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💌 The initial conversation

How you approach this part of the hiring process will fall somewhere on a spectrum, with you trying to filter out people who ‘aren’t good enough’ on one end and ‘convincing people that your company is the best’ on the other.

We can distinguish between the following when it comes to the initial conversation between you and a developer:

  • The screening chat
  • The sales chat

Considering this in the broader context of tech hiring in its current state, your aim should be to adopt more of a selling mindset. There are potentially a host of other competing organisations all trying to tap into the same talent pool as you are. If you’re not making an effort to convince developers of why they should choose to work with you, you’ll quickly start losing out to companies who are.

Your goal should be to maximise knowledge on both sides of the table. Developers should walk away knowing as much as possible about the work you do, and you need to know whether they’ll be able to make an impact on your team.

The screening chat

A typical screening chat helps you qualify whether the developer is good enough to proceed to the next stage of the interview process. This kind of conversation typically revolves around getting as much information from them as possible.

The types of questions asked during this kind of interaction will usually be focussed around the developer's educational background, their past work experience and filling in any gaps that were left after reading their profile.

It’s also very important to provide an opportunity towards the end for the person you’re talking to to ask any questions that they might have.

While this approach can give you a great deal of information in a relatively short amount of time, it can easily leave developers feeling like they’ve just sat through an interrogation and will potentially do very little to promote a positive candidate experience.

The sales chat

A sales call helps you sell the role, the company and its mission, as well as the interview process itself — as opposed to looking for reasons to filter somebody out.

Getting buy-in like this is extra important if your hiring process has multiple steps.

It’s optimistic to assume that developers can take time off from their current job to complete multiple steps, such as a 3-hour tech assessment followed by a panel interview. For a lengthier hiring process, extra work is needed on your end to sell the idea that working for your company and being on your team is worth that effort.

This should generally be the strategy that you adopt if you’re trying to build a hiring process that promotes a positive candidate experience. Remember that there’s nothing wrong with asking a few questions during a chat like this, as long as you keep in mind that it’s just as important to sell the role and your company to the person you’re talking to.

How to combine the two approaches

At OfferZen, our screening interview incorporates the sales chat, striking a balance between gathering information and selling the role and company mission to candidates. Read more about our approach here, and get example questions to cover in the interview.

More resources

Creating a lasting impression of your company is even more crucial in a remote context. Read more on how you should approach employer branding, and selling candidates on what matters remotely.