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Interviewing Candidates for Your Company? Stop Hazing and Start Branding!

You want to hire the best person for the job. We get it. Problem is when you invite applicants in to see what your organization is all about, how prepared you are going into the interview and how you treat candidates directly impacts your company’s reputation.

We’ve heard horror stories from scores of candidates about how they were treated during interviews; so much so that certain companies have developed bad reputations in the candidate community.

Let that sink in. You risk the most qualified candidate turning down your offer because of how you treated them during the interview.

They waited for an hour to start. There was no assigned room to conduct the interview. The interviewer clearly hadn’t read the résumé until themeeting started. They were asked the same questions over and over from different people. The questioning was more like an interrogation than aconversation. It lasted for hours and weren’t even offered a glass of water. The laptop they were given to take a test had problems. Worst of all, after using a vacation day (or losing a day’s pay if they’re consulting), and investing a lot of time preparing, they were ghosted and not even given the courtesy of a simple turn down.

When candidates are treated poorly, they tell their friends about it. If your company is B2C, you may be even losing customers. Instead, use interviews as a branding opportunity. Every time someone comes into your office, showcase your culture, how organized the company is, and what makes it a great place to work. Here are some guidelines to a good candidate experience that will get them talking about how awesome your company is.

Have a plan up front. Block of time and schedule interviewers that are qualified to evaluate the talent. Always read through the candidate’srésumé before the meeting and draft up some quality questions so you can dive into an intelligent conversation.

Don’t reschedule last minute. If the primary interviewers can’t make it, then have backups. When candidates use PTO for interviews, it’s difficult (and obvious) when they have to change for a different day.

Be punctual, prepared and inviting. Be ready to start the interview at the scheduled time. Have a clean room reserved with any testing materialsready to go. Offering a glass of water goes a long way. If the interview is expected to last more than 2 hours, schedule breaks as a courtesy.

Before you go into the screening, be truthful to yourself about what skills are really required. Does someone need to have complex engineering skillsfor an administrative or production support role? Think about what you truly expect this person to accomplish for you over the first 12 months andbuild your questions around those goals.

Stack your questions until you determine the candidate’s threshold of expertise. Instead of attacking candidates with “got’cha” questions, starteasy and gradually get more difficult. Once you reach their limit of knowledge, back off and talk to them at that level.

After the interview, give feedback promptly and/or set expectations for next steps. Candidates will respect bad news over no news and are willing to workaround your process if they know up front how many meetings are required to make a decision. When a candidate is gainfully employed, taking multiple days off becomes difficult, especially during the summer and holiday seasons. You don’t have to give candidates a reason why they weren’toffered the job, but at least let them know ASAP if they’re in or out.

In the end, even if you determine a candidate is not qualified for the job, you should have treated them so well during the interview that they’recompelled to refer one of their peers for the role.


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