My 3 Stage Process for Hiring Great People

How I Hire
Photo by Luca Bravo / Unsplash

We're needing some more people to fulfil key roles as we scale with demand. I'm documenting what that process looks like, so I thought I'd share wider and see if it's valuable.

Ultimately, I'll pick the best person for the job, but what criteria do I use and what does that process look like?

The Problem

Until now, I didn't have a process. I'd share an advert, gain a few applicants, filter them down to a shortlist and have a few chats until I found the golden candidate.

That's not a great way to hire for the following reasons:

  • you can't communicate the process to new applicants
  • the process could span months!
  • ...and as a hiring manager, you're not having the opportunity to compare and contrast candidates

My 3 Stage Interview Process

Quite simply, I now:

  1. have an initial 30 minute call
  2. conduct a longer interview with demonstration of the role
  3. a final call with myself and the owner

Stage 1: Initial 30 minute call

More often than not, I put a job ad on LinkedIn. Why? Because where people are searching for roles! I invite them to a 30 minute call to really do two things:

  • answer any questions they may have about the job description
  • clarify their experience from their application

Now, taking a look behind the curtain, we would then make a decision whether we should take their application to the next stage. Part of the reason here is to remove any candidates that applied in error (yes, this does happen, even with our best efforts!). The other part is simply time. The more candidates you advance, the more time you have to invest later, so even at this stage, we are indeed editing our shortlist.

I know this to be pretty usual, having gone through a number of interview processes myself!

When we have candidates that we can advance, we invite them to the next stage, and set a challenge.

Stage 2: Longer interview with demonstration of the role

Whilst we are a remote business, we're looking to build a base in London (initially I thought it was going to be Manchester - maybe later!). With this stage, we invite candidates to meet us in person, but can accommodate as a remote session where we need to.

Taking a good hour, we talk about the state of the business and start engaging in more of a thoughtful conversation. Through this, I'm understanding whether the candidate has done their homework and whether they understand the challenges we have as a business.

The second part is down to them. We set a challenge, dependent on the job role we are talking about. This can typically be:

  • Design Manager: How can we make our project plan more flexible to a client that needs branding?
  • Product Designer: Demonstrate a product you've designed, including the stages you went through and highlight the problem or key decision point within it

I've recently been made aware that some companies provide payment for these challenges - it's something that I'm investigating for our use case.

At the end of this session, myself and my colleague will talk about how the candidate performed. We accept that this is a strange environment, but you still have a feeling and have formed an opinion about a candidate. We then decide whether to advance them to the next stage.

This is a good time to request references and check them out!

Stage 3: A final call with myself and the owner

Ultimately, I believe the owner needs to be confident that the right team members are joining the company. I also believe that from the candidate, they get to see a key stakeholder that will be part of their journey with us as an employer.

Also, it's their money we're spending!

I admit, I haven't got to this stage yet in this hiring process, but really - at this stage, we've decided that we should hire the candidate(s) and this is really just that final check.


How does that compare with your process? And did you learn anything new here? I'd love to hear from you!