Did you know people who are satisfied with their candidate experience are 38% more likely to accept a job offer?
Losing a candidate after extending an offer can be crushing, but we often lose a top candidate early in the process.
Let’s face it; interviewing is stressful for managers. Often, an unsuccessful hire can mean hours of coaching, missed deadlines, decreased positivity in the workplace or, my least favorite, drama. There’s pressure to hire, hire quickly, hire correctly and that pressure can show. In a world of candidate scarcity, assuring a positive initial candidate experience is critical. Candidates are consumers. They buy into the company, into you as a leader, and follow standard consumer-driven behaviors of those that purchase your products. This fact means not all candidates you meet, even if they’re perfect for the role, will accept an offer. Not only are candidates skeptical, particularly those that were sourced passively (not looking for a job change), but they are nervous. The impact an employee has on a company isn’t close to the impact the job has on a candidate. It’s our job as the interviewer to know this and put them at ease quickly.
Here are a few easy ways to relax, relax the candidate, get to the truth, and get a YES when making an offer.
1. STOP and BREATHE
Don’t rush in from another meeting and wind up reading their resume in front of them. Take five minutes to decompress. Read their resume thoroughly and highlight areas of interest and concern. Leave your phone at your desk and notify staff that only 911’s should be cause for interruptions.
How we appear to our candidates is essential. If we are coming out of a stressful meeting, it may show and send the wrong signal, causing candidates to form early but false impressions about you as a manager. Disruptions during interviews, such as our phone buzzing in our pocket, cause us to lose focus and can derail critical moments of establishing rapport (the foundation of obtaining truthful responses from interviewees).
A friendly smile not only relaxes the candidate, but it will relax you as well and put you in a better mood. Smiling upon greeting isn’t enough. It’s possible to be critical and comforting at the same time, so make a habit to brighten-up during the meetings when appropriate. It’s fine to ask hard-hitting questions, put them on their heels to see how they handle tough questions or react to stress, but you must SELL before you SCREEN.
3. ESTABLISH RAPPORT
What do you do for fun?
Tell me about yourself.
What’s something outside of work that you’re passionate about?
This is a standard NLP rapport building practice. It helps the candidate go to a “happy place” and gives them something stress-free to chat about and lubricate the conversation. Their answers to the tougher questions will flow more efficiently, and they’ll reveal more about the type of person they are. They’ll also view you as an interested employer whose they like, which can lead to a YES when the offer is out.
4. ORIENT THEM IN TIME
Let them know how the meeting will go and in what order.
“Carrie, thanks for coming in today. This morning, I’ll be meeting with you first for about 30 minutes, followed by Jim, the VP, and Sandra, the Office Manager, for 30 minutes each as well. Our style of interviewing is accomplishment based. We’ll be discussing your career history starting with your job at X and working towards your current position. Before we get started though, tell me. What do you do for fun? “
5. ORIENT THEM IN SPACE
Whether it’s a small office or a large campus, offer a quick walk around or a tour of the space they’ll be working. Let your teams know candidates are coming in and encourage them to be warm and welcoming. Show them the kitchen, gym, and any other amenities you are proud to share. Even a walk to the warehouse or a different department can give them a sense of being courted and strengthen their bond to the company. You have competitors for these candidates, so take advantage of this important step and help give them a full picture of the environment.
Note: This step can come after the meeting for the candidates you would like to move forward. It sends a signal of continued interest and courtship.
While the points covered here are far from comprehensive, as you can see, creating a positive candidate experience isn’t that difficult. These five steps will help you to improve common errors in hiring and help you get de-risk losing a great candidate early in the process.
For more information about how to de-risk your hiring process, schedule a one-on-one Discovery Session.