In hundreds of online articles every part of the interview process has been dissected in detail to aid the candidate. Interestingly, I can’t find one article providing some tips to the interviewing company. For every story I hear about a candidate giving a terrible interview, I can provide a counterpoint of a company dropping the ball in a myriad of ways. Companies that craft a clearly defined and professional interview process benefit themselves greatly. Here are a few tips:
- Be intentional and communicative about the process. I love it when companies show competence and efficiency up front – it impresses candidates because they assume that this is how the company approaches everything. The goal is to find the best candidate. The best candidates have a lot of options and more research at their fingertips than ever before. Show the candidate an interview process that is tight, responsive and controlled by communicating a clear path to the offer stage up front. Each company’s system is different, but candidates love it when they hear some variation of, “Ann, we are interested in your background and would like to interview you. Our process involves a phone interview, followed by two face-to-face interviews and an offer. This process will not take more than three weeks, and if at any point we do not wish to continue, we will notify you immediately.”
- Be very careful to whom you assign the first interview or phone screen. I have a ton of respect for the front line talent and HR people responsible for moving the interview process along. The pressure to hit hiring numbers is constant – almost as constant as the tug and pull of getting employees to take time out from their busy schedules to conduct interviews. The employee assigned to that first screen or face-to-face is so important. Stay away from the “no” person and the “gung-ho” employee. I’ve seen a number of solid candidates exit the process too early because the initial interviewer takes the guard dog approach. This employee is proud of his/her company and thus proud of themselves for being one of the select few to be chosen for employment. This type of employee runs the risk of sounding arrogant and nitpicky to the candidate. Companies must balance the need to be selective with the understanding that the absolute perfect candidate probably doesn’t exist.
- Use technology and be Mobile. There are a number of different software tools to aid in the applicant process. From talent acquisition tools like Ascendify to companies that help create Facebook and Mobile career sites like Hire Rabbit to Applicant Tracking Software by Workable, Zoho, Newton, Greenhouse, Lever, Recruiterbox and many others. Find the right software, get comfortable and use it. Candidates know when a company is using a solid system and using it competently.
- Don’t leave the rejected candidate hanging. Have you ever been to a good restaurant, had a great waiter, a spectacular meal and then waited 20 minutes between handing over your card and getting the final bill? It dampens the whole experience. It’s the same with the interview process. One of the worst parts of the job is calling a candidate that has been rejected. It’s no fun, but do it immediately. Be communicative, encouraging and direct. It will reflect well on your company.
Candidates know that a shiny PR image of a company might or might not be accurate as it filters down to the actual day to day treatment of employees. Companies that treat potential hires as valued guests worthy of prompt, professional courtesy can earn respect even from rejected candidates.