How Damaging Your Reputation Will Send You Running for Cover

The days are both long and short, the calendar is crammed with back-to-back calls and meetings. Another trip is right around the corner. There is staff to hire, performance reviews to give, forecasts to write up, and a dinner meeting with staff tonight. With so much to do, post-interview activities are easily rationalized away, and are often left undone at the bottom of the to-do list.  The last thing you feel like doing is calling Mike, and telling him he isn’t a fit for the sales opening.

Let’s face it, it’s easier to ignore Mike, move forward with your top two applicants, and get ready for tonight’s dinner meeting. Although you may save time today by not following-up with Mike, or any of the other candidates you’ve interviewed over the years, the long-term consequences will be harmful.

Three Common Post-Interview Mistakes that Damage Your External Reputation

#1 Failing to Get Back to Candidates Who Have Interviewed —The average candidate has spent more than five hours researching your company and preparing to meet you. They have taken un-paid time out of their day for the interview, and deserve to be notified when a decision on their candidacy has been made. If you are able to provide specific feedback on their interview, fantastic. Even generic, “We have decided not to move forward with you,” statements are appreciated. With practice, relaying feedback can takes less than five minutes. If the hiring process has been drawn out without any definitive decisions, at least let the interviewee know where they stand. Ignoring applicants who have interviewed and didn’t make the final round is a big mistake. If you promptly cut them loose after a decision has been made on their candidacy, they will be able to invest their efforts into more fruitful opportunities.

sales reputation management

#2 Focusing Exclusively on Today— Although your internal reputation is naturally the immediate focus of today, remember that your personal external reputation will come to light months, quarters, even years from now. The job market is fluid and very few people stay with employers more than five to seven years. Chances are high that you will find yourself sitting down in the interviewee chair sooner than you think. It’s even probable someone you have interviewed in the past works for one of the companies you find yourself interviewing with. Wouldn’t it be a shame if you weren’t seriously considered for the job because you failed to follow-up during the post-interview process? (Like it or not, as a hiring manager, this is a part of your job!) One way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to conduct yourself professionally both during and post-interview. It’s also a good habit to stay in touch with people you have formally interviewed as you continuously build your network. Don’t think because you are a hiring authority today that you will be immune to the fickleness of tomorrow’s job market.

#3 Forgetting Your Actions will Formulate the Company’s External Reputation—As part of the pre-interview stage, today’s applicants visit popular online sites (i.e., Glassdoor) to research an organization’s interview style. These sites house information posted by current and former employees, as well as selected and non-selected applicants. This intelligence is intended to aid anyone interested in an organization and is frequently reviewed by job seekers before or during the interview process. Stored in the public domain, posted opinions will aid in further promoting or destroying your organization’s external reputation. Whether you acknowledge it or not, this searchable content does impact candidates’ decisions to interview with your company. Never underestimate the power of the written word and its’ impact on your organization’s ability to attract talent.

Aldous Huxley wrote, “There is no substitute for talent. Industry and all the virtues are of no avail.” When it comes to attracting the best, your organization’s behavior is more transparent than it has ever been. Those managers who consistently allocate just a few minutes to post-interview follow-up are successful at building long-term equity for their organizations and their careers. If the interview process is not properly managed, you may wind up missing out on the very people you need to ensure your future success. Work to quickly extinguish missteps in the post-interview process and watch your recruitment results become more profitable.