In the modern job market, the typical scenario presents a generous pool of candidates applying for one of very few available positions, with the company in the seat of control. Because of this imbalance of supply and demand, companies sometimes feel overconfident with an array of resumes and potential candidates from which to choose. However, even if companies may have the upper hand initially, it doesn’t automatically guarantee them top choice in candidates, especially if they make no effort to impress during the interview process at all.
ESG reviews how and why it is important to impress your candidates with these simple considerations.
Value Your Time and Theirs
Each time a company takes the opportunity to interview a candidate, this is precious time that should be taken seriously. Hiring managers may feel overwhelmed over a large stack of resumes and potential candidates to sift through, before finding one that actually piques their interest. This combined with possible time constraints in filling a position can set up a perfect “haste makes waste” scenario.
While hiring managers may think interviewing as many candidates as possible is the most efficient way to find “the one(s),” this can often lead to rushed interviews, lack of apparent preparation on the company’s part, and a failure to represent the company in the best light to the candidate. They may not realize the lack of attention they pay to these other details may in fact drive away just the candidate they’re looking for.
While the bulk of the onus is usually on the candidate to present themselves as composed, professional, and competent individuals, they are also taking cues from their interviewer about the ethics and modus operandi of the company as well. In that brief space of time, the interviewer(s) are the face and representation of the company, thus their conduct and appearance should align with the company’s culture, values, and ethics as well.
Be Organized & Time Conscious
Though a candidate may seem nervously preoccupied in attempting to present the best side of themselves, they are still absorbing information about the company as well. From the time they first hear from you, through the actual interview(s) and even with the follow-up process, their minds are piecing together a composite image of your company. Is that composite image good or bad? If a candidate has made all of their best efforts to follow-through with particular requests, appointments, punctuality, etc., it is only a reasonable expectation that the company is on top of their game as well.
For example, the candidate should be informed ahead of time on the purpose and approximate length of an interview: Is this a preliminary interview in which the candidate will need to be invited for another round or two, or is this the determining interview? Will there be a panel of interviewers, or is it just a 2:1 or 1:1 arrangement? Though the candidate should be well-prepared in any case, it is one of those finer courtesies that can be off-putting if not considered seriously.
When a candidate does arrive for their interview, they should be treated and given the same respect as any other professional client visiting your company. This should include a prompt greeting and welcome by a receptionist or other team member, as well as a punctual start to the interview. A predetermined space free of distractions should be reserved for the interview session as well. Additionally, it is important for the interviewer to observe the time as closely as possible. Although a common perception is that a candidate may be at the mercy of a company, it is only common courtesy to respect their schedule as well.
If the candidate does not experience any or all of these details above, it only reflects a lack of consideration, organization, and foresight on the company, even if these were the sole shortcomings of the interviewer. A highly skilled, discretionary candidate will take note and weigh their decision considering these finer details.
Know Who You Are Interviewing
and For Which Position They’re Applying
Most often, many of the candidates that come into an interview have carved out specific time and effort to present themselves well and demonstrate their knowledge and expertise for the position in which they’re applying.
As an interviewer, knowing the basics about who you’re interviewing seems like a simple and obvious detail, but nonetheless glaring when not taken seriously. To the candidate who has invested their time and resources in designing an exceptional resume/CV or portfolio for your preview, in addition to preparing themselves to be poised and articulate, it is painfully apparent when the interviewer blankly asks basic questions that have already been outlined in their application documents.
Additionally, the interviewer should be familiar with the role for which the candidate is applying. This helps both parties either refine their choice in candidate, and/or help the candidate decide if the role is leading them in the best direction for their career path. Plus, how ridiculous does it look if the candidate asks a question about the position, and the interviewer doesn’t have an answer? Don’t let your company look the fool. Preparation is everything.
The interview should be spent getting a richer context of the details presented in the candidate’s application documents, as well as their short & long-term goals and intentions in joining your team. It is also the interviewer’s chance to share more intimate knowledge about the company’s culture, expectations, and other inner workings not obvious to an outside person. This helps both the interviewer and the candidate gauge whether a potential future relationship would work well or dissolve quickly.
Whether you are interested in pursuing the candidate(s) interviewed, it is common courtesy to send a follow-up communication thanking them for taking time out of their busy schedule to meet. In this communication, let the candidate know whether they will be further contacted for a next interview or meeting, or politely let them know that you will not be moving forward with them.
If you are interested in moving forward with the candidate(s), promptly send any information promised to them during the interview, e.g., employee handbook, health benefits information, an official application, etc. Make sure to also promptly schedule or outline the next steps with them to keep the process moving along. A lag on the company’s end could mean a loss of interest for the candidate.