The war for attracting top talent to your organisation is more fierce today than ever before especially with more competition. We are often asked, “how can we make sure we secure candidates during this process.” One of those things you can control is a good experience during the interview process. Top candidates know they have options, and if your interview process is anything less than stellar, you run the risk of losing them to a company that is willing to put their best foot forward and deliver an interview that leaves candidates saying “wow.” Here are 5 tips on how to be that company.
1) Preparation is key.
Review both the job description and the candidate’s work history in advance, and know some the areas you’d like to probe deeper. It sounds basic, but too many interviewers fail to complete this step.
2) Structure your interview.
Have a general idea of where you intend to take the conversation in advance. Start with some easier, open-ended questions to ease the candidate into the conversation, and then gently move into the questions you’re specifically looking to answer.
Don’t ask them “where do you see yourself in 5 years” but tell them where you see your company in 12 months, this will spark a potential conversion highlighting some great synergies between the company and candidate. It also allows the candidate to see themselves as part of this. Be honest too, tell them what your companies biggest challenges are, we all have a weakness and its important to tell them yours. Tell them why they should join your company also. They may not have left their employers yet.
3) Make it comfortable.
The goal of any interviewer should be to make a candidate as comfortable as possible, so as to have a professional conversation and give them the chance to shine. Sticking the interviewee in a cold, bland room and then having them interview with a panel of 5 stakeholders does not create a comfortable atmosphere. Creating comfort results in a better experience for the candidate and better answers for you as the interviewer.
4) Leave time for the candidate to ask questions.
At the end of the interview, be sure to leave time for the candidate to ask questions of you and the organisation. Top candidates are curious and care deeply about finding the right fit between them and their prospective company and team, and allowing them to ask questions will help you evaluate just how well they’ve prepared for the interview as well as see what’s important to them and how they perceive the role day to day.
5) Outline next steps, then actually deliver.
There’s no worse experience for a candidate than to conclude an interview by saying “we’ll be in touch,” and leaving it at that. Once you’ve finished answering the candidate’s questions, outline the next steps, including timelines, and then keep to those timelines.
The fastest way to turn a candidate off your company is to commit to giving them a response by Friday, only for Friday to come and go… then Monday, then Tuesday. You wouldn’t tolerate candidates who leave you hanging in that way, so don’t do the same to them. They may well look elsewhere. If it’s not your intention to get back to them, it’s better to reject people outright. Give them advice on the resume or the interview or even call someone within your organisation who may need this person – perhaps they are the right person but the wrong job?
The companies that will win the war for talent going forward will be the ones that set aside the archaic notion that the interview is a one-way evaluation. The best candidates are also evaluating you as an employer as much as you are evaluating them.
By following some of these tips, you’ll help your company leave a lasting, positive impression on potential hires.