Automation Removes the Pain from Candidate Interview Scheduling

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer March 26, 2018
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​Free up your recruiters' valuable time and boost candidate experience with software that automates and syncs participants' back-and-forth when scheduling interviews.

Candidate interview scheduling is one of the most fundamental steps in an organization's hiring process, and a tedious, chaotic manual system is a logistical nightmare for recruiters and leaves candidates with a terrible first impression.

"Coordinating both candidates' and the interview team's busy, always-changing schedules is a universal pain point for recruiters," said Steve Tiufekchiev, chief evangelist at Chicago-based recruiting software company Yello. Manual scheduling can lead to delays due to hiring managers' not returning e-mails and candidates' dynamic schedules, he added.

"The hardest thing is the constant juggling," said Lin Lin Phan, talent operations manager at MuleSoft, a technology firm in San Francisco. "People don't have their calendars up to date, or they cancel and reschedule constantly. Things happen, and we're the ones who have to step in and find a replacement interviewer before it has a negative effect on the candidate's experience."

She added that the process is also very error prone, especially when dealing with a high volume of candidates and positions. "A typo or not paying attention to time zones can result in people showing up hours early or late, a completely awful experience for all involved."

Interview scheduling is critical because it's one of the first experiences the candidate has with an employer and one of the first opportunities to make a good impression. "Too much rescheduling to accommodate a hiring manager's schedule, and it becomes incredibly frustrating—candidates will fall out of the process or take an offer elsewhere where interviewing is prioritized," said Danielle Weinblatt, the founder and CEO of New York City-based recruiting automation software company ConveyIQ. "You can imagine how disrespected candidates feel when the interview takes too long to set up or is constantly being rescheduled."

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Scheduling with Ease

Automation tools streamline the laborious parts of the scheduling process. "Interview-scheduling software helps eliminate back-and-forth e-mails and time-intensive phone calls, allows the hiring team to view upcoming interview schedules in real time, and lets them spend more time sourcing and engaging with candidates," Tiufekchiev said.

Benefits include increased recruiter efficiency and productivity, reduced time to fill a position, and an enhanced candidate experience because they can self-schedule and reschedule interviews from any device.

The process is simple: Once a candidate is selected for the screening process, recruiters provide candidates with available time slots to schedule interviews by e-mail or SMS message. "The tool goes through all the interviewers' online calendars and digests their availability in real time," said Ahryun Moon, the CEO and co-founder of interview-scheduling platform GoodTime, based in San Francisco. "And recruiters can access both the candidates' and interview team's schedules to set multiple interviews at once and quickly make real-time changes."

A variety of interviews, including phone screens, onsite panel interviews and video interviews, can be set up with all the participants' calendars, Weinblatt added. "When a change must be made, like when a certain hiring manager can no longer make the panel interview, the system is smart enough to assign the time to another hiring manager who's free—without the recruiter getting involved."

The system automatically confirms the interviews and syncs with the applicant tracking system, and reminder notifications go out to candidates and interviewers by e-mail or text.

What to Look for in Interview-Scheduling Software

A variety of interview-scheduling tools exist, including robust platforms like ConveyIQ, GoodTime and Yello, to free, basic tools like Calendly. One of the latest InMail features for LinkedIn Recruiter lets candidates reserve a time based on calendar availability without leaving the site.

Considerations to make when shopping for interview-scheduling software include:

  • Connectivity to your calendar and integration with your applicant tracking system.
  • The number of employees who will be using it. Some platforms set a fixed price up to a certain number of employees, while others charge per user.
  • The complexity of your typical interviews. Job interviews are not like regular meetings and scheduling tech needs to be able to accommodate multiple interview formats, including one-on-ones, group interviews, back-to-back interviews and round robin scenarios setting up hiring teams based on who's available, Weinblatt said. "Most tools are amazing at booking a one-to-one meeting but are not made for more complex interview use cases," Moon said. "There are so many different nuances and small details that need to be right."
  • The capability to easily reschedule. "More than 50 percent of scheduled interviews are rescheduled," Moon said. "The tool must be good at picking alternative interviewers on short notice."

Some features to consider include:

  • Automatic reminders. Reminders are automatically sent to all parties before an interview. "You can personalize them, set the frequency and day and time of the week, and attach employer or candidate information to it," Weinblatt said. "You can include a checklist, links, directions to the office, an assessment, a candidate profile."
  • Availability preferences. Organizers and interviewers can set availability and block off unavailable times. "Certain mechanisms could be put in place, such as immovable interview blocks on the hiring manager's calendar, which could only be lifted by calling up the recruiter," Weinblatt said. "A two-step action to cancel something makes you much more accountable."
  • Device syncing. Any new interview, update or note is automatically synced across all devices.
  • Meeting room booking. Organizers can specify meeting room locations.
  • The option to demo the product before purchase.
  • Live support and resources for users.
  • Metrics. "If the tool can provide rich metrics around process efficiency and hold interviewers accountable, you can drastically improve the overall process," Moon said, adding, "It's one of our most popular features."

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