Creating the Best Interview Experience
By Cynthia Wright, TheWrightStuffNH
Often, we interviewers focus on our own perspective: telephone interviews, behavioral interviews, and what a candidate should or shouldn't wear to the interview. But what about our own role in the interviewing process?
Isn't it every employer's responsibility to treat interviewees with the highest degree of respect and consideration? A candidate - just like a client or a valued customer - needs to leave your company feeling like they've been treated kindly and professionally. So, why doesn't this always happen?
"You have one chance to make a great first impression" - true for candidates, but also true for the companies interviewing them.
Ensuring that the entire interviewing process is a positive experience not only makes the interview team look professional, it gives the impression that your company is an employer of choice. Giving some thought to your employment brand is vital to your reputation.
Sadly, interviewers often feel that candidates are plentiful and that they can have their pick of the "best and brightest" no matter what. This over-confident attitude is dangerous for two reasons:
- It shows the company in a less than flattering light.
- When the economy turns from an employer's market to an employee's market, those companies who treated candidates with disrespect may be in trouble. Word travels fast and good candidates could easily catch the news about a company's bad behavior. After all, if a company treats job candidates so poorly, how much better would they treat their employees?
What You Can Do
We know interviewing can be a stressful process. Here's what you can do to make the candidate feel more comfortable and thus improve their experience:
- Provide clear details: Make sure the candidate has what they need to be successful before the interview, including directions, an updated job description, and a schedule that includes the interview team and titles.
- Be on time: Begin the interview on time if possible. If there are any last minute changes (this happens occasionally), make sure the candidate knows this as soon as possible.
- Be prepared: All interviewers should have a copy of the candidates resume and should be familiar with it.
- Take breaks: If a candidate is interviewing with several people, break for lunch if possible.
- Adhere to the interview schedule: Some candidates are working, and companies need to respect the candidate's time.
- Practice timely follow-up: Finally, if you say that you will get back to a candidate by a certain date via telephone or e-mail, do it. Keeping a candidate waiting is not only unprofessional, it makes it that much more difficult for a candidate who might be out of work and trying hard to stay positive and focused.
Attracting the Best and Brightest
As you pay attention to these matters, candidates will praise you - whether they get the job or not. Earning job candidates' respect in the marketplace means that you will inevitably attract the best and the brightest to your workplace.
Cynthia Wright has 18 years of recruitment experience in both corporate and agency environments and currently is a Senior Corporate Recruiter with a large New Hampshire hardware re-seller. Cynthia has interviewed and hired hundreds of candidates in Engineering, Finance, Marketing, Sales, and Information Technology. She has written extensively for The Telegraph (Nashua, NH), is a contributing career expert for My Job Wave/The Employment Times, wrote a syndicated column with Knight Ridder's News2Use, continues to publish her columns nationally, and is the author of the book 366 Tips for a Successful Job Search (Rosstrum Publishing). Cynthia holds a BS degree from Rutgers University and a Masters Certificate in Human Resources and Labor Relations from Southern New Hampshire University. She can be reached at TheWrightStuffNH (at) gmail.com.