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6 Ways to Enhance the Interviewee Experience

August 2017- By Johnathon Klink, Sr. Account Manager and Erica Woods, Manager of Contractor and Community Relations, Principal

Today’s job market is centered around candidates, and companies who aren’t constantly focused on improving aspects of their hiring process like the “interviewee experience” will lose strong talent to their competitors. If your organization isn’t already having conversations with your staffing partner and internally on how to deliver a memorable, engaging interview and taking strides to continuously deliver a positive interview experience, now is a good time to start!

As with most process optimization initiatives, a good place to start is by engaging those intimate with your interviewing processes to solicit feedback and open up a dialogue with key team members to capture best practices from past interview experiences. Asking open-ended questions during your next team meeting such as “What could we be doing to improve the interview experience for our candidates? What have you experienced in past interviews that impressed you?” could generate some quality discussion!

Here are some quick suggestions that you could consider incorporating in your interview process:

  1. Start with a mini, rapport-building facility tour.
    Instead of going straight to the interview room, “take the road less traveled” and have a pre-determined route that gives the candidate a little more visibility into the organization, facility, and culture. It’s beneficial to have a couple aspects to subtly point out that demonstrate perks of working there. For example, one of our client managers provides a 3-4 minute walking tour with candidates that takes them through the first floor cafeteria, where they point out that free coffee, tea, espresso, and soda is provided, and then they walk candidates by their free onsite gym and a large training room where they then provide a quick recap on all the training programs the company offers. While these items may have become the norm for both you and your staff, they are huge bonuses that not every company offers. Be sure that you don’t short sell the awesome perks your company can offer and highlight them during the tour.

  2. Give a little gift.
    Who doesn’t like free stuff? Especially for candidates coming from out of town, provide a little SWAG bag or 1-2 items. During the interview, especially ones that might be a bit longer, have a break in the middle and provide free coffee, tea, soda and/or a snack. An added bonus is if you invite them to come with you as you grab it, giving even more of a tour that also allows them to move which can be re-energizing. Mini facility tours throughout the interview can increase a candidate’s interest and provide an opportunity for individuals to imagine working there.

  3. Meet the team.
    An ideal interview should include a 20-30 minute segment where the candidate gets the opportunity to meet the person either doing the job in consideration or doing a similar job. If the role is new, introduce the candidate to someone on the team that they’d be interacting with on a regular basis. Coach your team member to provide key details to the candidate; such as, projects he or she is currently working on, what the culture is like, who the clients they support are, what traits make someone successful, his or her own career path at the company, and why they like working there! Candidates want to work at a company that is fun, exciting, and provides them the opportunity to grow and eventually move up. Why not illustrate that with a team member that is already living that dream?

  4. Spruce up the room/environment where most of the interviews take place.
    Nothing is worse than drab, gray, boring walls with no décor. Could you turn the company and/or group mission statement and core values into a wall poster to hang? Can you invest in beautiful artwork? Could you create a couple photo collages of social events like the annual Halloween costume contest, summer BBQ, and holiday party? You might also strategically place marketing materials that highlight programs and perks of working there. Get creative with your space.

  5. Add a memorable experience.
    If you have a beautiful patio area or any games (such as a pool table) where you could still have a quality conversation, could you do a portion of the interview there? Finding a way to add a mini memorable experience to the interviews for key positions, out of town candidates, or candidates you’re just really excited about is always a good idea.

  6. Ignite interest through sharing key details.
    How’s your 30-second “elevator pitch” of these four areas: company purpose and values, group and team function/s and dynamics, role and its purpose, and perks/reasons why you and your team members like working there? Most of your “target candidate audience” has multiple opportunities, and perfecting your pitch in these four areas can be a game changer for winning them over!

As a theme throughout this hiring tips series, we’ve shared details on what candidates/job seekers are interested in finding in their next company. Don’t lose sight of those aspects here, and ensure your pitch is appealing to the motivators, interests, and other pieces of information that they’re focused on finding in their next employer.

Here’s a checklist of the major things you could cover during your pitch/overview:

  • Company – The organization’s “why” and purpose. Why do you exist? What do you do/accomplish? How do you do it? Who does it help?
  • Group – What is the function of the group, teams that make up the group, culture of the group, key priorities of the group, etc.?
  • Team – What are the team dynamics like?
  • Role – What are the macro priorities/goals, daily/weekly responsibilities, primary requirements, “success criteria,” and technical landscape for the role?
  • Perks – What are the perks of working for your company? Share what the company, group, and team offer, and why you and team members enjoy working there!

During the pitch, ask one or two open-ended questions to understand questions, determine where you should provide more detail, and help you gauge a candidate’s interest level and identify any concerns you may need to address.

As a next step, identify multiple ideas for improving the interview experience of your next round of interviews, and then prioritize top strategies with your team members! Make it a goal to implement at least two ideas. Then, seek feedback from those involved, including the candidate/s, and continue to tweak your process accordingly based on real-time feedback and suggestions!

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