There’s no getting away from it; we work in an incredibly talent led industry. Good candidates – from designers, to digital marketing specialists, to PR professionals and everyone in between – are in short supply and high-demand. And as we enter 2015, there’s no sign of this changing.
The reality is therefore that the best candidates are most likely comparing the opportunity you’re interviewing them for with other similar opportunities, not to mention with their current role/employer. What this means is the candidate’s decision making process is just as important as the employer’s.
The point we’re making here is that interviews work two ways and a badly conducted interview can have just as big an impact on a candidate, as a bad candidate performance can have on the interviewer. In a talent led market it’s important to maximise your chances of securing the best candidates.
There’s a wealth of advice and information aimed at how candidates should prepare for interview; do your research, get there on time, dress smart, prepare questions etc.. Plus there’s a constant stream of horror stories about how candidates have behaved during interviews. But very rarely to people focus on how recruiters/hiring managers should behave. Which, frankly, strikes us as odd.
Let’s clear this up now, we’re not for a moment saying all the advice aimed at candidates is suddenly redundant; it is still crucial that candidates do everything they can to demonstrate they’re the person for the job. However, it’s also essential that you project a positive impression of your business, the opportunities open to people joining, the vision, the culture and so on. Doing this right can make the difference between a candidate accepting your offer over your competitors’.
The simple fact is that you’re constantly marketing your business – pre, during and post interview – and this experience needs to be consistently positive to attract the best people.
So, just as we advise candidates on what to do and what not to do at interview, here are our top five tips for interviewers.
1. Don’t keep candidates waiting. You expect them to arrive on time so why should they expect any different?
2. Keep focussed. No taking calls, checking your texts/emails or looking at your watch. Even if it’s evident the candidate may not be for you, it’s just plain rude.
3. Be prepared. “Have you brought your CV with you, I couldn’t find it?”, “What role are you here for again?”, “Sorry, what’s your name?". We’ve heard them all. And worse. Take a few minutes to look through the CV and think about what you want to find out. After all, you expect the candidate to have done their homework, so why should you behave differently? A lack of preparation infers a lack of respect and genuine interest (even if this isn’t the case).
4. Don’t bad mouth a former colleague. Especially if it’s who the role is replacing. Keep your feelings to yourself, no matter what you actually think about them. Don’t give your prospective employee any reason to doubt your integrity as an employer.
5. Avoid rude behaviour. Whether it’s dismissive comments, smirks between co-interviewers, or not actively listening to the interviewee, there’s no excuse for rude behaviour. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
We completely appreciate that none of this is rocket science, but our experience shows that despite this, it’s an area where the hiring process often falls down. Fundamentally, the interview creates a lasting impression of your company and forms a big part of the new employee on-boarding process. A negative interview experience can almost immediately undo all the investment and hard work that’s gone in to developing a strong employer brand.
Whether the person you’re interviewing is right for the role or not, a candidate on the receiving end of a badly conducted interview is likely to share their experience with numerous others. One of them might be your dream employee.