5 Basic Interview Process Steps and Where Recruiters Come In

As a recruiter, you play an integral role in the hiring process for your clients. You strive to source the right candidates for the open position. To make a successful placement, you need to know about the interview process and how to handle it as a recruiter.

How do recruiters play into the interview process?

The best interview process consists of multiple rounds of interviews, attempting to narrow down the pool of candidates. Interviews are meant to let you and the hiring manager get to know candidates. You do this by asking behavioral interview questions, taking notes, and determining which candidate would be the best fit for the job.

Recruiters typically do not conduct every interview on behalf of their clients. Instead, they remain a part of the interview process by sitting in on interviews and giving input to clients. Understanding your role and ways to improve your techniques are important for growing as a recruiter.

This step-by-step interview process guide will help you understand your role in vetting candidates, sitting in on client-candidate interviews, and providing direction to your clients.

The 5 typical interview process steps

The hiring process consists of everything from creating a job description to extending the job offer. The typical interview process focuses on the portion of the hiring process devoted to speaking with candidates.

After you source candidates and gather applicant resumes, you need to narrow down your pool. For example, you could receive hundreds of resumes, but you won’t interview all those people.

Here are the basic steps of the interview process. You or your client might choose to add more depending on their business needs.

  • Telephone screening (recruiter)
  • Telephone interview (client)
  • Face-to-face interview (client and recruiter)
  • Reviewing notes and discussing candidates (recruiter and client)
  • Conducting reference checks (recruiter)

Some recruiting agencies and clients have even begun adapting the topgrading interview process. Topgrading is a more extensive and thorough process than a traditional interview. It helps get a more comprehensive picture of each candidate. Topgrading incorporates the traditional interview process.

Take a closer look at each step in the interview procedure to understand your responsibilities.

Telephone screening

You are in charge of the first step in the interview process. As a recruiter, you need to narrow down candidates.

If you use recruiting software with an applicant tracking system (ATS), candidate resumes are parsed and organized from most to least qualified for the position. Reach out to candidates who have excellent to average qualifications to get further insight.

Call candidates. The first conversation between recruiter and candidate will tell you a lot. When you first talk to them, tell them about the job and ask if they have any questions about the skills needed for it.

Get further understanding of their skills, experience, and education. See if they would be a good fit for the open position. Ask them behavioral questions, but don’t spend too much time on the phone with each (you might have quite a few to get through). From there, you can ask them if they are still interested in the job.

Take notes during the phone screening. Candidates you feel would be successful in the position can advance to the next round of interviews.

Telephone interview

Before bringing candidates in for a face-to-face interview, your client might want to conduct a telephone interview.

Your client will need to ask more questions than the initial screening. They will treat it like an interview, but it will cost them less time than bringing a candidate in for a face-to-face interview.

After this, your client might want to talk to you about which candidates should be asked for an in-person interview. Your client should also have taken notes during the telephone interview. Compare your notes, and help them arrive at a decision.

Face-to-face interview

Once candidates have made it past the telephone interview(s), ask them to come in for a face-to-face interview. There should be significantly fewer candidates who are invited for a face-to-face interview than a telephone interview.

This is a longer and more thorough process that will allow your client to get to know the candidates even more.

You should participate in the face-to-face interview. Most businesses want recruiters to sit on the panel and take notes. And, your professional input on who you feel would be a good fit for the position is always encouraged.

During the face-to-face interview, your client should ask each candidate the same behavioral interview questions so their answers are easily comparable. Here are some examples of interview questions:

  • How do you make sure your work is accurate?
  • Can you tell me about a time you felt pressure while making a decision? How did the pressure effect you?
  • Can you talk about a time when your communication failed? What caused the problem? How did you handle the situation?

Reviewing notes and discussing candidates

After the interview, you and your clients will not be able to remember every detail that each candidate said. Cue the notes you have been diligently taking.

You can look over your notes on your own and put together the best qualities of each candidate. And, you can order the candidates from most qualified to least in your opinion. Then, you can share your notes and opinions with your client.

Your client might want to get together with you to discuss different candidates. They might consult you for help if they are stuck between two candidates. The next step in the interview process should help solidify your client’s choice.

Conducting reference checks

Maybe, you client is torn between two or three candidates. In this final step of the interview process, you will call their references and find out more about the candidates.

Learning about the candidate’s relationship with their previous employers during an employment reference check offers great insight for potential clients. Ask previous employers questions about the candidate’s work ethic, skills, and verify that what the candidate told you and your client in the interviews is accurate.

Interview Process Takeaways

You will play a vital role in the interview process. From telephone screening to conducting reference checks, your methods will help ensure your client hires the right candidate. Understanding the basic five-step interview process is an important part of your recruiting strategy.

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