Importance of the interview experience

Employer conducting a job interview with a candidate

The hiring process is the first step in building a world class team. Creating a positive experience for candidates in the interview process can indirectly be a great marketing opportunity for your organization, while a negative experience can be crippling for brand reputation. For establishing or maintaining a reputation, nailing the candidate experience is key. 

Here are some tips for ensuring candidates are positively engaging with your company during the interview process:

1. First impressions:

When attending a job interview, a number of factors influence a candidate’s first impressions of a business. These 3 tips can help candidates feel welcomed and engaged from the get-go:

  • This sounds like a no-brainer, but make sure that interviewees can actually get into your office without much stress or hassle. If your building uses a buzzer to let people in, make sure that it works. If there are two entrances, make sure they aren’t going to surprise you at the back door. Pre-empt any issues that might come up and make sure candidates have the contact details for you or your receptionist in case they run into anything unforeseen. You don’t want to set your future top employee up to be flustered, stranded or unable to make it on time for the interview.
  • One of the easiest and most effective ways to enhance the candidate experience is to encourage your current team members to offer a warm welcome to guests as they come and go from your office. This is often ignored. Of course everyone is busy. But never underestimate the value of a smile and a genuine Hello/How are you/ Nice to meet you. You are essentially selling your company to new employees through a series of first impressions.
  • Once through the doors, interviewees will be looking for clues as to what it would be like to actually work at your company. The quick 30 second walk through your office before the interview offers potential employees a brief glimpse into the very soul of your company. They will be able to sense if the current team seems happy, engaged, frustrated, motivated, or (in worst cases) desperate to jump ship themselves. Make sure that your current team is cognizant of the impact of their demeanour, and that they are showing the company and culture in the most positive light.

2. Job interview content – preferences of candidates

Make sure that your dialog with the interviewee is coming across as polite and friendly. You very well may be working with this person in the near future and you want to make sure to start off on the right foot interpersonally.

For candidates, it is extremely important to receive a comprehensive overview of the actual role but – possibly related to this point – they are also keen to be given the time and opportunity to ask all the questions they have about it (interestingly, employers actually feel this is even more integral to the interview process than candidates). However, interviewees also like to be provided with the chance to talk about themselves and explain how their experience is relevant to the position under discussion.

Job seekers also like to be informed about the people they will potentially be working with and get a flavour of the company culture.

3. Post-interview experience

Providing frank and detailed feedback on a candidate’s interview performance in a timely manner not only means they are more likely to accept a job offer but also helps to portray a positive image of your business. Most job seekers generally prefer to receive feedback by phone rather than email and would welcome an open and frank discussion about their performance during the interview rather than a short notification on whether they were successful or not.

You’ll only ever hire a small percentage of the people you interview. That being said, you want everyone who walks out of a meeting with you impressed by your company and telling people in their network what a great experience they had with you. 

Have you recently hired new staff?

Check out our tips for onboarding new employees.

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