Alex Cheney On Revolutionizing The Interview Process With Inclusivity And Efficiency

Here’s what companies can do to enhance the interview process to source out those sought-after “unicorns”, courtesy of Recruiting Consultant Alex Cheney, Founder of A Little Bit Alex.

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The long and short of it is that today’s hiring process is subpar. Think about how many times you’ve gone on to hire a candidate and been overwhelmed by the large stack of resumes and cover letters towering on your desk. Sifting through each one is a very time-consuming and daunting task.

Not to mention, current interview methods are not as inclusive or efficient as they should be. Industry leaders with busy schedules spend hours sitting in on and conducting interviews when they could be channeling their energy elsewhere. For candidates, the process doesn’t always provide an experience that reflects the heart and soul of the company.

Both employees and employers deserve something better. That’s why it’s time to revolutionize the interview process, something Alex Cheney, Founder of recruiting firm A Little Bit Alex, is well versed in. With passions for “creating amazing candidate experiences, creating processes that are scalable for growing businesses, and finding candidates for niche roles—all through the lens of inclusion,” he says, Cheney is a rare find when it comes to more traditional recruiters. 

He shares how companies can level up their hiring process to make it more inclusive and efficient for all, and in the process, find “unicorns”—what Cheney refers to as candidates that check every box off a list of niche (and often varied) skills:

Streamlining the Process

Oftentimes, a candidate will go through multiple different interviews and meet with various people from the organization in a process that can be draining and time-consuming for everyone involved.

“I’ve been in interview processes myself, where suddenly I think I’m at the end of it and then another person’s added and another person’s added,” says Cheney. “That happens a lot, especially in the earlier stage startups. Leaders have this idea that if the new hire is going to be interacting with all these people, they need to get them in front of everybody,” he continues.

But, Cheney explains it’s not feasible. Instead, he highlights the importance of getting everybody on the same page before starting the interview process. “If the hire is expected to interact with 13 different people for their job, let’s get all 13 people together in a room to talk about what each of them needs from this person.” 

Doing it this way sets appropriate expectations from the get-go, giving one or a few people the opportunity to gauge if a candidate is the right fit.

“I’ve helped some organizations do that as well. It takes some of the pressure off of senior leaders who have so many more important things to do than interviewing, and instead brings that responsibility to some of the middle management or team leaders who are really capable from a skills perspective and are the ones who are hands-on in it every day,” he says.

“I’ve seen that strategy work really well, where the leader can come in at the end to make the final decision, and that way the leader or the CEO or whoever it is won’t be spread thin across all these interviews.”

Fostering Inclusivity 

With experience creating a DEI strategy and launching an organization’s first ERG (employee resource group), fostering inclusivity is at the heart of what Cheney and his recruitment agency stand for. 

However, inclusivity in the workplace has many layers; it involves creating an environment where every person is respected, valued, and given the opportunity to thrive. Cheney underscores the importance of encouraging open dialogue, sharing how candidates who ask questions and engage in meaningful conversations can allow you to get to know them and the diversity of their experiences better. 

“It’s interesting because there are some people that believe asking questions for some reason is negative. And to me, I think that’s super positive. You’re thinking about things already. You’re curious. I can tell that your wheels are turning. I can tell that you want to be here,” he says. 

Gone are the days of a rigid, one-size-fits-all approach to interviews. While certain elements like “culture fit” questions are important, Cheney highlights the need for flexibility and adaptability, especially in today’s evolving job market. He emphasizes the importance of tailoring the interview framework to accommodate the unique requirements of different roles. 

“If you think about it, what are the questions that every single candidate gets asked, regardless of the role or level?” asks Cheney.  “A lot of times those are the ‘culture fit’ type of questions.”

Cheney believes those types of questions are necessary to ensure that candidates align with the company’s values and ethos. However, he also recognizes the diversity of roles within an organization and the need to cater to specific skill sets and competencies.

For instance, in technical roles such as engineering, live coding sessions may be required to gauge a candidate’s skill level. Similarly, researchers and designers may be required to showcase their past work through case studies or portfolios. These tailored assessments provide a more accurate reflection of a candidate’s capabilities and potential contributions to your company.

If organizations genuinely want to help each person they hire to be their best, shape their strengths, and thrive in an environment where all employees are encouraged, then the interview process can—and should—change. 

Companies must put inclusivity, efficiency, and flexibility at the core of their process.

To learn more about revolutionizing the interview process with Alex Cheney, visit his website today.

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