be flexible when it comes to rescheduling the appointment with the applicant. This will help make the interview at your company a wonderful experience.

5.Collect applicant feedback

The interview will take place in different phases with several applicants. It will be challenging to remember a conversation with a candidate from days or weeks ago.

To ensure an objective and fair evaluation, you should contact each interviewee and obtain feedback on the applicants.

Bonus tip: Use technology where you can

The use of a planning tool such as a modern HRMS with automatic call scheduling functionality can make your appointment scheduling much easier. Not only do you no longer have to remember and coordinate multiple calendars, but you can also ensure the necessary communication with the respective conversation partners.

Using tools like Google Calendar or even Outlook Calendar is an effective way to ensure hassle-free interview scheduling.

Scheduling interviews using IceHrm's Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Using an ATS can significantly improve the interview scheduling process. ATS can automate candidate communication, appointment scheduling, and feedback collection. By streamlining these tasks, hiring managers and recruiters can focus on building relationships with candidates and improving the overall candidate experience.

1.Managing the talent pipeline

Finding the perfect candidates for your company can be a difficult task, but with IceHrm's Applicant Tracking System (ATS) you can streamline your hiring process and manage the talent pipeline effectively. From candidate sourcing to data-driven decisions, IceHrm's ATS allows you to build a pool of qualified candidates ready for the next steps in your hiring process.

2.Connect with the right candidates

Write clear job descriptions. This increases the likelihood that top talent will consider your company as an employer. IceHrm's ATS allows you to effectively communicate job descriptions and goals across high-level job boards and social networks. This feature allows you to significantly increase the visibility of your job postings and ensure you reach the most relevant candidates.

3.Treat each hiring role as an individual project

Managing applicants for different roles can quickly become overwhelming without the right organization. IceHrm feature allows you to treat every hiring process like a project. With a clear visual representation of candidate progress, you can easily assess where you are in the hiring process and ensure a smooth transition from one stage to the next.

4.Screening applicants for the right skills and competencies

Identifying applicants with the right skills and competencies is an essential prerequisite for making informed hiring decisions. IceHrm's ATS has a pre-employment testing feature that allows you to quickly and efficiently assess applicants' qualifications. This way you can ensure that you invite the most suitable candidates for an interview.

5.Interview scorecard for each candidate for better decisions

Making hiring decisions can be challenging, especially when multiple team members are involved in the process. IceHrm's Interview Scorecard simplifies decision-making by enabling standardized assessment of candidates. The clear scorecards give you valuable insights into the strengths and opportunities for improvement of each individual applicant, allowing you to select the person best suited for your company.

6.A bird's eye view of every job posting

Posting job offers on different platforms can be time-consuming and difficult to track. IceHrm's ATS centralizes your job postings and makes it easy to manage and monitor their performance. By analyzing the effectiveness of each job posting, you can fine-tune your recruiting strategy and optimize your reach to attract top talent.

7.Simplified interview scheduling

Scheduling interviews can be a logistical challenge, but IceHrm's Interview Scheduler makes it a breeze. This feature allows you to seamlessly coordinate interview appointments with candidates and leave helpful notes to prepare them for the meeting. A smooth interview process ensures a positive experience for applicants and strengthens your employer's brand.

8.Creating offer letters

Writing offer letters can be a time-consuming task, but not with IceHrm's ATS. Use predefined templates or adapt offer letters to your needs. With applicant information, offer details and required documents in one place, you can streamline the offer creation process and seamlessly make offers to your selected applicants.

With IceHrm's ATS feature, you can streamline your interview scheduling process and build a talented team that drives your company's success. From managing the talent pipeline to creating offer letters, IceHrm's ATS allows you to shine in your recruiting efforts and attract top-notch talent to your company.

IceHrm's Applicant Tracking System streamlines interview scheduling, empowering HR to build top-tier teams and elevate the hiring process.

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