When attending a job interview, it is essential to dress well, show up on time, demonstrate good humour and likability, and create a memorable experience for the person you are sitting down with. These simple concepts are well understood throughout the world of job-seekers – but often ignored by HR managers and/or hiring managers themselves.
They shouldn’t be. Every time a company or organisation interacts with a member of the public, it is being evaluated and its reputation is under review. Even though the ‘official’ evaluation is going in the other direction, you can be sure that the candidate is also judging the professionalism of your organisation, just as your HR manager and/or hiring managers is judging them.
We live in a social media world, where news travels fast and reputation is everything. Whether or not any particular candidate is likely to join your organisation, they will certainly form an impression of it. The experience they have will then influence your brand reputation one way or another, to the point where it may even alter the quality of candidates who come in for job interviews in the future.
Interviews as brand marketing
In addition to its necessary function of finding the right talent, the entire recruitment process can also be seen as an extension of brand marketing. Job postings – whether through recruitment websites or social media – should be clean, clear and well organised. All subsequent communications with candidates should be polite and responsive, always aiming to create a positive experience. Candidates should not be kept waiting unnecessarily at any point in the process.
Before bringing in new candidates for an interview, prepare your office staff and train them to be helpful and friendly to all potential recruits who walk through the door. This way, when you show each candidate around the office to share the positive aspects of working at your organisation, some of the barriers will have been removed; your organisation will feel more accessible; and they’ll come away thinking that it is an excellent place to be.
Making every interview a success
On interview day, do your best to create a good first impression, and connect with each candidate on a human level. Ask meaningful questions and listen carefully to their responses, both for your own benefit and for theirs. Avoid being pushy or over-selling the virtues of the company, particularly for passive candidates who may only be interested in getting a sense of what your organisation is all about.
Show enthusiasm and respect, recognising the value of each candidate even if they aren’t right for the position you are seeking to fill. After each interview, always follow up by email to thank the candidate for coming and to let them know where they are in the hiring process.
By approaching each interview through this framework, every interaction with a job candidate can be seen as a success. Those who are hired will begin a new chapter of their careers with a sense of genuine optimism, improving their effort, focus and overall morale. Those not hired will come away with a renewed respect for your organisation, talking positively about you to friends, family – and perhaps even talented acquaintances who may be looking for a new career themselves.
These are the benefits that accrue when organisations take the right attitude towards the hiring process, from posting on job boards to sitting down with each potential new employee.
If all of this sounds familiar, it should. When interacting with candidates, you must be courteous, alert, professional – in other words, treat it like a job interview.