Interviews are not stereotypically fun. In fact, a lot of candidates will feel anxious beforehand, and a sense of relief when it’s over. In my experience, they will often seek out a lot of advice about how to ensure they have a positive interview experience. Whilst this is partially their responsibility, I feel that the interviewers also have this duty to both the company and the candidate.
Why do I believe this? First and foremost, you will get the best out of a happy and relaxed candidate who wants to be there, thereby ensuring a truly meritocratic selection process and an efficient use of both of your time.
Secondly, interview processes are always a two way street. You may be assessing whether this candidate is a good fit for you, but don’t forget - they are doing the exact same thing. If the person is particularly talented, chances are they will have more than one opportunity lined up. If they enjoy their interview with you, it will stand out amongst the others and you will remain the employer of choice.
Thirdly, regardless of desirability, you still want to keep your company image intact and ensure the candidate walks away saying only good things about your organisation. Therefore enjoyable interviews should be part and parcel of your employer brand and internal recruitment strategy.
I believe that the key to an enjoyable interview boils down to making the interviewee feel at ease during the interview, particularly a sense of being listened to, respected, and excited about the opportunity ahead.
Here are a few simple tips to ensuring that this is the case:
1. Remember your mannersJust because you are the one doing the interviewing, doesn’t mean you should keep the candidate waiting too long. Typically, a good candidate will arrive at least ten minutes early. Once you get the phone call saying they have arrived, make your way over as soon as you can.
Welcome them with a warm smile and a handshake, ask them how they are, make informal conversation about their journey, offer them a drink, basically do all you can to make them feel welcome.
By being punctual and welcoming, you will set a standard of mutual respect, show that you are just as interested in them and that they are worthy of your time. In addition, the candidate may be nervous. Waiting around for you in reception, just to be greeted coldly, will do everything but put them at ease.
2. Sell the opportunity to themOpen the interview by talking about the company, particularly its major achievements, unique selling points and overall purpose in its sector. What are the strengths of your company culture? How inclusive is it? Is everyone equally aligned to practices and goals? Do people share ideas and collaborate? Are the people friendly and welcoming? Is the office environment talkative or quiet? Do you socialise outside of work?
Provide an overview of the wider team and outline the possibilities within the role, whether they include training and progression programmes, reward schemes or exciting projects. Use personal anecdotes and talk about your journey within the company to bring these to life.
Again, this will show that you are just as keen to sell yourselves to them as they are to you - which will make them feel respected. By starting the interview by talking about the company, you are also able to ease the candidate in.
Most importantly, you enable the candidate to envision being part of such a great, well-oiled machine, and actually make them feel a sense of excitement.
3. Be encouragingAs the candidate starts answering your questions, listen carefully. Under no circumstances interrupt them. If they happen to stammer or trip up on their words don’t finish their sentence. Just be patient, nod and wait for them to finish.
If you are particularly impressed with an answer that the interviewee gives, say so. Praise will only bring out the best in them.
If you are unclear on one of their answers, ask them to elaborate or give examples for clarity. If nothing else, this will make the candidate aware that you are actually engaged and interested in what they have to say.
The days of old-school interview interrogation are over. By being constructive and encouraging, you can make the candidate feel respected and at ease.
4. Close the dealAs you reach the end of the interview, the candidate should feel positive about the company and the opportunity. However it is important that you “close” them in the same way you expect them to “close” you. Ask them what they are looking for from a new role, a new company; do they have any reservations about joining your organisation? Be sure to check whether they have any other questions as this could give you a chance to counter any doubts or further sell the opportunity.
Whether you are interested in hiring the candidate or not, this practice is important. Not only will you get some feedback on any shortcomings of the role, the candidate will feel that you respect their opinion.
5. End on a good noteLastly, end the interview by thanking the candidate for their time and letting them know when they can expect to hear back. Provide constructive feedback to the recruiter straight away, even if they aren’t successful.
This will ease the candidate’s mind as they aren’t left in the dark wondering when the phone will ring or how the interview went. Furthermore, it will cement a positive interview experience in the candidates’ memory.
In summary, by exhibiting behaviour that demonstrates interest, engagement and encouragement from beginning to end, you can help a candidate feel respected, at ease, and excited, thereby enjoying their interview. Crucially their experience is also a positive confirmation of your employer brand, which is important when candidates subsequently talk about it with others.
Originally posted on Linked IN by: Nick Deligiannis
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
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