The interview is an opportunity for both employers and job seekers to get to know each other, learn about the company, culture, and if there is a mutual match.
So why then, are some interviewers still using dated interview techniques that scare off candidates?
Mark Babbitt, author of the Amazon best-seller, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive, details these four ways employers are scaring off candidates in the interview process:
1. Treat the Interview like a Visit to the Doctor’s Office
Job seekers plan everything – when to shower, dress, eat and leave their home for the interview – down to the minute. During their commute, they obsessively look at the time to make sure they are on schedule.
When they arrive, they verify they’re five minutes ahead of time – and congratulate themselves for the flawless execution of their pre-interview plan And, then the employer treats them like a doctor treats a patient in the waiting room.
The candidate waits, waits and waits some more. All the while, the candidate thinks: “Is this really how this company is run? Is this what I have to look forward to?”
2. Turn the Interview into a Sales Meeting
Competition for top talent has always been intense.
That has never been truer today as companies not only look for someone who can do the work but contribute positively to the company culture. Unfortunately, this has led to too many interviews becoming high-pressure sales environments.
In the end, this red flag leaves the candidate with one less-than-positive thought: “If this is such a good position at what you say is a great company, why are you trying so hard to sell me on the opportunity?”
3. Generic Questions and Preparation
During a job interview, candidates are marked down significantly for not preparing for a specific employer; they are expected to know the company’s mission, product or service, and culture.
And yet many candidates leave an interview feeling like they’ve just answered the exact same prepared questions as every other candidate.
“Today’s best interviewers, and companies, spend the time required to thoroughly research the candidate,” says Babbitt. “These companies develop a question set specifically designed to learn more about that candidate’s ability to do the work, contribute immediately to the team and fit into the existing company culture.”
4. Failure to Set Proper Expectations
After the interview, the candidate only has three questions:
a. Am I in the running for this position?
b. When will I hear from you again?
c. When will your decision be made?
“In today’s job market, an employer who does an excellent job of deliberately answering these three questions wins the trust and respect of the candidate,” says Babbitt. “Those that don’t leave the candidate wondering if they’ve just wasted their time. More important, they wonder if this is really the kind of company worth investing further time and energy.”
Employers should also be careful with multiple interviewers and be sure to let the candidate speak, says George A. Santino, author of Get Back Up: From the Streets to Microsoft Suites.
“With multiple interviews there needs to be coordination between them,” says Santino. “Few things can turn a candidate off more than interviewing with five people and have each of them ask the same questions. Make sure the interviewers share what each will cover.”
And always let the candidate speak.
“The interviewer or hiring manager is trying to make a very important decision for the company, but remember that the candidate is making a truly life-altering decision,” says Santino. “Some candidates hesitate to ask questions for fear of being evaluated. It’s important that the hiring manager creates the kind of rapport that allows the candidate to speak up.”
Karen A. Young author of Stop Knocking on My Door – Drama Free HR to Help Grow Your Business and president of HR Resolutions, a full-service HR consulting company, agrees.
“Most inexperienced interviewers talk entirely too much during the interview,” says Young. “While it is your responsibility to sell the candidate on why your company is a good match for them, the interview really is the time for the candidate to be allowed to shine. It’s one time when people are allowed to talk about themselves and show off, right?”
Let them talk. And give them your full attention. Put your phone on silent, avoid interruptions and pay attention to the candidate.
“Your job, during the interview, is to determine if this person is a possible fit for your organization,” says Young. “Nothing else should be more important – if there is something more important, reschedule.”