Step 3 in Transforming Your Hiring Method: The Power of Google Docs & Forms

Michele Richman | December 5, 2018

One of the lesser known but equally important ways to transform a company’s hiring method is to create a uniform process to disseminate all of the important data from the 4-Part WHO Interviews detailed in Step One: Planning & Processes and Step Two: The Scorecard & Core Values Integration of Lawline’s Transforming Your Hiring Method series. This article details Lawline’s third step in transforming our hiring method; using Google documents and forms to record and share all important information about candidates.

Organization plays one of the largest roles in a successful hiring process, and can reduce time inefficiencies and redundancy in each interview. Lawline’s utilization of Google forms and docs has drastically improved our hiring process. Prior to using these shared docs, each person would take handwritten notes on a candidate’s resume, which may have been effective in jogging their own memory of a candidate, but there was no easy way to share that feedback with others. This led to candidates being asked many of the same questions by various team members, thereby creating a repetitive experience for the candidate. It also would prevent us from learning enough new information that could demonstrate whether someone had the requisite background and experience to succeed in the position.

The Screening Interview

Soon after Lawline embraced Geoff Smart and Randy Street’s book, Who: The A Method for Hiring, we realized that our old method of tracking information would not work for this detailed 4-Part Interview Process. Therefore, the first thing we did was create a Google form for Part I of the Interview Process, The Screening Interview. The Screening Interview allows employers to determine whether a candidate speaks with passion and energy about their experience and goals, and as such would be a good fit for a company’s culture. As this initial conversation takes place over the phone, it is easy for the interviewer to type the candidate’s responses into the form in real time. The form contains the following four questions for the candidate:  

1) What are your career goals?

2) What are you really good at professionally?

3) What are you not good at or not interested in doing professionally?

4) Who were your last five bosses and how will they each rate your performance on a 1-10 scale when we talk to them?

In addition, it contains these three important questions for the interviewer:

1) Do this person's strengths match my scorecard?

2) Are weaknesses manageable?

3) Am I thrilled about bringing this person in for a series of interviews based on the data I have?

After completing the call, a member of our Business Operations team reviews the answers in a Google sheet that feeds directly from The Screening Interview form, and is able to ascertain whether or not to bring the candidate back for Part II of the Interview Process, The Chronological Interview. Tip: If the answer to any of these three questions is no, do not move forward. You’ll save yourself a lot of time down the line.

The Chronological Interview

The Chronological Interview demonstrates the power of using data and patterns of behavior for making predictions about how a candidate is likely to perform in the future at an organization. In preparation for The Chronological Interview, we create a One Pager summarizing the first interview for the next set of interviewers. The One Pager includes notes from The Screening Interview; the candidate’s current employment status; their career goals; their thoughts on their professional strengths and weaknesses; and what they aren’t interested in doing. Thereafter, all team members who conduct this 2nd interview receive a printed Google doc template which lists the following questions about 4-5 times depending on how much experience the candidate has listed on their resume: 

Position: _____
Company: _____
What were you hired to do?: _____
What was your biggest accomplishment?: _____
What was your low point?: _____
What would your manager say about your:

Strengths: _____
Weaknesses: _____

Why did you leave?: _____

There are always 2 team members in this 2nd interview, one who asks the questions, and the other who records all answers on the printed template. After the interview has concluded, these handwritten responses are given to a member or our Business Operations team who records them into a Google document preparing the next set of interviewers.

This third Google doc is called “Preparation for The Focused Interview.” It includes everything from the Screening Interview One Pager, as well as the answers to every question asked during the Chronological Interview. This consolidated document allows a team member who had not participated in any of the earlier interviews to review it, feel as if they had lived through the entire process, and now ascertain any outstanding concerns that need to be addressed in the third interview.

The Focused Interview

The Focused Interview allows interviewers to learn about a candidate’s past experiences as it relates specifically to a position’s outcomes and competencies. For example, interviewers can determine whether individuals have the requisite experience in selling, strategic planning, acting aggressively and persistently, or whatever else is required for the role. The Focused Interview usually includes 4-6 team members who are split into two separate groups. Each team member is assigned at least one outcome and competency from the Job Scorecard, and asks the candidate the following two questions about each:

What are your biggest accomplishments in this area during your career?
What are your insights into your biggest mistakes and lessons learned in this area?

After the Focused Interview, all interviewers fill out the Job Scorecard with a rating on how each candidate would perform with respect to a specific outcome and competency, which helps to determine whether the individual would be successful in the position. If the answer to that question is yes, the candidate moves on to the 4th part of the Interview, The Reference Interview.

The Reference Interview

With The Reference Interview, we once again return to using the Google form, and the Hiring Managers will call former employers and ask:

What were the person's biggest strengths?
What were the person's biggest areas of improvement?
If we hire them, how can we help them grow?
How would you rate their performance in that job on a 1-10 scale?
What about their performance causes you to give that rating?
This person mentioned that they struggled with [a weakness expressed in the chronological interview] in that job- can you tell me more about that?

This last question is always the most important part of the reference check because it gives us the opportunity to learn whether an individual and their former supervisor shared the same views on their struggles, and how they did or did not overcome those struggles in their former position.

The integration of Google docs and forms into our interview process has not only helped us better track all of the important details on each candidate, it has made the experience much more enjoyable for Lawliners who were meeting with the prospective employees. Those in the Chronological and Focused Interviews were already equipped with so much information on the candidate’s background and skills that they were then able to focus on the candidate’s core value fit and ability to be successful at Lawline. As a result, using the docs and forms in every step of the Hiring Process has allowed us to hire more “A” players than ever before, which in turn has contributed to the growth of our other employees and the company as a whole.

To learn more about Lawline’s experience in transforming its hiring process, watch VP of Business Operations, Michele Richman’s interview with Julia Pimsleur as part of Julia’s Million Dollar Women’s Master Class, in which she teaches female entrepreneurs how to create a strategic plan to get to $1M in revenue faster, and how to increase sales via more effective marketing, outsourcing and planning, among other important business lessons.


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