This is Part II of our series on a better hiring process. To read Part I, please visit the AlphaStaff blog.

You met with stakeholders, you properly selected a few promising applicants and you’re ready to hold in-person interviews. You’ve come a long way in your path to hiring a new team member, but there’s plenty of work still to come.

The interview itself serves not only as a tool for choosing the right candidate but also to provide more context and understanding for both parties. Because once you finalize your choice, the next few steps are essential for making sure the on-boarding process is smooth and successful.

Here’s Part II of what a better hiring process looks like and how to achieve the best results:

Take the time to develop thoughtful interview questions
The quality of the questions asked during an in-person interview is linked to how much you can learn from an applicant. If the person conducting the session has limited experience or you use a pre-written, outdated set of questions, you lose an opportunity to properly gauge a candidate’s potential. Craft questions that aren’t just specific to the job in question but that are open-ended. stated that second or third interviews are a time for you to share more about your business and mission. Use an initial meeting to really see what a candidate has to offer.

Let the applicant do the talking
Short, leading questions may lead to boring, formulaic answers. In turn, this will make an interview minimally informative and overall less helpful.

“Short, leading questions may lead to boring, formulaic answers.”

Ask detailed questions related to achieving certain goals or overcoming obstacles. This helps you learn about the applicant’s professional experience as well as their problem-solving abilities. By limiting how much time you or your team members spend talking, you can instead focus on listening to what a candidate has to say and taking notes.

The ultimate goal of the interviewing process is to differentiate between potential new employees. By crafting questions that support real dialogue and nuance, you better the odds of a single individual standing out.

Follow up with references
One thing to keep in mind is that the best applicants will usually have done their homework and thoroughly prepared answers for an upcoming interview. Even detailed, specific responses may have been partially composed ahead of the meeting.

A professional reference will give you an honest assessment of an applicant, even if the person in question listed a favorite mentor or employer. Be sure to also use thoughtful, targeted questions during this step to yield the best results. Inquire about the candidate’s past responsibilities and strengths.

Take the time to reach out to references to get a better sense of a candidate's potential.Take the time to reach out to references to get a better sense of a candidate’s potential.

Have paperwork ready to go
As Nolo pointed out, there’s a long list of paperwork that goes into onboarding a new employee. You want to make sure that everything is prepared and organized, because if you have to wait to officially hire a candidate for administrative reasons, he or she could lose interest or even accept another position in that time.

Being proactive about this step also minimizes disruptions in productivity because fewer people are pulled away from their duties to facilitate this process. All told, an organized approach will keep costs and frustrations to a minimum. Work with an HR outsourcing partner to identify what it takes to enroll an employee in healthcare policies, payroll and other areas, and importantly how to craft the right offer letter.

Set your new employee up for success
Rushing or omitting an orientation process is a big mistake. Without being given the right information and tools to be successful, a new employee can begin to feel alienated and unsure of how to proceed. Even if this individual was an absolute superstar in the interview process, he or she will invariably need support early on. Just spending a few extra hours to fully prepare a new hire pays dividends because once an orientation period is over, this person can hit the ground running. Likewise, you may find that this reduces errors or issues further down the line.

Whether it’s learning a new internal software or even knowing where the conference rooms are, there is plenty of information that will be missed during even the most comprehensive orientation. View the weeks after an employee gets started as part of the hiring process, and build your plan with the expectation to look after this individual. By crafting a hiring process that is well-rounded from start to finish you can replace an old employee or expand your team efficiently and with the best possible candidates.