Interviews are your best opportunity to get to know a candidate and determine if they’re the right fit for the job. A positive interview experience can convince a talented person to join your team but a negative experience can tarnish your company’s reputation.
In this guide, recruiters, hiring managers and interviewers will learn what it takes to provide candidates with the best possible interview experience.
Let your candidates shine
From the candidate’s perspective, interviews are a scary, anxiety-inducing experience. It’s in your company’s best interest to create a warm and welcoming environment so the people you meet with feel comfortable expressing who they are and what they’re capable of.
Providing positive interview experiences also keeps your best candidates interested. Only a desperate job seeker will want to proceed after a bad interview but talented people will move onto other opportunities. Top candidates likely have different employment options and won’t settle for a company that rubbed them the wrong way.
And with the emergence of Glassdoor, candidates can publicly review your company’s interview process. Positive reviews can keep your pipeline filled with great applicants while negative ones can deter people from applying.
Job interviews will have a lasting impact on how a candidate views your company. Even if you don’t end up hiring them, they can still become a customer, apply for future jobs and of course write an online review. Providing candidates with a positive interview experience is the right thing to do and good for business in a number of ways.
How recruiters & hiring managers create positive interview experiences
Your hiring process is moving forward. You found some great candidates, put them through phone screenings and other assessments and it’s now time for face-to-face interviews. It’s a big day for the candidate and you’re in charge of managing their experience. Follow these tips and your interviewee will feel like you were a nice host and your company is a great place to work:
- Provide detailed directions to your office. The interview will start on the wrong foot if the candidate has a hard time getting to your office. Ask where they’re coming from and send them helpful directions. Include landmarks, where to park and the best methods of public transit to use.
- Send an itinerary prior to interview day. Give the candidate an idea of what’s in store for them. Tell them how long they’ll be in your office and who they’ll meet with. That way they can plan their day and research the backgrounds of the people who will interview them.
- Arrange interviews that offer something different. Answering the same interview questions for different people doesn’t make for a great candidate experience. Schedule interviews with managers, team members and even employees from different departments. Each conversation will be unique and you’ll receive feedback from people with varying perspectives.
- Be there when they arrive and stay close throughout the day. Don’t make a candidate awkwardly sit in your lobby for too long. Say hello to them when they arrive and accompany them around your office throughout the day. Unfamiliar offices are intimidating and the interviewee probably knows you better than everyone else.
- Expose them to your culture. Meeting potential bosses and coworkers gives a candidate an idea of what the job is like but what about the overall company? Give them a break from the conference room and show them around your office. Briefly introduce them to people who pass by, especially your company’s leaders.
- Be friendly but don’t lead them on. Don’t be so nice to a candidate they get the wrong impression and think they’re a lock for the job. It’s a good idea to mention where you’re at in the hiring process when saying bye and thanking them for coming in.
- Stay in touch post-interview. Eager candidates will contact you after the interview, probably before a decision is made. Politely reply and give a timeframe for when you’ll follow up. Honor the commitment and let the candidate know when a decision is made so they can move on with their life.
- Don’t withhold bad news. Until a candidate hears otherwise, they’ll hold onto hope that an offer could be coming. Give them a call or send them a personal email when they’re no longer being considered. Don’t ignore them or send an automated rejection message if they’ve taken the time to come in for an interview
- Provide constructive feedback. When you break the bad news, give the candidate an explanation of why they’re not getting the job. Try to focus on their skills and experience as it relates to the role and not their interview performance.
- Take constructive feedback to heart. Your interview process should constantly be improving so be open to feedback from candidates. Use Glassdoor reviews as opportunity to learn what is going well and what you can be doing better.
You should want every candidate who comes in for an interview to blow your hiring team away. Set them for success so they can be the best version of themselves.
How interviewers create positive experiences
Your team is hiring and you’ve been asked to interview the top candidates. Your goal is to find the best person for the job but you also want to represent your company in a positive way. Follow these tips and your interviewee will feel like they had a great conversation with you:
- Know who you’re looking for. You should understand the objectives of the role the candidate is interviewing for. That way you can ask questions that lead them to talk about how they’ll accomplish those objectives.
- Ask purposeful questions. The questions you ask should help determine if the candidate can accomplish the role’s objectives. Ask pointed questions that get you the answers you need and open-ended questions that let the candidate make their pitch. Don’t wing it or ask too many cliché interview questions.
- Research the candidate before the interview. Good candidates will know your background prior to the interview so you should know theirs too. Review their resume and work samples and know who else they’ve talked with. Be prepared so you can make the best use of the time.
- Act like you want to be there. A 30 minute interview might be just another meeting on your calendar but it’s likely the highlight of the candidate’s day. Give them your full attention and use all the scheduled time, even if you come to the conclusion they’re not a great candidate.
- Take candidate questions seriously. Don’t gloss over the questions posed to you during an interview. Give the best answer you can or relay the question onto someone who can give a better answer.
- Let them make a final statement. People hate leaving an interview feeling like they didn’t get to say everything they wanted to. Ask them what else you should know about them before you end the interview.
Think of each candidate you interview as a potential future colleague. You’re going to end up working very closely with one of them so try to make a good first impression.
Positive interviews bring the best candidates to you
When it comes to interviewing candidates, a few friendly gestures go a long way. Remember that the best candidates have employment options so your company should strive to present itself as a fun and supportive place to work.