As an employer, when we think of the interview process we think of interview questions and the offer letter. Once the offer letter is signed, employers often have a program to welcome employees on board. That’s great, but what about before all that? How are things being handled from a candidate’s perspective during the interview process?
Most employers don’t think of the interview process from the candidate’s perspective. Recruitment professionals do think about this. They know that whether a candidate accepts an offer and stays in a job depends on how candidates are treated or how they perceive they are being treated during the interview process. I say, how they perceive they are being treated, because what is happening from a company’s perspective and a candidate’s are two different things. For example:
A company is extremely interested in a candidate. They have a first interview with a candidate and then take a few weeks before going ahead with the second interview. There may be many reasons from a company’s perspective for this gap between interviews. The candidate often assumes, the delay indicates a lack of interest on the part of the company. Even though the candidate was extremely excited about the position after the first interview, their enthusiasm is often dampened by what they perceive as a lack of interest on the part of the company.
Let’s say the candidate is called in for a second interview and all goes very well. The company says they are very interested and that there may be an offer. Then the client takes a week or so to put an offer together. There may be all kinds of reasons the company has for taking a week, sometimes more, to put an offer together. From a candidate’s perspective, they have now been in the interview process for a month or more. Shouldn’t the employer know by now if they are interested? Are they hesitating or looking at other candidates? The candidate has put things on hold and built up anticipation for the role over that month. How the offer stage is handled can affect the candidate’s future feelings about the organization once they are in the new role.
How do you prevent this from happening?
Keep the interview to offer time under two weeks
Have the candidate do first and second interviews on the same day
Make sure the hiring managers who will sign off on an offer are available
Be clear about your level of interest with candidates and what the next steps in the process are
What about the candidate who doesn’t get the job after all that? No problem, you didn’t want to hire them anyway, right? Wrong! How you treat a candidate will affect many peoples opinion of your organization. A candidate takes their family and friends on their journey through the interview process. They will know how you treated the candidate and how the candidate perceives their treatment. Remember, those friends and family of the candidate may include a future ‘dream hire’ for your organization. In real estate location is everything. In the hiring process, perception is everything.
How can you avoid leaving a negative perception in a candidate’s mind?
Respond, even if it is by email or form letter to every application you get.
De-brief candidates after each interview with your company (you will learn a lot about your hiring managers this way, as well)
Let candidates who are no longer being considered for a position know in a respectful manner as soon as you decide you will not hire them. Thank them for their time
Trying to view your hiring process through a candidate’s eyes, and adjusting your process, can make a big difference to new employee morale and job satisfaction in the future.