When thinking about making a good impression at a job interview, most people’s first thought will be about the interviewee.
However, an interview is an opportunity for both parties to learn more about each other.
The right candidate should be as excited about joining your company as you are about welcoming them.
A survey found that 70% of interviewees would turn down a job if you don’t make a good first impression.
For example, potential candidates are often judged on how to dress for a job interview.
The interviewees will also judge the interviewer on how they dress and present themselves.
So, what can you do to ensure that you don’t lose the perfect candidate due to a bad first impression?
Be clear about what the job entails
When a senior employee joins your company, they will likely come with new skills and different ways of working.
People want freedom in how they achieve results, but the job description should be specific about what’s required.
A detailed description should be included in the job listing, as this will encourage high quality candidates to apply.
But this should be carried over into the interview.
Each point should be discussed to ensure candidate competency, but also so that they understand what their workday would involve.
Choose an appropriate interview space
The location that you conduct an interview in can have a big impact on the impression the candidate leaves with.
Holding the interview in a busy communal area can cause distractions and make applicants feel less able to talk.
Additionally, this could result in the applicant feeling negatively about your professionalism.
The survey from Monster found that 35% of interviewees wouldn’t take a job if they didn’t like the reception area.
So, ensure that the area is presentable and that it’s clear where the candidate should go upon arrival.
Have a well-defined interview strategy
You probably have an interview strategy to help find the best candidate, but does it help to entice applicants too?
Before the interview, review how the format could influence an individual’s perception and whether you can add any selling points.
For example, make sure that you avoid asking discriminatory questions. It is difficult to spot unconscious bias but it’s vital to make a conscious effort and make everyone feel welcome.
Discriminatory questions can relate to any protected characteristics, such as age, gender, sexuality, and race.
A common type of discriminatory question relates to flexible working hours.
When asking about an individual’s ability to work flexibly, they may volunteer information about their home life.
Unless told that they are unable to meet requirements, it would be discriminatory to use their home life in your decision-making.
Additionally, ensure that you are asking questions that are applicable to the role being interviewed for.
Asking entry level questions for a senior role could give the impression that the interviewer isn’t knowledgeable.
Invite the applicant to see the workplace
While interviews should be held in a private area, it is helpful to let interviewees see the workplace.
This should be done at the end of an interview and you can also introduce the candidate to other employees.
Doing this will help to provide more clarity and allow the applicant to get an idea of the company culture.
Maintain good communication
Although some managers wonder whether it is necessary to conduct second interviews, your process can require several interviews.
This will be more likely for roles with specific technical requirements or more senior roles.
The process can take several weeks and it’s important that any candidates being interviewed are kept informed.
It’s likely that the potential hire is speaking with many prospective companies at once.
If your process takes too long or the candidate is left out of the loop, they may accept another job.
That doesn’t mean you should cut corners and risk hiring an unsuitable candidate to save time.
Instead, the applicant should be made aware of the stages and given an estimated time scale for decision making.
The interviewee should also be given a single point of contact to allow them to ask questions.
Engage in small talk – but don’t let it derail the interview
One of the biggest factors in workplace happiness is the relationships employees have with colleagues.
And having a bad relationship with your boss is the number one reason people leave their job.
An interview should be more than an opportunity to interrogate the candidate, it’s important not to forget the human side.
Starting with casual chat lets you connect with the applicant and ease any nerves but remember your interview structure.
You should have a goal for what want to learn in the interview and small talk shouldn’t prevent that.
It’s not just down to the interviewee to impress you.
As an employer, you need to stand out as an attractive employer.
We’ve seen plenty of candidates turn down potentially good employers for another offer because of their interview etiquette.
Don’t be that company, scrub up and hold up your end of the interview.
After all, you can’t expect someone to put the effort in if you’re not going to!
If you’d like further information on how to interview well, check out these posts: