If you’ve been following our series this week—Behind the Curtain: Uncovering Amazing Search Marketers—you’ve read about each stage of our detailed hiring process. If you haven’t been following, you can check out each part of our series:

And today is Part 5: The Wrap-up! We know that every company’s hiring process is different and, therefore, every company has tips and tricks they’ve learned over the years about what has worked best for them, for their company, and their industry. At Hanapin, we’ve spent quite some time brainstorming about our process and refining it. We wanted to share our personal tips and tricks with you in hopes of helping you also uncover amazing search marketers.

On Monday, Jessica posted the introduction to our hiring process series, explaining why we do what we do and what you could expect from each post. On Tuesday, Jessica C. did an excellent job of explaining the job announcement and writing portion of our hiring process. Read through her post for all the great information she gathered. Below is a recap of some of her most important take-away points:

To Post Or Not To Post?

At Hanapin, we feel it’s best to cover all our bases, plain and simple. Here’s a sample of where we typically post our job listing:

Filter, Filter, Filter

We treat every step of our hiring process as a filtering system, right from the get-go. Even our job listing serves a two-fold purpose:

  1. Acquire applicants.
  2. See if those applicants can follow directions.

Check out Jessica C.’s post to see a sample of our job listing. In it, we give applicants very specific instructions. If they don’t follow them, they are not chosen to advance to the next round: the writing portion. Below is a list of the questions we typically ask an applicant in the round 2 writing portion:

  1. Why do you love the Internet?
  2. What’s the most challenging work problem you’ve ever encountered? What could you have done differently?
  3. Describe a situation where the workload was beginning to be too much.  How did you meet deadlines and maintain the quality of your work?
  4. What’s the single most important lesson you learned from your parents?
  5. What would make you not a good fit for (position)?

These questions not only give us insight into why the person is applying, they also give us a glimpse into their personality. We couple this Q & A list with the applicant’s resume and cover letter to help us ask the right questions in the next round…

Mm What ’cha Say?

Steve did a great job covering our telephone interview process. Here are some take-away points from his post:

  • Phone interviews are special because they give us our first real look at the communication abilities of an individual and an opportunity to hear the stories that support the resume.
  • Determining the right questions to ask is the one of the hardest things to do in preparation for the interview. You want to ask questions that encourage the candidate to reveal something important about his or herself and are not impossible to answer. Remember, the purpose of a phone interview is to find out whether or not this person is worth inviting to the next stage of the hiring process…Use it as a tool to collect information and make an informed decision about someone.
  • If you are having trouble coming up with ideas for questions, I recommend sitting down and determining what traits you value in the position you are trying to hire and then formulating topics around them. As a word of caution, it’s also important to remember that certain questions are illegal for companies to ask. If you’d like to know more about those kinds of questions and their legal alternatives, see jobinterviewquestions.org.
  • We conduct phone interviews in pairs so that a candidate gets more thorough feedback that’s from more than one perspective/opinion.

Mix & A-Mingle

The meet and greet portion of our hiring process is an office favorite. Amy did an excellent job explaining the purpose of the meet and greet. Here are some take-away portions to part 4 of our series:

  • It gives each candidate the chance to connect with everyone.
  • If we’re on the fence about people, we bring them in to the meet and greet because it’s a lot easier to gauge a person’s personality in person.  It’s a good buffer before the final interview, for one, because we are able to further narrow down the pool and, for two, sometimes we get some odd ones.
  • Conversely, the meet and greet also offers us the opportunity to show a glimpse of our personality; if the fit isn’t right, a candidate can bow out gracefully after the meet and greet, no harm no foul.
  • The final interviews take place at our office. Multiple team members are involved in the interview process for each candidate, which allows us to develop a balanced perception of how well the candidate will work with our team and within our industry.

Why We Do What We Do

Over the years we’ve worked hard to refine our hiring process, and we will continue to do so down the road. However, for now, we think our detailed process ads quite a bit of value to our company. The following are some Hanapin team members’ opinions about the value and importance of our hiring strategy:

“It allows us to truly know the people we’re hiring in a way that I don’t think people at other companies get to. I think it’s important especially for a small company that we can gauge the personalities of the people we’re hiring, so the meet and greet and in-person interview are especially valuable to us.”

-Bethany Bey, Account Executive

“You get to see, especially through the meet and greet, putting a face with a resume and seeing how people interact with various team members and that’s important. Seeing a person’s ability to follow directions…with all the specifics of each round you get to see a person’s attention to detail and that’s a big part of the industry.”

-Bryan Watson, Assistant Account Executive

“I think the main value of our long and in-depth hiring process is that it allows us to discover little pieces of information about people that don’t come out normally with the “one interview” method. And sometimes those little pieces of information that people don’t think are important to mention but that end up coming out during the various different types of interview are the most important things in determining if someone will fit with our team or be able to think in the way we need them to.”

-Jessica Niver, Account Supervisor

And That’s A Wrap!

At Hanapin, we’ve worked hard over the years to refine our hiring process. Overall, we feel it’s quite effective right now, but we’ll certainly continue to refine it down the road. We have learned some valuable lessons along the way, and we are thrilled to have been able to share our hiring process with you, as it now stands, through this series. We hope we’ve helped. Happy Hiring!