Employers: Invest in the interview process

Personnel Matters

Congratulations on finding the perfect candidate to fill that critical opening at your company. What’s that? The candidate rejected your offer? This isn’t the first time this happened? Let’s talk about why that might be.

Sometimes everything lines up between employer and job candidate. Yet, after an offer is extended, the response is a “no, thank you.” 

While it’s no secret that elite job candidates often juggle multiple offers today, if your company is constantly getting overlooked by people you’re hoping to hire, it’s time for an honest evaluation of your hiring process. More than likely that candidate is walking away from an interview feeling unconnected to both you and your business.

Consider that it’s stressful for any candidate to interview at a new company. If travel is involved, that adds a whole other level of stress involving logistics. Consider how harried you can feel when landing in a new city, trying to make sense of the airport and rental car process. Now add in the idea of interviewing for a job. Smart employers have learned to overcompensate and make the entire experience as pleasurable as possible. Nobody likes to hop off a plane and be scurried into an interview chair an hour later. Have the candidate fly in the night before and make sure a car is waiting at the airport. A good night’s rest later, the candidate should be ready to meet the hiring team. 

Now about that — candidates don’t want to feel like they are in front of a firing squad during an interview. It can be off putting to sit across a table from several stoic faces taking notes or even worse, pausing frequently to engage with their phones. Make that interview experience as relaxed as possible. Don’t put the candidate on trial. Appreciate the candidate’s time and respect it by being on time yourself. The candidate doesn’t want to feel like an afterthought. If you’re the hiring manager, be present and express not just interest but gratitude for the candidate taking the time to explore a new career possibility.

One of our clients was an out-of-the-box thinker who compiled a five-question prescreen questionnaire before interview day. The questions asked candidates about favorite music, hobbies, an inspirational quote and things of that nature. On interview day, candidates walked into a relaxed setting with that favorite song playing in the background. Their quote had been scripted in calligraphy and framed, a keepsake to take home. Over the top? Sure. A place I’d like to work. Definitely.

Of course, it goes without saying that salary can make or break a career decision. If you’re a smaller company in what might be considered a less-than-desirable market, you might have to bump up the salary you’re offering 10–15 percent. Pay rate is paramount, particularly if you’re looking in your own backyard.

You might have only one job, but you want all four candidates leaving that interview hoping to be selected and considered for a role in the future if not selected for that particular position. Remember that today’s version of street credibility is social media. You want every candidate who interviews for a job with your company leaving with a positive impression, thinking, “Wow! What a great place to work.” 

About Eric Kean 5 Articles
Eric Kean is principal at The Lee Group, executive recruitment and headhunting firm, serving in multiple roles as one of the firm’s leaders and visionaries. He manages business across all of The Lee Group locations, collaborating with the leadership team on key decision making and strategy. Kean can be reached at 873-0792 or by email at eric@leegroupsearch.com.