Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
Hiring Process

10 Ways to Be More Flexible in Your Hiring Process

Having a flexible hiring process is important if you’re hoping to attract the best talent. Remaining too rigid can be off-putting to job seekers. It may even keep would-be candidates from applying for your open position.

Want a varied and top-level pool of applicants to choose from? Here are some unique ways to add flexibility into your hiring process:

Use video interviews

Video interviewing software enables hiring managers to take the hassle out of the hiring process. They no longer have to ask candidates to take time out of their day to fight traffic, deal with parking, and then face the stress of a face-to-face interview.

Now the job seeker can sit down at a time that’s convenient for them, in the comfort of their own home, and answer the questions the hiring manager prepared in their best form. From the manager’s perspective, there’s an added level of convenience that comes with video interviewing, too. They’re able to watch candidates’ responses when it works for them rather than squeezing too many interviews into one day.

Additionally, many hiring managers waste time talking to candidates who aren’t a good fit. Video interviewing allows them to vet job seekers in the early stages of the process. This way, they’re only having this deeper dialogue with serious contenders. If it becomes clear the individual isn’t an appropriate choice, they can move on.

Don’t hold up the process

There’s a lot to do before making a job offer. For instance, you need to check references, bring the candidate in to meet your team, and have them demonstrate their hands-on abilities. But is it essential that each candidate completes the steps at the same time in the same order? Not necessarily.

Perhaps there’s a delay on someone’s reference check. You don’t need to let this hold up the hiring process. Allow the individual to move forward with the other components.

From there, wait for their references to come in. If you decide you like them enough and the rest of the boxes are checked, make the offer. Don’t get hung up on the order in which the steps occur.

Be upfront about communication

For many job seekers, the most frustrating part of the interview process is the communication. Either they don’t hear from their would-be employer for months or they’re constantly bombarded with details and requests. Perhaps they can’t answer their phone during the day because they’re at another job, yet it’s the only way hiring managers will communicate.

In order to infuse flexibility into the hiring process, be upfront about how communication will work. The hiring manager should let the job seeker know what to expect, and ask them their preferred method of contact.

Perhaps e-mail works best during the week, but the telephone is ideal at specific times of day. Avoid over-communicating, but also respect the job seeker. Don’t go weeks without updating them about where you’re at in the hiring process. If you’ve decided not to pick them, make it known quickly so that they can move on.

Ask more open-ended questions

Open-ended questions are a valuable part of the job interview process. They enable candidates to let their personality and background shine through. A candidate may have experiences that aren’t fully detailed in their resume but can tell you about them when the question is broad enough.

Give the interview enough structure to cover the essentials. But, allow the dialogue to flow freely. Make opportunities for the job seeker to show what makes them unique and why they would be the perfect fit for the role.

Allow for more than just a Q+A

You need to cover the basics during an initial interview with a person you’re considering adding to your team. What’s their education level? Where have they worked in the past? Why do they believe they’d be a good fit for the job? However, many hiring managers find adding a practical element to their interview process helps gain a more accurate sense of which candidates would thrive within the office.

It’s easy for someone to give you lip service about all of the initiatives they would spearhead. Hands-on demonstrations, however, can help separate those who talk the talk and those who can walk it.

For example, say you’re hiring for a graphic designer position.  You might consider having them draw up a basic logo based on a hypothetical new client you’ve just landed. This will show you their thought process, how they work under pressure and an example of their design work that goes beyond their carefully curated portfolio.

Be open to off-site interviews

While unconventional, there are a number of benefits to conducting interviews outside of the office. Doing so can help make the process less nerve-wracking for the candidate.

Coffee shops are infinitely more relaxing than pulling up in front of your building and feeling judgment from potential new colleagues. An off-site interview can be conducive to a more natural conversation. The relaxed atmosphere might enable you to get a more accurate feel for the candidate’s personality.

Additionally, off-site interviews are helpful when it comes to boosting the flexibility of the interview process. Perhaps your office is too far from where the individual currently works. It would be tough for them to find time to come to talk to you.

When off-site interviews are an option you can pick a spot midway between both of you. It will make the trek more convenient for both parties.

Meet during off-hours

In order to stay competitive and attract the best talent, your interview process needs to take your candidates’ schedules into account. One way to do this is to hold job interviews during off-hours.

Whether it’s after work or on a Saturday morning, the key here is to give candidates an opportunity to take part in the interview process without having to rearrange their schedules, come up with excuses as to why they need to leave work early, and more.

The fact of the matter is, some candidates just don’t have the ability to step away in order to meet you at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday.

Allowing for off-hours discussions or the use of video interviewing software frees up a pool of candidates who might otherwise not be available. Not to mention, it shows you respect their time.

Understand that things come up

Scheduling interviews require time and effort. Hiring managers get frustrated when a candidate has to cancel last minute. However, life can throw some unexpected happenings at the least convenient times.

Part of incorporating flexibility into your hiring process means you’re willing to work around a candidate’s last-minute problems. Just because the candidate has an unexpected situation, doesn’t mean they’re a poor fit for the role. Keep an open mind and continue to give this person a fair shot.

Keep an open mind

You probably have a general idea of the type of person you’re looking to hire. You know what kind of experience they should have, what their educational background should be like, and what personality type would work well in your office.

This helps prevent you from wasting your time interviewing people who wouldn’t be a good fit. However, there’s a difference between basic guidelines and ruling out qualified people for trivial reasons.

Perhaps your next great salesperson has never actually worked in your industry. But the experience they gained working in that high-end bridal shop equipped them to cater to customer needs in a way that will benefit to your business.

Be prepared to make a decision

Panel style interviews are ideal. They work particularly well if the new hire will be interfacing with multiple departments. You might like one candidate, but hear very different feedback when others have a chance to weigh in.

To keep the interview process moving along, understand every person will not be able to attend the interview. You may need to accept just one or two others there to offer their opinions. It’s important to keep the process moving along.

Periodically evaluating your hiring process to prevent it from becoming outdated or cumbersome. One way to stop this from happening is by adding an element of flexibility to the process. This shows candidates you respect their time and can help move your final hiring decision along more quickly.

What are some other ways you can add flexibility to the hiring process? Let us know in the comments below!

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.