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SmartGuide by FurstPerson

[tab:Product Overview]

FurstPerson, is a Chicago based -company focused on providing software solutions for the hiring community.  While their primary focus lies with talent assessments and testing, they have many additional product offerings that work together to support a more efficient and productive hiring cycle.

They recently launched their newest product offering, SmartGuide, which is an innovative software solution that provides automation and standardization to the interview process. SmartGuide leverages data and analytics to improve interview outcomes by delivering customized interview questions to candidates based on their responses at previous parts of the interview cycle.  This research-driven solution results in more accuracy and validity in reaching a better quality of hire.


  • Interview Guide based on job and competency models
  • Automated creation of interview questions based on assessment results
  • Interview data capture
  • Ongoing interview and performance analysis
  • Ability to build out a rater viability tool to identify weak interviewers for coaching opportunities or process improvement
  • Scalable interview process
  • Ability to rate, review, compare, and share candidate responses
  • Structured interviews that are can be reviewed and scored anytime, anywhere
  • SmartGuide candidate recommendation reports for easy comparison

    SmartGuide Report

    Example of online SmartGuide™ report that represents aggregation of all the rater
    scores to determine pass or fail.

[tab:User Experience]

SmartGuide is not an interview product that you can just register online and start using, however, that’s not to say that you can’t get your company utilizing the software delivery platform in a reasonable amount of time.  This is definitely a product for organizations that want to see data driven improvements to their interview process for both the candidate and recruiter/hiring manager sides.

The process starts by working with the teams at FurstPerson to define each job profile and to understand what success is for each profile.  After a thorough job analysis, an automated survey tool is deployed out to subject matter experts to define what competencies are important or not important to the job.  For many common position types, much of this data has already been collected by FurstPerson.

SmartGuide-Options to Pick List

This screenshot represents SmartGuide interviews that have been developed and are ready to use in a hypothetical client. The SmartGuide™ name, language, modified date, and then various actions (edit, review, etc.) are available to the customer user.

Once the background data has been collected, SmartGuide can begin to be implemented into the interview process.  It starts with the development of the interview guide.  Companies have the option of setting up a simple introduction with comments to the candidates.

This can be followed by a core-values section that can utilize pre-defined questions based on an organization’s culture.  Next, in the key competencies section of SmartGuide, the user has access to more than 1,000 interview questions developed from over 80 job competencies and assessment dimensions.  The guide can also be customized with your own questions.

This network of data, questions, and responses from the candidate to these and additional assessments that may be in use creates a map for the SmartGuide to automatically create interview questions to be included in the guide.

The guide recommends questions the recruiter can select to add into the process that can be used to identify areas that may require further probing.  Added on top of this would be any job specific questions such as computer skills or industry knowledge to round out the interview guide.

Once the setup of the interview guide is complete, it can be published and inserted directly into your interview process.  The tool was built with a modular approach that allows flexibility in how it can be utilized and it is up to the hiring team to decide what delivery options work best given their operation.

One way the interview guide can be dispensed is as a recorded phone or web-based interview with candidates.  Candidates can complete these interviews on their own schedule and recruiters can review and rate them anytime, anywhere from within the tool.  Candidates like the convenience factor associated with the interviews—especially in high-volume retail environments where they might have been previously requested to come in and take a test for consideration.

Aside from the convenience, the simplicity of the recording process is also highly valued.  Candidates can be offered the option to re-record questions, or there are additional features that offer providing candidates new questions based on the same competencies instead of the original question so that responses will not be rehearsed.

Each candidate’s recorded responses can be shared with additional hiring managers to rate and score.  The tool can also be used in other languages which aids in its adaptability to be utilized by global companies or off-shore organizations looking to test conversational ability or communication challenges.

For in-person or live phone interviews, a single guide can be dispensed via a live link for hiring managers to use.  This link enables the interview guide to be printed or accesses via computers or mobile devices for the interview.  If utilizing a computer or mobile device, responses can be instantly recorded along with notes during the interview.

SmartGuide Rater Panel

Example of Rater Form used to listen, rate, and notate a job candidate’s response to an interview question. The rater can listen to the response, rate the response, and add notes by content section, competency, and structured question.

A standardized scoring and rating process built into the tool helps to keep hiring decisions consistent.  Additionally, after the tool has been utilized for an amount of time, scoring within the model can be calibrated to relate back to job performance of other hires resulting in smarter hiring to reduce attrition and performance.

Not only can the tool be used to see a consolidated report of who are the best candidates, it can also be used to evaluate the recruitment team and who may need additional coaching or interview training.

The tool is extremely simple and straight forward for, but maximized results seem to come from also utilizing some of FurstPerson’s other assessments.  Big wins for utilization will definitely be among high-volume recruitment sectors like retail environments, call centers, etc., however, the tools has a greater mass appeal that can be utilized among larger organizations looking to utilize data to get an improved quality of hire among many other types of positions.


FurstPerson is a company very dedicated to client support.  The main setup of SmartGuide is taxed on their end to maximizing the productivity of the product for each client.

For new customers they average around 3 weeks to a month to get the SmartGuide solution up and running.  This is mainly determined on the size and scale of the organization and the amount of time it takes for information gathering (job analysis surveys, etc.), quality checks, training, publishing access to the guide, and working through the work flow model.

Depending on the size of the organization and use of the product, dedicated account support is one option they provide.  They also have a technical support team on staff to handle any issues both via email and from their toll-free number.  T

FurstPerson also has guarantees on their SLA (service level agreement) for up-time reliability in place that should the system ever not be available, they would award a financial credit to their clients.  They commit their platform to being 24/7, always on, always accessible with good support coverage across most business hours.

If you’re worried about compliance issues with the possibility of different questions being asked of different candidates, SmartGuide employees a team of over six PhD level industrial organizational psychologists that own this portion of the tool, making sure that every section is up to par.  They are very comfortable in assuring their compliance coverage because of the text book approach they take to each job analysis and the structure of the question sets they develop.


Pricing for the use of SmartGuide is based on a number of criteria, including but not limited to: volume, complexity of the project, number of jobs, and use of additional product offerings available from FurstPerson in conjunction with SmartGuide.  Their pricing philosophy is based on flat-fee subscription usage determined by these factors and your billing choice (monthly, quarterly, yearly.)

The per-candidate pricing can range from the low-end of around $2/candidate upwards to around $15/candidate based on the above criteria. The team is willing to work to find a solution and price point to match your needs. Additional fees that may apply on top of the subscription fee come from the use of the audio recorded component for phone interviews and this would be a straight pass through charge for the phone calls.

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[tab:END] Interviewing.com does not receive monetary compensation for our product reviews.  For more information on our product reviews, please visit our product review disclaimer.

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