First, The Conclusion
Being kind to applicants / candidates during the interview should be part of all company cultures. Treating candidates well during the hiring process is not only the right thing to do, but it can also have a positive impact on your organization’s reputation and ultimately, your bottom line. Candidates who have a positive experience during the hiring process are more likely to become brand ambassadors, refer others to your organization, and even become customers themselves.
Here are a few easy ways to actually do it.
We’ll bet, you haven’t read any of this before.
Candidates start rolling in for you to interview. If your company is like most, there are far too many of them and even more who are not qualified for the positions. After 2 or 3 interviews beginning Tuesday morning, and maybe another 3 to go just today, you begin to become a bit annoyed. Someone making these candidate first round selections is not doing their best job. And your next interview is waiting in the lobby.
Get a hold of yourself. In this instance, you are not the important person, the candidate is.
First and foremost, you are now acting as an ambassador for your company, and you are about to greet a potential talented person that could be a company future President, Head of Sales, Head of Customer Service, CEO, you get the point.
Maybe you ought to treat them as you might an invited and respected guest. Sure, the candidate is there with the hopes of working with your company, but you are not the one doing them a favor.
Quite the opposite, they are taking time away from their lives, their other job or work to meet with you. They are a new potential asset for your company. Treat them that way.
A Few Easy Ideas
#1 Be on time and patient.
If you are running through a few interviews in the morning and a few interviews in the afternoon keep them on schedule. To do this you need to spend one hour organizing for each 3 – 4 interviews. That’s 15 minutes each. Look at the resume of CV handed to you. Take some notes. Think about the plusses and the gaps. Ask about each.
Prepare your questions for each of them. (We actually have a method of preparing questions unique to each candidate if you’d like to simply read off a script. It’s included in our assessments service).
If they are running late and do not call or reach out, all bets are off. That’s on them. We are working on candidate punctuality too.
#2 Definitely LISTEN to the candidate.
Active listening is a skill.
We’ve all been through interviews with people that show no interest in speaking with you. Remember how that felt?
If you get the job, you remember this interview and already have a negative opinion about this person.
If you don’t get the job, you have a negative opinion about the company. I try not to be negative about past interviews, but let’s just say I remember everyone that was uncomfortable due to the behavior of the person interviewing me.
#3. When it’s over, Jot Down a Quick Note.
Right after the interview, write down a highlight from the interview that showed the candidate in a positive light. Nothing too descriptive, something like, “Great enthusiasm for sales background”. Or “Good conversation about that marketing campaign.”
Now why are you doing this? It’s not what you think. You are taking a note that is personal to the candidate and you are going to use it in YOUR THANK YOU EMAIL THAT YOU WILL SEND OUT TO THE CANDIDATE that very same day. It will take all of 2 minutes to compose the email and will go a long way to keeping the candidate’s opinion of your company positive, regardless of their interview path with your company.
One minute of thought on a post-it note affixed to the resume and 2 minutes of email will separate you and your company from virtually all others this candidate interviews with.
#4 Be a Good Host.
Offer them coffee, water, tea, the restroom, a quiet place to make a call AFTER the interview. Not difficult. It will also give them a bit of time to recover from what was a stressful time for them.
#5 Do what you say you will do.
If you agree to track down answers to questions candidates have during your interview. Do it. Email makes our communication lives super easy. There is really no excuse for not responding. You have the time. We all do.
Truly, if you follow the few easy steps above candidates will feel respected and that will reflect on their process with your company now and in the months to come. You don’t need to be super polite, or even charismatic and smiley. You just need to be kind and professional. Today’s technology makes it easy.
Treating candidates well during the hiring process is not only good for the candidates but also for your organization. Word will get out. Providing a positive candidate experience attracts more top talent, improves your brand, and helps your organization achieve its goals.
It never hurts to be nice.