Most companies spend considerable time on writing job descriptions and advertisements hoping to attract the best candidates but often fail to live up to expectations when it comes down to their interview process.
Too many companies take their own selling points for granted and often focus only on the job and how it fits in the company structure. It is important to sell the benefits of working for your organisation, both functional (location, salary, benefits) and intangible (passion for your work, workplace culture), so that candidates will choose to work for you.
The interview process should reflect your company values, or the way of working that you wish to portray to candidates, to give you the best chance of hiring the top candidates. The following scenario may be all too familiar:
A company creates the job description, explaining in great lengths what a fabulous organisation they are, how they genuinely care about their employee’s wellbeing, about their teams’ gatherings, their pizza lunches, and the benefits of working for their company.
A candidate reviews the advertisement and think what a wonderful company and opportunity. They spend time to make sure their CV highlights all their skills and experience in relation to the role, write a covering letter and apply. Then, one of the following will happen:
No response – what does this say about your company?
Automated reply – better than nothing
Thanks, but no thanks – always so much better than the above – if you gave a reason that would only increase your companies profile in the eyes of the candidate
Interview request – all good!!
The candidate prepares for interview, spends considerable time reviewing your website and job description. The candidate takes time out of their day, often having to use annual leave to attend, whether that be in person or online. The candidate feels the interview goes well and is feeling really excited about the opportunity, then one of two things happen:
1. Shortlisted, but a week goes by before anyone gets back to them.
Even some initial feedback would be better than nothing, e.g., "the interview went well, but we have others to see, and we should get back to you by..." would be so much better than not hearing anything at all. How long would it really take to drop a quick to email to say thank you for attending interview, especially if you are considering hiring them?
2. Not successful – had stronger candidate.
Really, this may be the case but surely after the candidate taking time to attend interview, you could give them a little more, or some feedback on their interview or tips for the future? It could help them with their next interview.
Excellent communication is fundamentally the most important part of the recruitment process. A company’s ability to provide feedback to candidates it key to maintaining their reputation and finding the best candidate for a role.
Many years ago, a graduate attended a group interview, after which the client rang me furious to ask if I had bullied the graduate to attend because he just kept sighing. I told the candidate this and he denied it. A couple of days later the candidate called me back to say he had told his mum and she confirmed he always sighed when he was nervous (but was completely unaware he did so). I rang the client and advised accordingly, and he invited him for second interview, as it put a completely different light on the situation. Without this feedback the candidate may have continued to miss fantastic job opportunities over a nervous habit he was unaware of.
You may be the greatest company in the world to work for, but unfortunately, we all know that if someone has a bad experience, they tell everyone!! Everyone has had an interview at some stage in their career so put yourself in the candidates’ shoes and ask yourself how you would want to be treated. Now more than ever, with the competition for good candidates so much higher, should companies not be making every effort to impress to make the candidate experience a good one?