You only have one chance to make a good first impression. And for companies, that first impression comes during the interview process as they meet with prospective candidates. Not every interview is going to result in an offer - and that’s okay! But it’s still important for every candidate to leave their interview feeling valued and thinking well of your company. That way, they can represent your company in a positive light within their networks. So how can companies make sure that every interview is a positive experience for a candidate? Here are three simple:
1. Treat every interview as a marketing opportunity for the company. Whether or not you end up hiring the candidate, they are going to walk away with thoughts and comments about the company - and they’re likely to pass those on to their network, so you want to make a good first impression. That means putting yourself in the candidate’s shoes: if you were interviewing, what would make the best impression on you? Limit rescheduling interviews as much as possible to avoid inconveniencing the candidate and showing a lack of respect for their time and preparation. And when you’re in the interview, be present - don’t check your phone or rush through questions. Make the candidate feel like they are the most important part of your day. Remember that positive experiences (even ones that don’t result in an offer) can bolster your reputation in the market, while negative ones can easily go viral on social media and hurt your chances of recruiting top talent in the future.
2. Demonstrate a strong attention to detail. You can bet that every candidate is doing their best to prepare for the interview. Make it clear that you’re doing the same thing: send them an itinerary a few days in advance, and include the names of anyone the candidate will be meeting so that they can do some preliminary research on those managers. This will show the candidate that the company is organized and values their time, which makes their first experience with the company culture a positive one. Make sure everyone at the interview is prepared and on the same page so that you can cover all the necessary angles and get a good feel for whether this candidate is the right fit for your company.
3.Follow up within 24 hours to give the candidate some feedback, even if that feedback is “we’re not moving forward.” No one likes to be kept in the dark, and you don’t want to give candidates false hope by delaying uncomfortable conversations. And a candidate always has hope until they are told “no.” If you decide to pass on the candidate, don’t send an automated rejection letter; keep it concise, but personalize it to help soften the blow. Remember that even if a candidate isn’t a good fit right now, they might be able to fit future needs, so you don’t want to burn bridges. In the event that you are interested in moving forward with a candidate, it’s even more important to let them know as quickly as possible. Top talent has a short shelf life on the market, so don’t leave them hanging or they’ll move on to a company that better proves their interest. In either case, you should always provide prompt and accurate responses to any inquiries a candidate sends, and keep them up to date on the decision-making process.
Creating a positive interview experience for candidates is important for companies because whether or not those candidates ultimately become employees, they can have an impact on your company’s reputation in the market. These three simple strategies will help guarantee that the candidates you interview walk out the door of your company with a positive impression of your company.