When you interview a candidate, they’re interviewing you, too

Unemployment is currently very low — under 4%1. That means that good candidates can be very selective about the positions they accept. Your interview process is incredibly important in giving candidates a great first impression.

Altering your interview process can have an immediate and substantial impact on how quality applicants perceive your company. Here are some tips:

"Treat the candidate like a customer"

We love this recommendation, from Candice McGlen of The Rinker Group. Thinking of a candidate like customer is a great mindset to guide your entire hiring process.

From Candice: "If a candidate doesn't feel good about how they're engaged during the hiring process, then they may lose interest or enthusiasm about the opportunity. It just takes a little courtesy, preparation, care and punctuality to create a good experience."2

So, how do you create that good experience?

Come prepared

Just as you expect a candidate to know a bit about your company, you should know a bit about an applicant as well. At the very least, make sure you have reviewed the candidate’s resume before the interview. Rather than having a candidate explain their entire career history (which is the purpose of the resume), come prepared with specific questions, for example, about their experience with a particular task, software, or type of customer — things that aren’t on their resume.

Being prepared extends to others who will be in the interview as well. If two or more people will be conducting an interview, consider sharing a candidate’s resume, prescreen responses, any assessment scores, and more with those conducting an interview.

Here’s what that looks like in CareerPlug:

share an applicant

Be active and engaged

A CareerPlug employee recounted a past job interview in which the interviewer spent the whole time texting. She remembered the interview years later, but for the wrong reasons. Not only is it important to give the candidate your full attention, but you should also show genuine excitement about the candidate. When you bring your best to an interview, the candidate will too.

Follow up with the candidate

When you’ve decided not to move forward with a candidate, the best thing to do is let that candidate know as soon as possible. Send a rejection letter with just a few clicks (More info: How do I send a rejection letter to an applicant?). When a candidate knows where they stand, they’ll have a more positive experience of your company even when they weren’t selected for the job. Leaving a rejected candidate feeling respected and informed benefits your company in many ways. You may hope to hire the candidate in the future for a different position, or they might spread positive things about you to their networks.

Your number one hiring objective is quickly hiring the most qualified applicant. Your number one client objective is likely very different. However, when you treat your candidates with the same care as you would a customer, you’re setting yourself up for success.

1 - Bureau of Labor Statistics
2 - 13 Essential Etiquette Tips for Today's Hiring Manager