Ask any job seeker and they’ll tell you that most interviews are pretty predictable. The handshake and introductions. Some small talk about traffic or weather. Then, a tepid segue into generic questions like, “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
Generic experiences like this can easily make the entire interview process come off as not only one-sided, but rather unappealing for the candidate.
The goal of every interview is about more than just filling a position. It’s about hiring someone who is a great fit. So, how can you expect the right person to show up if you don’t?
With remote work, and hiring, becoming increasingly common, it’s an especially good time for recruiters and hiring managers to rethink the interview. Here are a few ways to conduct the interview process with more empathy, for better results – for you, and for the candidate.
The fear of the unknown can make the interview process feel daunting. Taking candidates through what they can expect ahead of time is a great way to help them be more at ease when it’s time for the interview itself. Lay out everything from who they will be meeting and when, to where and how the interview will take place (for example, if it’s a video chat), as clearly as possible. This will help your interviewees stay focused on the actual interview.
Here are some other details you can share with candidates to help them prepare for the interview:
This might seem like a lot to communicate, but an applicant tracking system like Recruit Right can help you stay organized and set reminders for important dates, times and items you need to communicate to candidates.
The best interviews feel more like conversations. Remember, as much as this is a chance to see if the candidate is a match for the position and organization, it’s also their opportunity for them to get to know you. Instead of checking questions off a list, try asking open-ended questions as part of the conversation. This helps sustain a natural flow as you move from topic –to topic. Here are some additional techniques to make the interview process better for everyone involved.
Pay close attention when your candidate is speaking and try to read between the lines. If they pause to take their time to answer your question, smile and wait patiently for their response. They will often surprise you with a unique perspective.
If you show excitement about the job opportunity and the candidate’s prospects from the onset of the interview, odds are they will let their guard down and be themselves during the brief window of time you have together.
If the candidate doesn’t quite answer a question directly or you just need more details to assess their perspective, resist the urge to move on. Ask follow-up questions to prompt a new approach to the topic. It’s important to get a good grasp of how a candidate thinks through certain situations and how they relate their experience in this initial interview.
We often expect candidates to follow-up after an interview. Extend the same courtesy to maintain good relationships with your candidates. It’s a simple way to ensure they have a positive perception of both you and the employer.
Think of it this way. Maybe a perfectly good candidate doesn’t quite work out for the role you had in mind. But by taking a few minutes to follow up, you keep the lines of communication open so you can reach out with a more suitable opportunity in the future. Before you schedule interviews, it’s a good idea to identify how you will close the loop with every candidate – whether you hire them or not.
Here are some of the best ways to follow up with candidates:
Approximately 94% of the people who apply for a job don’t get closure, and there are definite business repercussions to failing to follow up.
Many applicants are fans of the brand they interviewed with, since most people want to work for a company they like. Failing to follow up may leave a bad taste.