How to design an Interview Process which predicts Performance







First, let’s get one thing out of the way. Traditional interviews don’t predict performance. Rather, the best way to predict performance is to test job-related skills in context. Nevertheless, there is a place for interviews in the hiring process. Interviews are a useful tool to build rapport and even start a relationship, with candidates after their skills have been validated. They can, and should, also be used to answer unanswered questions from the hiring process.

Interviewing is often used as a synonym for candidate selection, but it shouldn’t. Interviews should only comprise a small part of the candidate selection process. If an “interview process”, a.k.a. a selection process is designed properly, then traditional interviews only need to play a minor role.

Rather than dealing with hypotheticals, a real blow-by-blow story is shared about a recent hire we made. The process included a recruitment agency, marketing, online skills assessment using our platform, interviews and reference checks. We’ll explain how each step worked and why we did things in a very deliberate order!

Recruiting candidates a tough call (Vervoe)

Role definition

This is arguably the most important step. If you don’t define the role correctly, the entire process will be flawed because nobody will have clarity about the kind of person you’re looking for.

A helpful starting place is based on thinking about the purpose of the role. Why does it exist? We wanted to hire someone who could help our largest customers get maximum value from their investment in Vervoe. That was our “why” for this role.

We wanted someone who had expertise in assessment and I/O psychology; was a natural with enterprise customers and would thrive in a startup.

Recruitment agency appointment

The team doesn’t usually use agencies and also not advocating for, or against, the use of agencies. It depends on the situation. In this case, they were looking for a candidate with a very specific skillset and they were almost certain that we needed to attract passive candidates. The people who met their criteria weren’t necessarily looking and, more importantly, they were probably working with a big company and therefore not looking for roles with startups.

So, they wanted an agency to help with candidate sourcing, particularly market mapping ad outreach. In other words, wanted the agency to find people and convince them it was an exciting opportunity.

First contact

This fact that the team was tapping passive candidates on the shoulder influenced the rest of the process. They had to convince candidates to talk to them, rather than the other way around. So, throwing them into an assessment wasn’t going to work. We had to sell to them.

So, the agency approached them and had an informal conversation. After that, the hiring manager met the candidates. Is this the most efficient use of time? No. But it was necessary given the caliber of people we were trying to attract. This wasn’t a high-volume situation.

The purpose of the conversation with the hiring manager wasn’t to determine whether candidates can do the job. It was to sell to the candidate, get a feel for their motivation and give them visibility over the remainder of the process. It was about buy-in.

One-to-one communication with the recruiter (Monster.com)

Skills assessment

After speaking to the hiring manager candidates were invited to complete an online skills assessment, known as a Talent Trial. They had to opt into this stage. The skills assessment stage was positioned as a two-way street. An opportunity for us to see how they perform job-related tasks, and an opportunity for them to get a realistic feel for the role and the product they’ll be working on. It made sense. Every single candidate we invited to this stage completed their skills assessment.

The interview

Then came the interview. It was a discussion where Mr. Omer Malad only interviewed one person, whom he ultimately hired. Omer said, “I didn’t focus on skills because I already had evidence the preferred candidate could do the job. She performed very well in the skills assessment, which was carefully crafted to reflect the role.” He further conveyed, “We discussed how we’d work together, including her preferred working style, how we can invest in her, some of the quirks of our team and what she can expect if she joins. It was lighthearted and fun, at least for me.”

Candidate search (The Leader’s Heart)

Reference checks

Malad is a big believer in reference checking, but not for the reasons you might expect. References are almost always positive. It’s a rigged game. But, if done correctly, reference checks can be very effective in setting candidates up for success. They help understand what it would be like to work with the candidate, how we can support them and how we can get the best out of them. They’re an employee onboarding tool of sorts. They asked the recruitment agency to conduct two reference checks and send them detailed notes.

Meeting the team

They wanted one more conversation with the hiring manager and the team. At a startup, it’s really important to bring existing team members into the process. He believes it’s important in any company. It increases the chance that existing team members will welcome the new hire and allows the preferred candidate an opportunity to see who they’ll be working with. It reduces the risk for everybody.

The offer

A quick offer is a good offer. They didn’t make the offer after the final discussion with the hiring manager and team, in fact, they made it during that discussion. After meeting the team, and after everyone gave the thumbs up, the candidate spoke to the hiring manager privately and got the good news. She accepted.

[Guest Blog]

Omer Malad – Co-founder and CEO of Vervoe

External Resource – Vervoe




Sanghamitra Roychoudhary

She is a professional Technical Writer, Content Marketing Specialist, and Freelance Web Content Developer. Author of IT Techno Solutions. She's a learner for lifetime; and explores WordPress, and shares new and fresh findings to develop her proficiency.

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