It’s hard to underestimate the importance of the recruiting and hiring process, because it’s the beginning of one of your most important daily relationships. Yet, most companies confine their hiring approach to the traditional resume-and-interview system. It’s a process that gives very little insight into an applicant’s fit, and almost no insight about your company’s fit for the applicant.
It’s always been important at IDI to give job candidates the best possible sense of who we are, what we do, what the position is about, and what life would be like if they join IDI. We want to make sure that IDI has the best possible information about them, and that they have the best possible information about IDI and the job — so that we can both make a good decision.
Years ago, we realized that we needed to do a better job educating candidates about who we are as an organization, and what it’s like to work here. So we added elements to the interview process, and a unique but incredibly effective hiring model has evolved.
IDI’s hiring process isn’t flawless, but we’ve had great success hiring all-star employees who continually make the organization a better and stronger company. We’re sharing our model with you to provide ideas that could be helpful in your own hiring process.
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IDI’s Hiring Process
At IDI, we look for a certain mix of personality characteristics for each job position. We only proceed with candidates that match the profile we’re looking for, similar to the Meyers-Briggs Temperament Inventory. For example, a client account manager needs to have empathy and be able to juggle multiple priorities.
The first step in our hiring process is to send applicants an assessment, developed by AcuMax. This assessment helps determine if they have the personal qualities that are necessary for the job.
Next, we have a phone conversation. This is the typical phone interview that most companies do as a primary step. It helps us to quickly and easily identify the candidates that clearly aren’t a good fit for the position or the company.
Next we give candidates some homework, based on the job position. For sales, marketing, and account management, we might ask them to prepare a presentation related to their role.
Technical candidates take a test drive of our software product. We give them access to a dedicated site where they can play with the software and get to know it. We also give them a story problem to solve. They get all the information they need about our software and the problem, and they have free reign to play with the product and solve the problem.
This exercise gives candidates hands-on experience with the product so they can see what it’s actually like to use. We’re more interested in giving them exposure and learning about how they approach problem-solving than their actual solution to the story problem.
Later, when we have a conversation about how their job would interact with our software, they’ll have good context and a better understanding of what it involves.
The fourth phase of IDI’s hiring process is the half-day virtual interview. This thorough, four-hour conference call provides much more insight than typical interviews — for both the hiring manager and the job candidates.
For technical positions, we begin with a logic test. It’s a 30-minute paper test that’s related in some way to the position. After half an hour, the hiring manager comes back in, looks at the candidate’s work, and talks through it with them. For other positions, they are given the chance to present what they’ve prepared to the hiring manager and HR manager.
Next is a Q and A with the hiring manager. This gives the candidate a chance to get a really clear understanding of the day-to-day work they’ll be doing. They’ll learn about the team they’ll be working with, and they have the opportunity to ask questions about the job, the work culture, and anything else they want to know.
Finally, we end the visit with a traditional HR interview.
This process gives candidates a much better sense of the company, the culture and atmosphere, what it’s like to be at IDI. And we’ve found that it provides a wealth of insight about the candidate that we could never glean from a traditional hiring process.
Is Our Hiring Process Too Intense?
While IDI has adopted a very thorough interview process, you might be surprised how it’s received. We consistently hear from candidates that their IDI interview was the best one they’ve ever had. Although we ask a lot from applicants, they find the depth of the process to be rewarding, clarifying, and tremendously helpful to knowing if IDI is a good fit for them.
When we come back to the HR interview and ask, “What did you learn? Was the test drive helpful?” Typically, they reply with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” They say the process helps them to put all the pieces together.
We see the interview as more than a vetting process for skills and culture fit. We’re getting to know a person, and we hope that they’re getting to know us. What we learn from this process is meaningful and valuable, for both IDI and for the candidate.
Onboarding Remote Workers
When the pandemic began in 2020, we were just starting a new round of hiring and onboarding new people. We had to pivot quickly, because Michigan required all companies like ours to work virtually. That meant assessing and responding to new challenges in our onboarding process. We’ve learned several lessons about bringing on new people in a remote work environment.
Hire in batches
There’s a real advantage to hiring groups of people at the same time, so that they’re coming through the experience with a cohort. This way, no one is on their own trying to figure out their place within the company.
When you come onboard a new company remotely, and you’re the only new person, it’s a much different experience from onboarding in person. You’re isolated and it takes a much longer time to get acquainted with the culture and to get to know people.
But if you’re part of a cohort, your onboarding experience can be done as a group and you immediately have a community of people that you get to know quickly.
Don’t limit your recruiting
Now that we’re currently fully remote, we’ve embraced the opportunity to open up our recruiting beyond the immediate geographical area. We’ve hired some incredible people as a result.
Use an online onboarding curriculum
Last year we developed a self-paced online onboarding curriculum, called IDI Academy. IDI Academy gives new hires a standardized and holistic onboarding experience, which they can do remotely or onsite.
The curriculum keeps new hires on track as they learn the ropes. There are weekly tasks and reading material with quizzes every Friday. Their manager checks in on them every day and reviews the quizzes with them every Friday to answer any questions.
IDI Academy provides a streamlined, disciplined, and structured experience for the new hires, as well as their managers.
Recruiting and hiring is the start of a significant relationship, and it’s important to do everything you can to enter that relationship knowledgeably. Our thorough hiring process has been tremendously rewarding for IDI and for our job candidates. Hiring new employees is a major investment for both the employer and the applicants, but a thorough, purposeful approach gives you a much greater shot at eliminating wasted time and effort.