Making the right hire can take a lot of time and effort, but companies are increasingly willing to put in the extra hours to avoid a costly hiring mistake. The average length of job interviews has nearly doubled in less than a decade, rising from 13 days in 2010 to 24 days in 2017.
For Finder.com, the personal finance comparison website, the process is especially time-consuming. Before getting a job offer, prospective employees must undergo as many as 10 rounds of interviews as well as a battery of written and standardized tests.
But the extra effort is worth it, says Jon Brodsky, Finder’s U.S. country manager, because of the deep insights it gives into job candidates.
“Our goal is to get to the heart of who someone is rather than just how they present themselves,” he says.
Best practices for hiring
Finder has operated out of Australia for more than a decade and launched in 2015 in the U.S. So far, Brodsky has mainly focused on staffing writers and editors—a challenge in New York City, the media capital of the world, where Finder’s U.S. operation is based.
“The type of people we need to continue growing our business are driven, tenacious, passionate and super smart,” Brodsky says. “The people we hire are very gritty. They are willing to roll up their sleeves and work hard to achieve a goal.”
In addition to grit, Brodsky looks for candidates who possess empathy. “We tend to ask a lot of open questions in the interview process that challenge people about what’s going on in the world—especially in the financial world,” Brodsky notes.
Because Finder provides financial advice, candidates are questioned about, and at times challenged on, their assumptions about a wide range of topics, especially if they have prior financial expertise. What do they think about home loans? How worthwhile is investing in the stock market?
Having empathy is crucial, says Brodsky, because Finder’s culture embraces a deep understanding of the personal emotions involved in clients’ financial decisions.
“While skill, particularly in the fast-moving fintech industry, is particularly important, I tend to hire more based on cultural fit, ” Brodsky says.
It takes a village
Finder’s interview process is a group effort. During a battery of interviews, candidates speak with a variety of employees, from senior managers to junior-level employees.
As candidates progress, the Finder team voices concerns and others respond with input based on their own interviews.
“If they feel that the candidate may have been disingenuous at some point during the interview, we make sure the next interviewer hits hard on that same point,” Brodsky says.
This multi-person process reflects the team-driven culture at Finder. Conducting two-on-one interviews, widely distributing candidates’ writing samples and discussing concerns in a group setting helps Brodsky hone in a candidate’s true self and ensures the Finder team is all on the same page about the hire.
The value of authenticity
The common thread through all Finder interviews is authenticity. Interviewers are encouraged to be candid about the company, and they expect interviewees to be genuine in how they answer questions and present themselves.
While Brodsky doesn’t set out to give candidates a hard time, he won’t shy away from putting the pressure on if he feels someone isn’t keeping it real or if contradictions arise between interviews.
Sometimes pressure serves a real purpose.
“I want to know how they’ll respond in a high-pressure situation,” says Brodsky.
But his main goal is to really get to know each prospective hire.
“I design my interview questions to draw out specific qualities I am looking for in candidates,” Brodsky explains. “I opt for behavioral rather than technical questions, since a test or trial will confirm skill levels pretty quickly.”
While this intensive interview process eliminates 90 percent of those who start it, it seems to be working for the Finder team. Brodsky says morale is high and turnover is low.
“No one thinks the process is easy, but it ends up creating a good crew and a good atmosphere,” Brodsky says. “We’d rather spend the time to hire the right person.”