Never forget that an interview is a two-way process. Yes, you might be assessing a potential employee for their suitability for the role… but remember that they are assessing you right back.
It’s even more important to keep this front of mind right now, as we find ourselves in a candidate-led market. The so-called ‘Great Resignation’, a labour shortage, or just ‘people not wanting to work anymore’ – whatever the cause, companies are battling it out to find the best, brightest and most talented people to fill their vacancies.
When looking for a new job, a candidate is likely to think about more than just the salary on offer. Whilst a competitive salary is a big factor in attracting talent, more and more people are looking for businesses that align with their values and ethics and will offer them a decent work/life balance. This means that throughout the entire hiring process, they’ll be paying close attention.
So how do you make sure that your business is the one that they want to work for?
The Job Ad
Your job ad is likely the first piece of communication that the potential candidate is going to see from you, so you have to make it count.
Gone are the days where the advert has a list of desirable attributes and a technical specification. Your job ad is just that – an advertisement. You have to make sure that you hook the person that you’re trying to attract.
What’s in it for the candidate? What is so special about your business and team? What are your values and mission? Try and showcase this in your job advert – but don’t overload it with jargon, or an extra-long list of requirements. That’s how you scare people away.
A large majority of candidates are also looking to make sure that the company they’re applying to is an inclusive one. Does the advert showcase your commitment to inclusivity, or is it laced with gender-biased terms? There are many free online bias checkers to run your ad through to check before it goes live.
Not sure why your job advert isn’t working? Fear not –we wrote a blog for BIMA that can help.
Before the interview
You’ve extended an interview invitation to some promising looking candidates! But now is not the time to put your feet up.
It is likely that these candidates will now be researching your business, and maybe even you, as the hiring manager. They’ll be scouring your website to find your values, checking Glassdoor to read what former and current employees have to say about working for you, and be creeping on your LinkedIn profile to see what sort of views you have as a manager.
You may think, ‘Well, there’s not really much I can do about that!’, however that is not true. Are your company values prominent and easy to find on the company website? Does your social media show what life is like working with you? What does your company Glassdoor profile say? Are you interacting with controversial posts on LinkedIn that may raise some red flags for the candidate?
Take a step back and view these various profiles and websites as if you were looking at them for the first time. Try and put yourself in their shoes.
Curious about how you can utilise social media to attract talent? Oh yes, we have a blog for that too!
How often do you think about the way you are communicating with potential employees?
Many employers, when arranging interviews, often forget the two-sided nature of them. Many candidates know that if they receive poor communication from you during the recruitment phase, then communication is only likely to get worse once they are settled in the role.
If your emails to them are impolite and full or errors, this will raise concerns. Whilst a typo or two won’t really do anything to affect their image of you, consistent mistakes, unclear language, and rudeness (you’d be surprised…) all add up to create a negative image.
Are you asking the candidate for what time suits their calendar, or are you just decreeing times that work for you? Candidates will easily notice if you are respecting their time, or if you are just demanding respect for your own time.
It is also important to be up-front and clear about your recruitment process at the start. Be clear about the different interview stages and any assessment or skill-based assignments that will be required. Candidates do not like to be taken by surprise by an assessment they didn’t know was coming, or to be given an assignment that they will have to give up a good chunk of their hard-earned weekend for with no compensation. This will leave them with a bad taste in their mouth.
The interview stage is going to be where you’re going to learn more about the candidate, but it is also where they are going to find out more about you, too.
Sometimes, things can go wrong beyond your control. Your previous meeting or interview may have over-ran, meaning your next one starts 10 minutes late – make sure to apologise! The candidate’s time is just as valuable as yours. As a general rule, never leave anyone waiting more than 15 minutes. Nobody likes to be kept waiting, and any longer than that will be perceived negatively.
If you are rude or brash, they will react negatively. The same if you are constantly distracted, checking your emails or phone or spending lots of time staring out of the window. Respect the time that they have given to come meet with you. You may think that a welcoming and pleasant demeanour whilst conducting an interview would be a given, but you would be surprised!
Give your candidate plenty of time to answer your questions, and try not to interrupt them when they are speaking. It can show a lack of respect and they’ll believe that, as a manager, you talk over your employees and don’t value their opinions and ideas.
Don’t bad mouth former employees, either. It is not only incredibly unprofessional, but it also leaves a bad taste in the mouth of a potential employee, wondering if that’s how you’ll talk about them when they are not around.
And don’t exaggerate about how wonderful you and the company are. It always backfires on the company and everyone ends up disappointed. This is likely to affect your employer reputation too, making it even more difficult to attract talent in the future. Be honest and showcase your best qualities, but be willing to admit where your team may be lacking and show that you are open to suggestions from team members of how to fill these gaps. This shows that you value your employee’s input.
After the interview
Keep lines of communication open.
Don’t just go radio silent on the candidate until you are ready to give them your decision. For example, a quick email the following day saying something like “It was great to meet you yesterday, and we hope to be back in touch within [insert timeframe here]” will not only help set expectations, but also go a very long way towards leaving a positive impression of you and your company.
It feels like we have to shout this from the rooftops – FEEDBACK, FEEDBACK, FEEDBACK!
If the candidate was unsuccessful, don’t just fire out a standard copy-and-paste email message. Try and make it a bit more personal. Give them feedback on where they could improve, let them know what impressed you and what they did well.
You may be thinking ‘but I don’t have time for that!’, but we beg to differ. Just a few sentences can make a huge difference, and they will appreciate the advice. It will also go a long way for your company reputation, as even unsuccessful candidates leave with a positive experience.
And remember, just because that person isn’t right for this role right now, who’s to say they won’t be in the future?
You’re ready to make an offer – congratulations on finding the ideal candidate!
Make sure that your offer is clear. No wishy-washy salary promises. We suggest making the offer both verbally and in written form. Accepting a new job is a huge life decision, and whilst the personal touch of a phone call is appreciated, the written form of an email helps the candidate get all the information they need, i.e. Salary, working hours, etc, in one place.
It’s important to remember that just because someone has gone through your recruitment process does not mean that they will automatically accept. They may have concerns that arose during the process that need addressing first, or they may have multiple offers to manage.
Offer to address any concerns they have in a friendly manner, and try not to be pushy if they are deciding between multiple roles. You may feel frustrated but don’t let that boil over into your conversations with them, as this will not go in your favour!
Find out all the top reasons that candidates turn down job offers here.
They’ve accepted! That means you’re all done, right?
Many businesses lose new members of staff within the first few weeks of employment, simply because the team is not prepared for their arrival. Bad or non-existent onboarding processes are a huge let-down. Even if they stick around, it’s unlikely that they’ll be with you for very long.
Onboarding is everything from systems training to an introduction to the business and team. It should be a well-rounded process that doesn’t overwhelm or bore.
Need more help with your recruitment process?
We have absolutely tonnes of advice waiting for you – check out the rest of our blogs for insights and advice from our experts, as well as guest blogs from industry leaders.
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