The interview process is the most integral part of the hiring process to find the right fit candidate.  But when interviewers hurry things up or go unprepared when they meet with a candidate that’s when candidates leave the interview room disappointed and frustrated. As an employer, it can damage your reputation and chances are you might end up hiring a wrong one!

On a  LinkedIn report, 83% of candidates said a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked. 87% of talent said a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted.

With the unemployment rate at a record low, there are more jobs than the number of candidates available to fill them. It is a candidate-driven market and you have to bring your ‘A’ game in providing a better experience for your candidates throughout the process. And in order for you to understand the right fit, you need to provide a favorable environment for the candidate to interview with you. Most importantly provide a positive interview experience.

Below are the steps where you can provide a Positive interview experience for your candidates.

Be a host:

The candidate is a guest to your family/organization and you need to treat them with respect. Make sure to greet the candidate at the front desk/reception when they come in for the interview. As much as you want the candidate to be on time to come in for the interview, make sure you are there at the front desk to greet your candidate and not make them wait for long. Let the front desk team know that you are expecting a candidate and share the details with them that way they can be prepared to receive the guest.

Set the expectations:

It is the same as your performance review. If you knew your Key Performance Indicators ahead of time you would be able to perform better. The same thing happens in an interview. Learning more about the expectations will help a candidate build their confidence and perform towards the expectations.

Let candidates know how the interview process is going to unfold. Let them know what you are going to cover in the interview. This is a stage where you let the candidate know what they can expect in the 30-60 mins of interview time with you, how you will start the interview, what you are looking for in a candidate, what type of questions will be covered, and if needed then you will be asking more follow up questions. Setting the expectation will help the candidate prepare better, become relaxed, and focus on how to deliver what the interviewer is looking for during the interview process.

Let candidates know what you are looking for:

I have seen that interviewers go right into the list of questions that they have. The more you want to save time and be done with the interview the worst the interview experience would be. The end result, you might end up not having enough information to decide if the candidate is going to be right fit or not.

Chances are candidate might not even had a chance to talk a recruiter prior to the interview and learn exactly what you are looking for. And your job posting might not do a great job of sharing what you are looking for either. So starting the interview saying ‘I am going to get right into the question’ may not be the right way to kick off.

Rather start the conversation with a friendly approach and a smile on your face to help the candidate relax. Make sure you are covering the below points:

  • Start the interview talking a little bit about you, and your experience working at the company
  • The work culture of your company
  • Why this position became open
  • What type of skills and background you are looking for
  • How a day in the life of someone on this position will be
  • What type of projects someone on this position will be working on etc.

This way the candidate knows enough on what to highlight during the conversation, how to articulate and relate his/her background and skills to the open position. And this way, you as an interviewer can find exactly what you are looking for. And if you need to get more information. Be sure to probe the candidate and ask some follow up questions for clarity.

Be structured to get the best out of the interviews

There are people who are really good at evaluating personalities. Seasoned recruiters and hiring managers can easily understand if a candidate is going to be the one within minutes after talking to them. But when you don’t have a well-trained interviewer, interviewing a candidate can go wrong on so many different ways. But the most often I have seen that interviewers making a judgment just by the appearance and look of a candidate rather than evaluating them based on the how they articulate their experiences that help you connect to the job requirements.

As much as you want the candidate to come prepared, the candidate would want you to be prepared for the interview and guide them towards the right direction. Chances are there may be multiple interviewers. It would be better for the interviewers to gather and spend a few minutes to prep, know who will ask which question, understand who will evaluate what etc. Here are some steps that you may want to start with:

  • Take a quick glance through the resume and highlight anything specific that you would like to learn more and ask questions about
  • Go through the job profile and do an overview of the open position that the candidate is interviewing for
  • Get a mutual understanding of the key questions you want to cover in the interview - both competencies and cultural fit questions - and what kinds of answers you are looking for

Using a structured interview process where each interviewer has a set of questions with a specific purpose and each candidate going through the same set of questions will help you avoid any biases. It avoids any overlapping of interview questions and allows you to evaluate your candidates in a consistent manner.

Provide an opportunity to ask questions

Make sure to set aside some time for the candidates to ask questions to you. Providing an opportunity to ask questions will help the candidate learn more about the position that they are interviewing for, learn more about the organization and understand if this is going to be a right fit for them. Candidates are evaluating their options as well. Help them understand why this is an exciting time to join your organization, what it is like to work at your organization. Hearing it from you will help build confidence in candidates mind and choose your company over other employers that they are interviewing.

What would you do to provide a positive interview experience to your candidates?

For more recruiting and interview insights, join us in San Francisco this January 30 - February 1, 2019, at #SRSC where talent acquisition leaders connect to leverage emerging recruiting practices.

Nisha Raghavan is the Talent Attraction and Employer Branding Specialist at the American Heart Association. Prior to this, she worked in the telecommunications and media industry to help attract, engage and retain talent. She writes about her Global HR experiences at her blog Your HR Buddy!! Connect with her on LinkedIn and on Twitter at @TheHrbuddy