Let’s face it, the hiring process can be a grind. We’ve all experienced a painful interview. They are akin to blind dates gone very badly.


And when you find yourself in this situation as a hiring manager, you quickly start looking for the exit door. The last thing you want to be doing is wasting your time.


A face to face interview should only be for the fully qualified candidate and in order to determine whether a candidate is qualified you need to have a well thought out hiring process. Each step of the process should further narrow down the applicants.


Hard to fill positions with unique qualifications such as technology, accounting, and engineering deserve the same process as the less technical positions.  Just because they have the right education and certificates doesn’t mean that they deserve your time at the office.


 A recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management found that the average cost to hire an employee, without external recruiting costs, is over $4100.


Yet with some upfront planning, you can avoid these painful interviews in the future. Here are the three steps that will decrease your risk of a time- wasted interview:


1. Get clear on minimum qualifications


There are plenty of technology platforms that can help your business with the resume screening process, yet there are companies out there who don’t leverage this feature.


What I’ve discovered is many businesses short cut the process and don’t analyze their job descriptions of what are truly minimum qualifications for the job. It is easy to identify education level, certifications, and years of experience as filters.


Ask yourself this question to determine if you can further filter the resumes you are receiving.


  • What requirements other than skills and experience does this job have? Specific hours/days of work, good credit history, physical strength, seasonal workloads etc.
I remember a client who was hiring an accounting manager. They flew a candidate in from out of town and when they made her an offer, they found out she wasn’t going to pass the credit check. If they had analyzed the job requirements before posting the job they would have a had a filter for credit checks, which could have screened her out. Not only did they waste their time, but it cost them travel expenses for the candidate. Once they became clear on upfront applicant filters, these costly mistakes were eliminated.


2. A Job Posting is not a Job Description


Unlike a job description, which is meant for internal use and future performance management, a job posting is an external marketing document.  It is meant to sell job candidates on the company and the position.


Ask yourself these questions:


  • Is your job description compelling?
  • What would attract good candidates to apply for your open position?
In a rapidly growing Insurance company, I found that there was no process for translating a job description into a job posting. The young HR manager was literally cutting and pasting the description into the posting. So, we created filters, and wrote new job postings that attracted more candidates


Here are the top three things to remember when creating a job posting 1. Keep posting to around 700-2000 words and you will get 30% more applications 2. Include your company story, what makes your company different? 3. Use keywords to make the posting searchable


Once you have your resumes that have passed all the filters, it’s time to do a phone screen. This step is often an internal recruiter’s job but for smaller companies without recruiters it will be the hiring manager’s job.


3. Phone Screen to further narrow the field


Phone screens can be time consuming for a manager. It is important to prepare and make the time you spend with the applicant valuable.


Ask yourself these questions before you get on the phone with an applicant:


  • What additional information can help you narrow the applicant pool in the least amount of time possible?
  • Are there additional questions they can answer in writing before the phone interview?
  • Where are they in their job search? Have the just started?
  • Can the phone screen be delegated to a team member?
  • Is there something you would like the applicant to do or provide before a face to face interview?
Working with one client, we developed two specific behavioral interview questions for a project manager position that were going to be critical for the new hire to have. The company was experiencing a lot of change, so we designed questions to uncover how applicants have managed change in the past that they had no control over. These two questions helped to eliminate a number of top contenders before they were called in for a full interview.


Getting clear on the filters to use in the online job posting, making sure you are selling potential applicants to attract higher quality candidates, and having a disciplined phone screen that further narrows the applicant pool will increase the likelihood of spending your valuable time with great potential employees.