We just finished up hiring for our Customer Hero position. I thought I’d break down our process. We’ve had some great results from the process and hopefully it’ll help you when you decide to hire your next employee(s).
The More People You Interview The Better
We’ve learned that the more people you interview the better your final candidates. Filtering based on resumes or applications down to just a select few gives random results. Instead we do a one pass filter using a written application and then we do a whole lot of phone interviews and quite a few in person interviews. Here’s what it looks like by the numbers:
- 900 visitors to the customer hero job description and application. We posted to craigslist, Facebook, and twitter.
- 158 people filled out our fairly lengthy application.
- 79 applicants were invited to schedule a phone interview.
- But only 64 actually scheduled phone interviews.
- Out of 64 ten minute phone interviews we passed 21 candidates and invited them to interview in person.
- Out of 20 in person interviews; 11 failed, 4 failed but were kept on a possible future hires list, 3 were asked back for a second in person interview, 1 was so outstanding they were hired on the spot.
- We had a second in person interview and had a clear winner out of the 3 we asked back.
The Written Application
The first step is a written application. It helps us filter out people who:
- Don’t write well.
- Can’t find information on our website.
- Expect a pay range that doesn’t align with the job.
We are pretty lenient with how we filter these application. As I said before we error on the side of interviewing more people over the phone.
The Phone Interview
This interview is very short. We give about 10 minutes for each interview. Often it’s over in 1 minute because the interviewee failed one of our first few questions.
We are looking for a few things in the phone interview:
- Do they know who we are and what we do (at a high level)?
- Excellent phone presence and personality.
- Pay range, full time, when can they start (we don’t want to move on to the in person interview if any of these don’t line up).
See my blog post Why You Failed Your Phone Interview: The Harsh Truth from last year.
In Person Interview
This is a pretty quick interview like the phone interview. We ask pretty standard interview questions. What are we looking for in this interview?
- Personality: I’m looking for someone that is easy to talk to, has a positive attitude, and generally makes people feel good.
- Wants to do the job we are hiring for: We need to see that you’ll be happy doing the job we are hiring for. It’s great if you have ambitions about the future but we don’t want to hire someone that won’t be happy until they move up.
- Isn’t in it just for the perks. Yes we have fun at MerchantOS. But if the only reason you’re interested in the job is because it’s a ‘hoot’ working here it doesn’t instill a lot of confidence that you can do a great job and work hard. We are a business.
- Technical ability; we don’t have very strict technical knowledge/skill requirements but we do want you to be familiar with computers and technology in general.
- Can take the heat. Doing phone support can be a stressful job. We want to see that you handle stress well. Everyone gets nervous in an in person interview, but some people handle that better than others.
At this point we either fail, hire, or ask back to a second in person interview.
Meet The Team: 2nd In Person Interview
If we can’t decide between a couple great candidates we’ll ask them back for another in person interview. In this interview we basically have the candidate go around to members of the support team and ask some questions (provided). We then get a sense for what the group thinks. Usually there is a clear preference for one candidate over the others from the group. This part of the process is more a “we could hire any of these people but we can only hire one” filter. I’m happy with who ever the group chooses.
A Long Process But We Get The Cream Of The Crop
This whole process took us 2 months: from posting the job to getting the new people in. That’s a long haul, but it’s worth it. In the end I know our support team is made up of some really awesome people. They are the top 5% (or better) of job seekers.
Welcome Aboard: Heather and Zach
We’ll introduce our new team members in more detail in a few weeks. But we are stoked to have Heather and Zach joining the team.
Want Our Interview Questions For Your Hiring Process?
I’m happy to share our interview questions and job application if you are hiring. I don’t like to share them on the web publicly because our next round of candidates may read them and distort our process. But I’m happy to share them with other employers.