The Key to This Twitter Manager’s Interviewing Approach? Clearly Defined Rubrics!
As a hiring manager, one should have a set of rubrics for the interview process, says Mallika Rao, Software Engineering Manager at Twitter. A well-structured set can help you to hire great talent. In the absence of defined rubrics, people default to their own criteria to assess candidates.
Rao goes further by elaborating her approach to hiring:
Clear rubrics make the hiring process more uniform
Rao believes that well-defined rubrics make the hiring process consistent. “If you have the rubrics and the call structure in place, and you know how you’re going to sell the vision, goals, or inflection points in the product, you’ll be able to get a lot more out of that call,” she explains.
Rao also says that candidates should have a good idea of the team before they go on-site. “Leaders and hiring managers,” she says, “should provide candidates with relevant information and get them excited about the team.”
Managers should be mindful of the levels they’re hiring for
For example, software engineering has various levels, software engineer 1, senior software engineer, etc. Leaders need to tune their questions for each of these levels carefully. Before the interview, they should mull over points like: Do they have a variety of questions for different roles? How do they level them? How do they write reviews?
Setting the correct expectations and calibrating the panel that can evaluate candidates for each level is equally important. “If the company is in a position to think about it, topgrading can be a good idea,” Rao adds. Topgrading is a 12-step hiring process designed to identify top talent from a pool of candidates for a particular position, even before hiring managers have had a chance to see them in action. Unlike standard behavioral interviews, topgrading helps make informed and evidence-based recruiting decisions rather than solely basing them on job applications.
As a leader, you must develop an interview process that gives you strong signals about the candidate. Then, once you have the cues, make your decisions using the rubric. “It goes a long way in having quick huddles to decide with the interview team if it’s a hire or a no-hire. It really helps the candidate and the team,” Rao explains.
At times, it is okay to override decisions
In an effort not to upset others, leaders might avoid tough decisions. Unfortunately, these delays do more damage than whatever fallout leaders are trying to avoid.
On a similar note, Rao says that it’s okay for managers to override decisions. Even when the team says ‘no’ democratically, the manager might have good reasons to go ahead and close the hire; they might know something the team does not. However, managers need to keep in mind that they have limited matchsticks to burn. Their decisions can impact the team’s trust. And so, they need to be conscious of how they’re making decisions and keep the process as organized as possible.
Managers must understand that hiring is not a general solution. Depending on the organization or vertical they are hiring for, they need to employ different hiring strategies. Though being mindful, flexible, and unbiased help, managers must be clear about what they’re looking for in a candidate. In addition, leaders should know the expectations of both the candidate and the organization well before making any hiring decision.
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