I’ve been reading and learning from others about interviews with potential employers. The stories are rather sad given there were all sorts of clues the interview process was not well organized. Let me share with you five observations and five tips about building a candidate-centred interview process to get the best possible talent inside your organization.
Observations of Poor Interviews
Interviews appear to be in the control of the interview team. However, it is unclear if the interview team knows their real role in building a clear understanding of how they are going to interview the candidate. The following is a list of my top five observations of what makes for a poor interview situation.
Observation 1 – Unclear instructions of where the interview will take place.
If the directions to the interview are unclear, things may not be getting off to a good start. Poor instructions can indicate the team did not consider the importance of helping you get the interview on time.
Observation 2 – Late or Distracted Interview Team
If the interview team is late getting to the interview, distracted or unable to figure out who is asking what question in what order, it could be very difficult to share your knowledge or experience about the potential job. A late or distracted interview team can give you an insight into how teams are working in the organization.
Observation 3 – Poor Time Management during the Interview
If the interview team leaves five minutes at the end of the interview for your questions, this could signal there are limited opportunities for two-way communication. An unbalanced dialogue between the interview team and yourself could point to how decisions are made and supported throughout the organization.
Observation 4 – Getting Way to Personal during the Interview
If the interview team starts to make you feel uncomfortable by exploring questions that really move beyond the scope of the job, it may be time to start thinking about how to leave. An interview team that starts digging into your personal life, asking questions that you would not ask of them, may have missed on the mark on the purpose of the interview. The inability to stay within the scope of an interview can be a signal to the types of conversations held in the organization.
Observation 5 – Failure to Follow Up
If the organization cannot provide a timely follow up post the interview (e.g., thank you letter, status letter, etc.), it can point to how relationships are supported and developed in the organization. In the world of mass mailing programs, e-mail and chat software, an organization can provide a follow up to you in a timely manner. An organization that is only focused on the interview and not the relationship, may not the place where you want to spend a significant amount of time.
Tips to Consider
Every day, hundreds of great interviews are held between candidates and organizations. Still, there are so many interviews that can that much better. If I could reverse my five observations, here are five tips for employers to host great interviews for job candidates.
Tip 1 – Make sure the candidate has all the information needed to get your interview. Include clear directions parking, room and who to contact in case they get lost.
Tip 2 – Be on time. Period. There is no reason why an interview team is late for an interview. Be on time, be prepared and end on time.
Tip 3 – The interview team should treat the meeting as a business critical. The organization is on stage, make the interview count. Use the time carefully and make sure there is adequate time throughout the process to answer the candidate’s questions.
Tip 4 – Remember, it is an interview by your team and by the candidate. Use the time to talk about the competencies of the job and the workplace relationships skills (e.g., Code of Conduct). Be prepared to talk about what great working relationships and teamwork look like inside your organization.
Tip 5 – Follow up with candidates. Write back and let them know the results, thank them for taking the time to get involved in your organization and let them know how to stay in touch with your organization. It is the type of gesture that will earn your organization respect in the market place.
Building a candidate-centred approach to interviews can open the door to interviews that are productive, insightful and helpful for the candidate and the organization. Double check your planning for your next interview. Make it a great opportunity to showcase your organization and provide a candidate with an opportunity to look at the strengths of your organization.