January 21, 2014

How to make a good impression on great candidates

During the course of your recruitment campaign, it’s important that good candidates like and respect you at interview. If they don’t, you risk losing them to your competition. Here’s some tips on how to make a great impression.

impressionMaking a good impression on candidates at interviews is critical if you want to attract the best talent.

Many employers lose out on hiring a great candidate because they fail to make a positive impression on the candidate during the interview.

It’s important to realize that during the interview process candidates are forming judgements about you as a manager and the quality of your company.  No one wants to work for a bad manager or a company going nowhere.

In a candidate rich market this may not count for much because you can pick and choose from a large list of strong candidates. But in a candidate short market when you’re competing against other employers it’s critical that you make a positive impression, otherwise you may well end up with second or third best.

And don’t forget, by making a really good first impression you may even be able to hire a top tier candidate for less money.  There are lots of candidates out there who are willing to work for a bit less money if it’s the right company or manager!

Here’s what to do:

  1. Be prepared for the interview. Have your interview questions ready! Don’t rest on your laurels and assume your experience interviewing candidates over the years is enough. Don’t just make up questions as you go.  Candidates will notice.
  2. Avoid asking personal questions about the candidate’s private life.  Note: many personal questions are unlawful and you could end up getting reported to the authorities.
  3. Ask only relevant questions, i.e., questions about the candidate’s career past, experience, skills and knowledge.
  4. Ask questions designed to elicit the truth. For example, if a candidate claims that they achieved a certain task or accomplished a certain goal ask them HOW THEY DID IT?
    Here are some other effective questions:
    • What steps did you take to achieve that?
    • What were your major obstacles and how did you overcome them?
    • What were your priorities when working on that project?
    • How did you resolve issues with non-performing staff?
  5. Allow the candidate to ask you questions.
  6. Ensure your office and common areas are clean, neat and attractive.
  7. Avoid interruptions.  You cannot conduct a proper interview if you’re being interrupted.
  8. Be friendly and supportive during the interview. Smile, nod positively and encourage the candidates.
  9. Avoid talking about yourself.
  10. Don’t rush the interview.  Depending on the seniority of the role interviews should be between 30 mins to 90 mins.

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