Talent Selection – Part 1: Interviewing Crosscheck

“Flight attendants, prepare for arrival and crosscheck.” I have heard that over the aircraft cabin PA systems for years and thought that it had something to do with counting people. I remember eons ago on school outings teachers would walk down the aisle of the school bus and count heads to make sure the number of heads that got back on the bus was the same number of heads that got off. On a recent flight it suddenly dawned on me: Nobody got off. We have been at 33,000 feet so somebody would have noticed. I asked myself, “I wonder what that announcement means.” I didn’t have a clue so I looked it up… how did we pass our time before onboard WiFi? It turns out that prepare for arrival or departure is a coded reminder to disarm or arm the automatic emergency escape slides attached to the doors. Crosscheck is a generic term used by the airlines meaning that one person has verified the task of another. I’m somehow comforted by knowing that they do that.

So what does this have to do with interviewing? Well, nothing if you want to continue to be haphazard and casual about the candidate experience. If you thought that you took care of candidate communication by sending them a standard robotic email response to tell them you are not interested or had a temp admin call them for an interview, then you are comfortably in the majority of corporate recruiting people who miss the point. There are no exploding doors that can damage personnel and equipment in the recruiting process, but there are factors that can bring down a recruiting brand.

  • Prepare for Arrival – There must be assigned responsibility for the handling of candidates prior to their interview. This can be delegated to a trusted agent, often a capable administrative assistant, but the accountability for each point in the process remains a function of the hiring manager… NOT someone in HR or a recruiter. Just as incorporating a new employee into the team is ultimately the responsibility of management, the selection of talent to add to the team begins there as well. A key step in preparation is to give the contact information of the host and interview team to the candidate prior to appearing on the doorstep.
  • Crosscheck – There must be oversight to the process, most likely HR/Staffing professionals, but the standard procedures for handling interviews is more likely to succeed with team members checking on each other. Every schedule should be considered tentative until it is clear that it will happen as planned. It should not be a surprise during the middle of the interview schedule that a key player is out sick for the day. Filling gaps and arranging for a fluid transition from one point to another is better when it is done by peer cooperation rather than assuming it will just happen. Everyone checking is better than leaving it to chance that nobody is checking.

I hate checklists, but insuring that all the participants know the expectations from them during a candidate’s visit should probably be in writing and provided to everyone on the interview panel. It may seem intuitive, but leave nothing to chance and outline the minimum standards:

  • For Candidates – Detailed driving instructions including parking availability or travel arrangements must be given well in advance of the interview. If there is a security requirement to gain access to the facility, include that in the preliminary instructions. Their pre-interview package should include their scheduled agenda and a copy of the job description if possible.
  • For Interview Team – Each member needs to know the time and location of the interview and their responsibility to insure that it flows smoothly. Don’t assume that they know the job description or criteria for them to evaluate candidates without discussing it with them. The candidate’s resume is a mandatory homework assignment before it begins.

Before you discard this thought as unnecessary, remember that somebody will always touch the wall in spite of the wet paint sign. It is too important to let it fail, so insure its success. “Interviewers, prepare for arrival and crosscheck!”

Image credit: racorn / 123RF Stock Photo