Are you struggling to find the right job candidates?
As a hiring manager, deciding who you should hire is difficult enough. Once you’ve done that, nothing’s guaranteed. It can be extremely disappointing to interview someone who seems great for the role, only for them to turn down your offer later on.
If this has happened to you, you might need to revamp your interview process.
During an employment interview, it’s not only the candidate who needs to bring their A-game. It’s the hiring manager’s or recruiter’s job to impress them, too.
In this article, we’ll tell you how to do that, and how it will help you hire the right people.
How to Conduct a Great Employment Interview
Read on to find out why employers should put as much effort into interviews as candidates do.
1. Make a Good First Impression
First impressions are everything. Companies often lose great candidates because they simply don’t make enough effort before or during interviews. Small details matter. When a candidate arrives for an employment interview, smile, greet them, take their coat, offer them a beverage, and introduce them to people.
Little gestures like these will make sure that they feel comfortable. They’ll also let the candidate know that your office is a welcoming, supportive place to work.
2. Do Your Research
Don’t simply glance at a resume before you conduct an interview.
Candidates spend lots of time writing resumes and crafting cover letters and emails. The least you can do is take some time to find out a little about them. Carefully read through the information they’ve given you and check out any portfolios or links they’ve directed you to.
This will allow you to create more compelling and personal questions about them. In turn, you’ll have a much better chance of having a successful interview.
In many industries, the job market is competitive. This means that not only are candidates vying for jobs, but companies are having to work harder to attract people to work for them.
This means that you have to make sure you’re projecting a good image throughout the employment interview process. Often times, hiring teams will introduce an “ice man”, or someone whose purpose is to throw off the candidate and make them uncomfortable to see how they react to difficult situations or adversity. They will ask questions not related to the job, or have someone write code in an unfamiliar language. This approach is typically not well received and usually leaves the candidate with a negative overall impression of the company.
Whether or not an interview is successful, it’s always an opportunity to market your company. Every candidate will leave the employment interview with an impression of your brand, and it’s up to you to make it a good one.
Your reputation is important. Almost 70% of job seekers wouldn’t take a job with a company that has a bad reputation, even if they didn’t have any other prospects.
Treat candidates with respect, and even if they don’t accept your offer, they’ll remember the experience fondly. If you go the extra mile to make them feel comfortable and valued, they’ll be much more likely to want to work with you.
4. Introduce the Working Environment
Use the recruitment process as a way to introduce the candidate to the company, the team, and the way you work.
If you can, walk them through the office, giving them a tour of the area. Show them around, so that they can get a glimpse of the working culture at your company.
It’s a good idea to allow the candidate to interact with their prospective coworkers. They’ll get a feel for each other, and you can ask for feedback later. People will let you know if they think that candidate will be a good fit for the team.
It’s always good to get a second opinion. Introducing other people will help you to do this. After all, you’re not the only person who will be working with the candidate if they’re hired.
If you have someone who is working in the position that the candidate is applying for, have them come in at some point, too. They’ll be able to use their first-hand experience to explain the role to the candidate. This is very helpful and should be done initially if possible.
Also, be sure to let people in the office know ahead of time. Prepare them to meet candidates if required, and let them know questions to ask and not to ask.
5. Let the Candidate Talk
An employment interview should be a conversation, not an interrogation.
Of course, you’ll want to ask them lots of questions to find out whether or not they’re a suitable candidate. You’ll also want to do lots of explaining about the role they’re applying for and the company in general. Just remember not to talk too much.
The candidate should talk just as much as you do, if not more. In fact, it’s been suggested that hiring managers should only speak for 30% of the time during an interview.
Instead of only allowing a few minutes for the candidate to ask questions right at the end of the interview, give them time to talk throughout. Invite them to share their thoughts at different stages, instead of running through a list of arbitrary questions.
Try to make the conversation flow from topic to topic, rather than following a question and answer process. Of course, make sure you ask them great interview questions.
Ask plenty of open-ended questions to get more information. Also, be prepared for them to ask you some of their own. Candidates need to know how their performance will be measured and how they can achieve the results you’re looking for. Give them an idea of goals they should meet in the first 30, 60 and 90 days.
Allow them to ask about these things, and the candidate will feel much more comfortable. This means that you’ll get a better sense of who they are, as well as how you’ll get along with them.
You can also get a good idea of what their interests and motives are this way. If they only ask about things like salary, benefits and annual leave, it’s likely that they’re only interested in what they’ll get out of the position.
6. Set Expectations
An employment interview is a good opportunity for hiring managers to clearly explain what is expected of their employees.
It’s important to tell candidates about the hours they can expect to be working, but you should go into more detail than that. This can include information about how available they should be, how much work they should produce, and typical deadlines.
If expectations aren’t explained properly, this could pose problems after a candidate is hired. Their performance, punctuality, and quality of work may not be up to par. However, if you haven’t made your expectations clear from the start, it’s on you.
This could cause problems later down the line. As a result, you may need to carry out disciplinary procedures to alter their behavior. In the end, you may need to hire someone else altogether, going through the costly process of recruiting and training all over again.
Setting expectations during the employment interview process will also help the candidate to make a decision. They’ll be able to assess whether or not the working environment at your company is one that will suit them. This means you’re more likely to be a good match for each other.
7. Give a Clear Timeline
Job hunting is a stressful process. Candidates often have personal and financial worries, which shorten the time frame they have in which to find work.
This is why it’s important for interviewers to be as open and honest as possible with them about their prospects, the process they’re going through, and the timeline involved.
People need to plan ahead. If you decide to offer them a position, they may need to give thirty days’ notice to their current employer. If they’re moving for the job, they’ll need time to make the adjustments required for that.
Some people may have multiple offers, and could be waiting for one from you before they weigh up their options. If you leave it too long, it’s an inconvenience for them. It also means you could lose a good candidate.
At the end of the employment interview, let candidates know how long they should expect to wait before they hear from you.
It’s understandable that many hiring managers don’t have the time or resources to get back to every single candidate. However, a quick email or phone call to let them know if they were unsuccessful and why is much appreciated.
If you have a policy of only contacting successful candidates, make that clear. That way, they won’t be waiting around for a response that never comes. Be respectful of candidates’ time and don’t leave them hanging.
Ask the Experts
At Zilker Partners, we specialize in IT staffing services.
We know exactly how to get the right person for the job, and are dedicated to nurturing great relationships with clients, candidates and employers.
We understand how the interview process affects staff retention rates, and how companies can use it to keep employees from resigning. We also know how to help candidates land their dream jobs. Whether you’re looking to find a position or to fill one, we can help you.
For more advice on how to have a great employment interview, see our list of interview tips.