Interview Experience Tips for Employers

What is your organization’s interview experience philosophy? Is it seen as a means to an end? Do you see it as a simple filter-down procedure? What if your organization treated the interviewing experience with deeper purpose? Could it hold the potential to expand a strategic brand image? Could it be used to make lasting connections with even those who don’t make it into the role? Amidst the latest boom of employees looking for the next bigger and better employment option, employers are having to get additional staff in on the interviewing process. Talent Acquisition Specialist was ranked #12 in LinkedIn’s 2022 Jobs on the Rise list. The field of people deciding who gets to move on to the next step in the interview process is growing exponentially. The current state of mass shuffling of careers also means candidates have options. What is your organization doing to ensure a positive interview experience? Imagine the viewpoint of a candidate who encounters the following: They’ve applied to a job that feels like a perfect fit. Your organization has lured them in with a conglomerate of glamorous benefits and promises of a well-respected work-life balance. They are thrilled when they get the email that their resume has made it past the ATS, and they’ve been chosen to interview with a recruiter! It’s a zoom interview, of course, so they bring their A-game and have at least their top half looking like the professional they are. All this anticipation leads up to a call with your designated first point of contact in the interview process: a blank faced, personality lacking, monotone voiced, recruiting robot persona merely reading off a checklist of interview questions from their screen with little to no effort towards having a two-sided conversation. Does that sound like the type of interaction that matches the exciting culture and innovative platform the company was advertising? No. It is extremely hard to thrive in an interview where it feels as if the person opposite is just getting through an assigned checklist of screening questions. In the current war over top talent, it is essential for employers to recognize the importance of making real connections in the interview experience. Candidate evaluators must ensure they are supporting the philosophies and values their company advertises. Consider the consequences of not doing so. Job seekers have a myriad of options laid out; they likely won’t choose to move forward with an employer who fails to meet expectations during the interview process. How can you frame the interview experience to guarantee potential employees walk away with an optimistic opinion? Be punctual. Candidates have likely taken time away from their current job to interview with you. Be respectful of that. If you expect the applicant to show up on time, you should do likewise. For goodness’ sake, smile. If you can’t at least pretend to enjoy talking with someone who could become your next colleague, you may not be in the right field. Attempt a genuine connection. Showing an interest or merely connecting over a trivial mutual interest puts the candidate as ease. When the candidate is at ease the employer experiences a more authentic response. Glimpsing who the applicant truly is an advantage to your company. Don’t use a Zoom background filter. Whether you work from home or the office, this interview showcases the work environment your company has built. Give the candidate a chance to see what that environment, real or virtual, could be for them. Be sensitive about the discussion surrounding compensation. Upfront pay transparency is the ideal direction by avoiding this issue altogether. However, if that’s not your organization’s policy, don’t make pay the initial center of conversation. If the applicant isn’t already nervous enough, bringing up the most uncomfortable topic of discussion may leave them shaken or questioning their response for the rest of the interview. Understand your company, the benefit package, and the details of the job. How does it look if the employees leading your interviews aren’t able to explain the ins and outs of basic benefit, culture, or job duty information? Be prepared to answer questions concerning parental leave, the product or service you provide, the PTO offered, or how your company build its culture. Are the recruiters, hiring managers, and interview panels your company uses leaving candidates with a positive memory of your organization? If not, you may need to rethink how you view attracting your most important business asset: the future of your success. Contribution by Stephanie Mauney

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Chris Russell

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