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Hire right: How to effectively manage the interview process

Interview faux pas are normally reserved for the candidates, but as talent shortages continue across a number of industries, professionals are becoming increasingly pickier, and it’s often up to the employer to impress.

The interview process is the first impression someone gets of a company. Even if the candidate is unsuccessful, you want each applicant to have had a positive experience when they exit the recruitment process. As a result it’s important for an organisation’s employer brand and reputation to ensure the interview process is handled effectively.

There are a few things you can do while interviewing to ensure it’s a positive experience for all involved.

Understand that you the employer are being interviewed

A critical but often overlooked step at the beginning of any successful business relationship is the interview of a potential employer by a candidate. Employees are commonly regarded as brand ambassadors for their company, and the same attitude should extend to the interviewer. The key is to realise that the interview process is now considered an authentic two-way process, and to secure top talent the organisation also has a responsibility to make a good impression. It’s important to manage the interview process as carefully as any marketing campaign.

Always give feedback after an interview

Research we’ve completed consistently shows candidates appreciate post interview feedback and not all employers give it. There has always been an imbalance between the amount of effort and commitment a candidate puts into a process and the feedback (or lack of it) they receive at the end.

The reality is a candidate will think more highly of an organisation if they give feedback, even negative, than none at all. Overwhelmingly, candidates demonstrated that the way they received the feedback wasn’t as important as the fact they received it at all. Job seekers are looking for helpful, constructive feedback that will be helpful in their future job search.

Feedback should be sufficient and appropriate, to ensure that it is helpful to candidates. While it is appreciated that giving feedback can be difficult, stating it clearly, quickly and sensitively will make difficult messages easier to deliver, and receive.

Have clear interview guidelines in place

Interview guidelines should be designed for consistency, facilitate appropriate questions, and be in a manner that reflects company values. If a candidate turns down an offer, asking for honest feedback on the interview they experienced can shed some light on what could be improved in the process.

Be honest

Never make an offer during the interview, overpromise, or commit to something undeliverable. Be honest with what you can deliver, what the role entails, and what will be expected from a candidate if they’re successful. The worst thing you can do is to make a candidate feel “duped”.

Remember that negative word of mouth can be damaging. A negative review of a company’s recruitment process cannot only spread between people and their networks, but also online through social media, blogs, forums, etc.

Organisations that fail to align their recruiting practices with their branding strategy risk losing top talent and potential revenue. Each candidate will walk away with some impression of the organisation, and the statistics show they will talk about their experience with others. Therefore, each candidate encounter represents an opportunity to build a positive brand image.