Better Interviewing… Better Results


Most companies today are looking for a hiring edge. The spring competition for top talent in the land title insurance, settlement services and appraisal space is heating up fast and mastering a smooth and efficient interview process today, may help lead to better long term hiring results for your organization. To that end, we have outlined four simple tips + a bonus that you can use today to get the most out of each new interview.

1. You have two objectives in the first interview. First, at the most basic level, you must verify the candidate’s credentials and assess their skillset. If the position calls for concrete qualifications, don’t be afraid to ask the candidate to elaborate on specific examples rather than relying on easily fudged yes or no answers. Learn as much as possible about the candidate, assess their full skillset. Unfortunately, it can become easy to fixate on only the surface level, thereby taking a shallow dive into only that part of the candidate’s depth of experience.

Next, the first interview is really the best time to begin developing a comprehensive feel for the candidate’s personality or culture fit with your group. To the extent that it is possible, verifying cultural fit is arguably one of the most important pre-hire items to understand. You must determine whether or not a culture fit exists between the candidate and your organization or within a smaller team subset. If they do not fit your environment…don’t hire them! It may be a short relationship and turnover can hit your bottom line hard. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, the average cost to replace an employee is roughly 20 percent of their annual salary!

2. Allow the candidate to verify position and cultural fit from his or her perspective.  When it comes to recruiting talent, it is imperative to demonstrate your organization’s value and how you can help align candidate and organizational goals. To do this, you must ask pointed questions to understand why the conversation is happening in the first place. The majority of people take an “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” approach to their professional lives. Whether it is a change in culture, a shift in responsibilities, or the desire to secure a larger role…understanding the candidate’s motivation to look for opportunity outside of their current organization is vital to discovering if your group is the right environment for them.

Frankly, this is your time to shine. If the candidate has the technical ability, they seem to fit your culture and they have legitimate reasons to pursue a new opportunity, be sure to highlight what you bring to the table and how it may benefit the candidate to join your team. An easily overlooked aspect of the interviewing process is ensuring that the candidate understands that your group can deliver what they want. Often, the very best candidates are interviewing you as much, or more so, than you are interviewing them! Therefore, consider tailoring your selling points to the individual candidate. Do you have a promotion they want? Can you compensate them commensurately relative to their value? Do you provide a remote program or flexible schedule to accommodate personal needs? Convey and emphasize your group’s strengths that may address these points! Help paint the picture of what the symbiotic relationship will look like moving forward and help the candidate see why joining you may be the best move for them.

3. Don’t talk about the Benjamins! It is imperative that you first establish your group’s value and also allow the candidate to establish their value. Getting to the money conversation too quickly can polarize both parties and kill an otherwise good deal. If the candidate does bring up money on the first meeting (BTW, this is probably a bad sign), it is best to let them know that you appreciate the question and would be happy to get into that at the next meeting. This strategy will ultimately put you in a better position to negotiate and most importantly, will allow you and the candidate to focus on verifying opportunity and culture fit. Once money gets injected into the conversation, this is very difficult to accomplish. AFTER it looks like both parties want to do business, then you may tactfully engage in the money conversation at the proper pace.

4. Be Clear about the Next Steps. Toward the end of the conversation, it is best to clearly communicate anticipated next steps and be explicit about what you will do and what you expect the candidate to do. If you are not clear on the next steps or need to think about the best strategy in terms of proceeding, it is best to share with the candidate that you would like to let the conversation settle in and that you will be in touch ASAP. We often hear from the candidate pool that some employers are not great about following up and letting them know what is happening. It is more than understandable that hiring decisions often take some time to sort themselves out. That said, be sure to set your candidates’ expectations with an anticipated time frame and be sure to follow up and close the loop if you are going in a different direction. Ultimately, this will create a better candidate experience and help create and maintain a healthy organizational perception with potential future recruits.

Bonus Tip – Keep an open mind and an eye to the future! We can think of numerous occasions when our clients spoke with a candidate that may not have exactly fit the role at hand only to deem that candidate a great fit for another role or developed a whole new opportunity specific to them. If someone comes to the table with a skillset that might be better suited on another part of your team, you may have stumbled upon proverbial gold. Essentially, you can redirect talent as necessary for additional hires that will ultimately save you future interviewing time and energy, thereby mitigating opportunity cost from an otherwise vacant role.

In closing, following these simple tips can help provide bedrock on which to structure a smooth and efficient interview process. You may certainly build upon the framework we discussed by adding your own organizational touch and style. As you know, the competition to find and land good candidates is intense in the title insurance and appraisal space. The initial interview creates a valuable first impression and you know what they say about those!

Should you have any questions, please feel free to visit our website and one of our team members will be happy to hear your thoughts.