It’s no secret that the usual interview process takes place largely in the employer’s advantage. Why? Simply because employers hold the power of offering the interviewees what they want: a job.
Employers are used to this superiority – and some tend to develop a certain attitude to go with it. The danger is that some of the habits they may have picked up can be very harmful when they meet with the very good and qualified candidate that they seek – per se, a candidate that was headhunted and who has not applied for the position…
A very skilled and qualified candidate, who could no doubt help your business grow, could so easily be turned off by several ways that some managers pull from their usual position of power. When the power is shared with the desired candidate, a few adjustments are required in order to keep the interviewee interested in your offer.
How to conduct an interview in a way that will encourage amazing candidates to accept your job offer?
Watch out for delays. Starting with the wait at the front desk. It is quite possible that a candidate arrives 10, 15, 30 minutes in advance for an interview! If you are not ready to receive them on scheduled time… the total waiting time of the candidate can be very long and affect their enthusiasm towards the whole experience.
During the actual interview… do the opposite! Allow enough time to meet with the person, which should be between 30 and 60 minutes, or even more if you know yourself to be chatty. Do not let the phone, the assistant, the cell, the emails interrupt the discussion.
Do not forget that post-interview delays are just as off-putting. Be sure to let your candidate know about the next steps of the hiring process, including expected deadlines between each step – and strive to meet them!
Do your homework. Be aware of the candidate’s background and be prepared to discuss it constructively. This means taking the time to see the professional experiences in the person’s CV BEFORE THE INTERVIEW. Being interviewed by someone who obviously hasn’t looked at our CV is always hurtful as we quickly feel like a number among many others, but also wastes precious time to the discussion, as you then need to review all the candidate’s experiences task by task.
Actually, the candidate’s background should have been acknowledged prior to the meeting as it is kind of the reason why you are interviewing this person. That does not mean you should not go around the candidate’s previous work experiences but rather addressing them from a point of view of strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments. Moreover, keeping a copy of the candidate’s CV in front of you during the meeting is always a good idea.
Speak about the position in question. Probably the most innocuous and widespread mistake, but which inevitably slows down the interest of the right candidates in the job for which they are interviewed: they know nothing about it!
It is important to understand that an interesting candidate is rarely desperate to find a job and usually has several options available to him, so this is just as much an interview for you and your company as it is for him. The candidate will try to find out more about what your offer and evaluate whether it suits him or her. It is therefore very important to reserve a great part of the meeting time to talk about the position for which your candidate is being considered. Give them a glimpse of what the first months in position would be like, try and give them a great overview of what it’s like working here so they can picture themselves accurately.
Treat a good candidate as you would treat a good customer. Meaning, of course, with respect and care, but with a sales focus. Your approach shouldn’t be too different from a sales pitch, as you are really selling a career at your company. To completing the previous idea, it is important to talk about the position, but also about your company, your corporate culture, your employees.
For a candidate interested in a new challenge, talking about your company’s success and projects is stimulating, so take the time to mention them! Obviously, don’t be humble about your perks and benefits you offer your employees.
With these few reminders, you have in hands the power to impress the next amazing candidates you will be interviewing with professionalism and attention. To let go with a final piece of advice: it goes without saying that applying these manners to all the candidates you meet is the best way to really put all the chances in your court. Even if you are not particularly impressed by a person that you are interviewing, never forget that the world is small, people are talking, and referrals is still one of the best ways to recruit. Meaning that, if the person in front of you is not your amazing candidate, maybe his sister is.