Last time, we discussed how utilising existing staff connections to obtain referrals can help you to get through the recruitment process faster and more reliably since these candidates already have a base understanding of your company and what is expected of them through word of mouth. If you missed it, why not check our part 3 of ‘The Recruitment Process’?

It’s all well and good knowing that the calibre of potential candidates lined up for an opening is higher with a bunch of referrals who you’ve been assured are the perfect fit for the role and the wider company. However, them impressing you is only one half of the dance. 

When all is said and done, and the successful candidate has been offered the position, the ball is in their court to decide whether they take the opportunity; and while job seekers are very much focused on wowing hiring managers to secure themselves an offer, they are equally concerned about the positive (or negative) impression given by the interviewer, too. 

Did you know that a staggering 70% of job seekers turn down a job if their first impression of the company is sub-standard? The research that found this statistic revealed that an interviewee’s first impression is impacted by everything from the reception area to what they think of the interviewer’s handshake and fashion sense.

As the job market gets more competitive for hiring managers, a strong first impression helps your business stand out and continue to attract the most qualified professionals that your field has to offer.

If you want to deliver a standout impression on your candidates, follow the tips below to ensure that you are well prepared each and every time. 

Make Job Requirements Clear and Concise

It’s surprising just how many companies try to fill an open role without knowing exactly who or what they actually need, which makes the whole process confusing and a waste of time for everyone involved. 

Before interviews begin, the first thing on your agenda should be to go through the job requirements with a fine-toothed comb to ensure that there is no uncertainty behind the role and what will be expected of both you and the successful candidate.

Things to consider are: 

  • What kinds of tasks will the person be doing?
  • What are the short- and long-term goals associated with the position?
  • Who will they report to?
  • What is the salary range and is it negotiable?
  • Which colleagues will they be working with most closely?
  • What kinds of clients can they expect to service?
  • What type of experience is necessary to excel in this role?
  • Is any formal training or certification required?

Don’t be tempted to beef up your job description to attract the best talent. You’ll only end up burning bridges. It’s important to be transparent during all parts of the interview process. If you’re looking for a salesperson and the job requires a lot of cold calling, make this known from the start. You don’t want to hire someone, only to have them quit two weeks in because the position wasn’t at all what they expected due to a misleading job description.

This information should be provided in writing (ideally as part of the job listing) so all applicants know what to expect before they submit their CVs. Working off the cuff with an obscure job description makes your business look unprofessional.

Know What Type of Person You’re Looking For

Experience and qualifications are undoubtedly important to ascertaining how suitable a candidate is for the job in question. But it’s also important to understand who they are as a person before offering them a place in your fold, otherwise you could stand to threaten your hard worked for company culture. 

Consider asking them to take a personality test as part of the interview process and explain that you pride yourself in understanding each and every one of your employees in order to know how best to work with them on an individual level. This will not only give you an insight into the type of person they are and how well they will fit into your company, but you’ll also get an insight into their work ethic. Not only that, but you’ll ultimately demonstrate to candidates that you value and care for your employees, and there’s no better first impression than that. 

Everyone Involved in the Recruitment Process Must be Prepared

Whether you’re handling the hiring on your own or rely on a panel-style interview to complete the process, everyone involved should be prepared before you bring candidates in. This means you’ve looked over each applicant’s resume and cover letter, know what you want to ask, can give them an idea about how long the hiring process will take, can provide details about what the position entails, and can explain what the next steps will be.

Bringing candidates in when you lack information or feel disjointed gives a negative impression to those who have applied for the job and can cause you to miss out on the best candidates, as they may choose to go elsewhere.

Be Transparent with Candidates

I don’t know about you, but for me, when I’ve been on the job hunt in the past, my biggest annoyance (aside from being turned down for jobs, of course) has been the dire lack of communication during the hiring process. Trying to find a job is stressful enough, but not knowing where you stand during the interview process only makes it more frustrating. 

When you think that an interview went well, but now it’s been a week and you haven’t heard anything so you’re left wondering whether to continue to hunt, you pretty much lose any respect that you had for the company to begin with.

Not only does that lose you a potential candidate, but you could even be facing a hit to your brand if they choose to tell people about their negative experience. 

Show your applicants that you respect their time and energy by practicing good communication from start to finish during your hiring process.

Let them know when they can expect to hear from you and ask them how they’d prefer to be contacted. Some people find a phone call much easier, while others can’t answer the telephone during the day, making email the best option.

Offer Honest Feedback

Following on from our previous point, it’s important to let candidates know if they haven’t been successful in getting an offer. This shows your respect for them and also allows them to move forward in their job search without wondering if they still have a shot with your company. 

It’s never nice having to tell someone that they haven’t made it, but you can seize the opportunity of a negative situation to have a positive impact on their professional development. Let them know why they didn’t get the job. Were they lacking in knowledge in a specific area? Or were they under qualified for the position? This information can help people to better their chances at securing the next job they go for. 

Choose an Appropriate Interview Space

The environment an interview is conducted in goes a long way to helping the conversation flow (and also what the candidate thinks of your office space). 

Choosing a loud, busy space causes distraction for both interviewer and job seeker. If you’re straining to hear one another over a raucous sales meeting or half of your staff enjoying a lunch break, it will be hard to have a serious, focused conversation. 

On the other hand, a dimly lit, stark room can feel unwelcoming to those coming in to discuss job opportunities.

Be open to choosing a location outside of your normal office space, as well. Many hiring managers find that coffee shops or other off-campus sites lend themselves to a more relaxed job interview than the traditional conference room setting.

Test Equipment Ahead of Time

This might not seem relevant, but if you need to incorporate technology into your discussion — perhaps you want to show a short PowerPoint presentation or you’d like to bring up your company’s website — make sure you’re completely comfortable with the functionality of the software ahead of time.

Few things look worse than when you have to bring in additional hands to get technology issues resolved so you can continue on with your meeting. It gives off an unprofessional appearance and grinds the interview process to a halt. This can cause the candidate to question whether your business is truly up to date on the latest technology and may encourage them to seek opportunities with businesses that have a better grasp on these details.

Small Talk is Good

While keeping the interview process running on time is crucial, bringing a candidate in and immediately drilling them on their previous work experience and educational background makes the whole thing feel uncomfortable and sterile.

Take a few minutes at the start of the interview to make the candidate feel welcome by making casual conversation. This makes the discussion feel more natural and helps put the candidate at ease – and you never know what additional information you might discover from them. 

Keep your Website and Social Media Up to Date

Most candidates will be scoping you out before they even apply for the job. They might want to know anything from the kinds of clients do you take on, whether you’ve won any notable awards or what the atmosphere within your office appears to be like.

Your online presence is the fastest and easiest way to find out this information, and so they’ll be hitting up your website and any social media pages you have. If these are outdated, it sends a bad message to those who may be interested in applying for a job at your company.

Greet them Warmly

The hiring manager isn’t the only person who plays a role in the interview process. Your company’s receptionist has a major influence on the first impression your company creates, so make sure he or she gives off the kind of positive vibes you hope your business radiates.

If this person is cold and unfriendly, the candidate will immediately have a negative impression of your company. If they’re engaging, this individual will feel at home and probably less nervous about the process.

Read more in part 5 of The Recruitment Process series where we look at how collaborative hiring can boost your recruitment efforts.