Creating a Great Interview Experience for Candidates

Competition for top talent is at an all time high as the economy grows, making it even more important to show potential employees how great your organization is throughout the interview process. The best talent has options, sometimes multiple offers, and it is your job to show them why your company is a better place to work than your competitors.

Interviews can be nerve-wracking for candidates. As a hiring manager it is important to make the candidate feel welcome and at ease. After all, they are evaluating your company as much as you are evaluating their fit within your organization.

The feedback we hear from candidates that interview with clients who are not engaged is clear. Here are some common things we hear from candidates who have not had good experiences or who have turned down offers:

  • “It felt like I was on a firing squad. They just shot questions at me and didn’t seem to care about my answers.”
  • “They came off unimpressed with my abilities. When I attempted to go into detail and talk about my background, it was as if they tuned me out. We weren’t engaging in any sort of reciprocal dialog.”
  • “I didn’t hear any feedback for weeks after the interview and then over a month after hearing nothing, an HR rep that I never met called me with an offer. It was confusing! Ultimately I had to decline. I couldn’t see myself working for this person.”
  • “I waited in the lobby for 45 minutes. It was clear they didn’t value my time.”

As a hiring manager, how do we avoid this? Our guide to creating a great interview experience: 

  1. Be an ambassador. Tell them why you love working for your company. Communicate your core values, mission and what is so great about your company culture. Think about what your company has to offer that others don’t. Do you offer flex time? Are you growing? Have you invested in new technologies? Today’s candidates are looking at much more than salary.
  2. Be on time. We know you’re busy, but being on time is critical. Remember that candidates who are currently working are taking time from their busy schedules to meet with you. Keeping them waiting sends the wrong message.
  3. Be present. Put your phones on do not disturb and let others know you are in a meeting.
  4. Prepare. Make sure you review their resume prior to the interview and develop your questions based on their experience.
  5. Listen. Encourage open dialogue, not just a formal question and answer interview. Ask additional questions based on their answers.
  6. Follow up. One of the most common complaints we hear is that no one followed up with the candidate after the interview and then some time later candidates received an automated message that the position had been filled. When possible follow up with a phone call or email to any candidates you interviewed in person. You never know if they could be a fit for another position in your organization and creating a pipeline of strong talent is critical for succession planning.
  7. Provide feedback. Don’t be afraid to provide honest feedback when appropriate. In the long run, you are helping the candidate hone their interview skills.
  8. Maybe the candidate wasn’t the right fit, but it is always important to provide a good experience. Candidates talk and you don’t want them speaking poorly of your organization. Even more importantly, when you have interviewed a rock star candidate – treat them like one! Show them that you are interested and be timely. When a hiring decision takes too long, the impression is given that the organization has trouble making decisions or is unorganized.

Let’s end on a positive. Here is some feedback we’ve received from candidates who have had a great interview experience with clients:

  • “The hiring manager was pleasant and informative about the company and the position. She gave me a tour of the facility which was great. I got to see what they do day to day!”
  • “Everyone I interacted with whether in the interview or just passing by in the hallway was wonderful! The questions I was asked were thought-provoking and demonstrated the passion that everyone on the team has for the work that they do. I was more energized about the company as the interview went on. The commitment to the organization was contagious.”

Questions? Our Talent Acquisition team is always here to help with any hiring related questions or respond to your comments. Contact us at (315) 624-2210! 

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