5 Tips for Providing a Positive Candidate Interview Experience

Posted by Matti Shicker on April 13, 2016

Taking notes during interview experienceWhen it comes to the job market, candidates are sitting firmly in the driver’s seat. Companies are hiring, there are a plethora of opportunities, and the good candidates are juggling multiple interviews and offers. Hiring the right talent has become increasingly challenging, and it’s important to give yourself every advantage possible. This is where thinking about the candidate interview experience is important since it plays a key role in attracting, engaging, and “winning” the best candidate for the job.

According to LinkedIn, 83% of professionals say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role, but 87% say that a positive experience can change their mind the other way. As an interviewer, this is important to keep in mind.

Below are five suggestions to improve your candidates’ experience and ultimately land the best talent for the job.

1. Engage with the candidate as a potential team member.

Yes, it is true that generally there are multiple candidates for any given role, and they need to be evaluated against each other. However, the more a candidate feels they are one of a kind, part of the process, and not merely a menu item to choose from, the more engaged they will be. The more engaged they are, the better the interview is for both sides. They will also walk away feeling good about the interview and the company, potentially putting your role at the top of the list of positions they are considering.

2. Ensure your interview and hiring process is efficient.

Most companies have a hiring process; you may want to see a certain number of candidates, you may have a specified amount of interview rounds, etc. While it is important to maintain a process, it’s equally important to make sure your process aligns with today’s job market. A process that drags on for months or requires a candidate to go through too many phone screens and on site interviews can be discouraging. In the past, perhaps candidates didn’t have a choice, but now they do and they may move on to the next opportunity.

3. Make sure all interviewers are aligned on their role in the process.

Nothing bugs a candidate more than meeting with four different people who all ask the same questions. LinkedIn data shows that 53% of professionals view the interview with the hiring manager as the most important part of the process, so it needs to be more meaningful and not repetitive. Make sure that post-screen interviews focus more on describing the role and challenges. Future interviews are also an opportunity to personalize the experience and connect on a professional level, as opposed to grilling a candidate again about his or her background.

4. Be transparent (as much as you can be).

I’m not saying you should share every detail with candidates about who else is interviewing, where they stand, and how much or how little you prefer them, but showing that you see them as a human with something at stake goes a long way. For example, if the hiring process is long and tedious and you can’t do anything about it, share that. Maybe make a joke about it. It will allow a candidate to warm up to you and appreciate the process, as opposed to wondering what was going on and assuming that you didn’t like them, and moving on to other opportunities.

5. Consider hiring the right candidate, regardless of the process.

This is a tricky one because you probably are hesitant to hire the first person you see out of concern that you didn’t do your due diligence. This is valid. However, in today’s market, this may do you a disservice. There are rock star candidates out there, and if you happen to see them first, why wait? These days, you risk losing them to the competition. According to recruiting stats from Officevibe, the best candidates are off the market within 10 days. Not only that, but if the interviews have gone well and everyone is engaged and excited, and then everything comes to a screeching halt, that rock star candidate may start to question your interest and move on. Some of the best hires are the first candidates that interview for a role, and it’s not worth the risk of losing them.

Bottom line: put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and think about this process as one of collaboration, not transactional. You will see an increase in successful hiring, engaged employees, and candidates that want to work for your organization.

Talk to top tier candidates about job opportunities.

At Paladin, we partner with companies to provide recruiting expertise within marketing, communications, creative, and digital. In addition to sourcing and recruiting top talent in the space, we provide a 360-degree candidate and client experience, leading to the most successful placements. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help your team.

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About the author

Hanna Olivera

Hanna Olivera has enhanced the social media and online marketing presence of brands ranging from national restaurant chains and top musicians to business organizations and television networks. She currently works in marketing at Adecco Group North America, where her favorite days are spent crunching numbers and creating strategic, data-driven campaigns. There’s no telling where you’ll find Hanna in her spare time, but it’s a safe bet that she’s either making something, has her nose stuck in a book, or is on an adventure with her husband and pets.

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