Everyone suffers when an interview process doesn’t go well; excellent candidates end up without a job and companies and recruiters end up with potentially damaged reputations. While it is obviously important for job seekers to take the interview process seriously, there are also several steps that those on the hiring end can take in order to enhance a candidate’s experience and thus the integrity of the interview process.
#1 Make a Great First Impression
It is a universally recognized truth in nearly all contexts that first impressions are predictors of success, and this certainly holds true in the search for the perfect employee. Ideally, you should be making an excellent first impression even before speaking with a candidate; for example, your website should be easy to find and be user friendly. Job postings should be clear and transparent regarding responsibilities and skills sought, and should provide direct contact information. Also, if the application process is particularly laborious this will dissuade some applicants, so make sure that online application platforms are efficient and user-friendly, as well.
#2 Value a Candidate’s Time
Candidates are often applying for many jobs at once, which is highly time intensive. Make sure to respond to applicants in a timely manner, even if just to update that the application has been received and is under review. If your screening and hiring process is going to be long and complex, it’s important to set expectations upfront about the necessary steps so that candidates can plan and prepare accordingly. Be mindful of timing and do not let interviews start late or go exceedingly long, and remember to avoid making candidates feel like a number in an interview queue by protracting the process unnecessarily. Qualifying tests, video chats, or telephone interviews can help you create a short list of candidates for in-person interviews, and these should be scheduled as close together as possible. All in-office interviews should take place over one or two business days if possible so that decisions can be made effectively and efficiently. You run the risk of losing an ideal employee if the process takes too long and they end up securing another good job.
#3 Be Highly Respectful of Candidates
It may sound odd, but treat candidates like customers. Remember that it behooves you to hire the absolute best people for open positions so it is important to make applicants want to work with you. Show up to the interview energized, attentive, and engaged, and make it clear that you care about what both you and the candidate have to say. Asking open-ended questions is an effective way of learning more about the candidate in a way that makes the candidate feel listened to. On the converse, always ask a candidate if he or she has any questions for you and make sure to answer them thoughtfully. Also, be sure to speak positively of your company and demonstrate a healthy workplace culture that any candidate would want to be a part of.
#4 Be Thorough
During the interview process, make sure to clearly communicate the specifics of the position and the necessary responsibilities as they will actually occur in the workplace. Eliminating key details about less desirable aspects of the job can seriously backfire on you if an employee takes a position with inaccurate perceptions of his or her duties. Be completely transparent about hours, company policies, etc., and do not only discuss these critical pieces of information at the candidate’s request. Additionally, make sure to answer any of the candidate’s questions directly, not elliptically, so as to build trust with your potential employee.
#5 Follow Up
It is positively unacceptable to never follow up with a candidate after an interview, even if you do not wish to hire him or her. Ignoring a candidate after an interview is one of the top errors that can compromise company and recruiter reputations. If you do want to hire a candidate, share this good news as soon as possible! If you waste too much time deliberating over candidates you could lose your perfect hire to another job. Moreover, make sure to actually call the candidate instead of or in addition to e-mailing them to ensure that the decision is made clear. When notifying a candidate that a position has been given to someone else, be timely and polite. If a candidate asks why he or she was not hired, respond sincerely but kindly, and make sure to keep future lines of communication positive.
Remember that CPS, Inc. is here to help both employees and employers alike. Reach out to us today and we will be glad to assist you!