Improve the Candidate Interview Experience and Start Recruiting Better Talent

A paycheck gets you a body and a certain number of agreed-upon tasks; that’s it. The stuff that gives an organization a competitive advantage-the creative thoughts-are volunteered. And unless you have a mission that will capture an employee’s heart, you will not have access to the full wealth of treasures that someone can bring to your company.
— Dan Erling

Anyone who's recruited for their team's openings already knows that posting a list of job openings alongside a graphic of your company’s values is the easy part.

Demonstrating those values is the real challenge. There is an attitude from both sides of the interview table that can leave the entire hiring and selection process flat, disconnected, and cold.

Consider using these four tips to keep the interview process fun, engaging, and efficient.  

Tip #1 Keep the Online Application Process Quick and Easy

Every day critical revenue generating openings go unfilled is another day money is lost in new revenue. If your application process is taking too long, or candidates run into online application difficulties (e.g. , Ever have an application freeze on you half way through the process?), you will see a severe drop in applications.

Companies like Salesforce, Apple, and Intel have already simplified their online process to take as few as five minutes. Why not have an “Application of Interest” and use that for candidates to send basic information and a more complete application for candidates moved into qualified consideration? This ‘Quick App’ solution might drive down candidate frustration levels that result from a lengthy application process and help keep the recruiting pipeline full!

Tip #2 Make the Interview Interesting for Both of You

Asking the same questions is boring, dull, and tiresome for everyone. Depending on the stage of the interview and various other factors, you could try the following ideas to mix things up:

-Introduce the prospective hire to company executives. They will remember this especially if they are hired.

-Bring a paper with a list of 40 words and have them circle five to eight that most describe themselves in 3 minutes or less. Once they are done, discuss the words. Include words with traits you want and those you don’t as well as words you find neutral.

What is meaningful to them about these words? How have they demonstrated these behaviors through their career decisions? This will tell you a lot about the person you are interviewing in a fun way. Example words might be: independent, collaborative, excitement, tired, aggressive, detail oriented, introverted, thoughtful, etc.

Make it creative and see it as an exercise to find out more about the interviewee rather than a right or wrong exercise. After all, the best way to see what it’s like to work with someone, is to see how they think in action by working with them on something!

Tip#3: Don’t Over Automate the Interview Scheduling Process

Using scheduling tools can be convenient, but there are potential drawbacks. Sometimes emails get lost in bulk folders leading to ‘no shows.’

Prevent this from happening with one simple tip. If you don’t hear a confirmation back from an email sent about scheduling a meeting, make sure to follow up with a voice mail. Speaking with prospective candidates also helps applicants learn more about your company, the culture, and how things work within your organization.

Ranstad US released a survey in August of 2017 and found 82% of participants were frustrated with a job search experience that was overly automated. If recruiting talent is a primary investment option for your team this year, keep a good mix of both technology and people in the recruitment and hiring process.

Engaging candidates with a human-touch during the interview process will help build stronger relationships with potential new-hires.

Tip#4: Provide Timely and Balanced Feedback

Interviewees appreciate understanding the interview process in its entirety and how seriously they are being considered for an opportunity. Hours can be spent researching an organization, preparing for an interview, and taking time off for a meeting. All while maintaining a full-time job.

If you are not interested in a particular applicant, don’t leave them waiting for an answer. Let them know you won’t be moving forward with their candidacy. Even though providing the ‘bad news’ is uncomfortable, it’s the most professional way to handle the interview process.

An effective way to resolve this issue is to set a goal for giving feedback, ours is 24-48 hours after an interview. Share feedback goals and get buy-in from everyone involved in the interview process to ensure consistent delivery achievement.

It can also be helpful to provide balanced feedback, where you provide insights on both positive and negative aspects of the interview. Depending on the circumstances and your audience, it can be helpful to generalize the negative and be specific about the positive.

Better the Experience Better the Brand

It’s easy to forget what it feels like to interview with another company. If we can take a step back and look at the process through an applicant’s eyes, we are likely to make substantial process improvements.

If organizations continue to iterate the interview process, they can improve recruiting efforts. Use these ideas, and brainstorm others with your colleagues. Sort through the ideas and implement suggestions that are relevant and have the potential to make an impact on your recruiting goals. Keep monitoring your results and making adjustments.