Your first impression or theirs – which matters most?
Did they like you? Maybe you oversold it? Should you even care?
Of course you should!
While the anxiety of a job interview is typically assigned to the interviewee, failing to mindfully court a prospect is a huge mistake.
When you’re seeking top-of-the-line talent, the person sitting across from you isn’t the only one under the microscope. A qualified, talented candidate with multiple options — the type you want to attract — isn’t simply there to jump through hoops for you; they’re there to assess what dedicating a majority of their waking life to your company might be like.
The last thing you want is to find the perfect match for your needs, only to be turned down by the prospect. While nothing can guarantee a perfect interview, you can create a hiring experience promotive of communication, respect, and most of all, making the most of your fleeting time.
1. Select carefully. Don’t waste your time or theirs. In most cases, screener calls and emails are appreciated by job seekers, not only as a way of showing their competence, but in the shared interest of discovering if scheduling an interview is prudent for either party.
One-way video interviews are becoming a popular screening trend. While they can be a helpful tool, it’s important to consider the conditions this creates for the interviewee. Most of us are accustomed to responding to how people react to what we’re saying and making subtle adjustments from those cues. When a candidate engages in a one-way interview, they’re blinded from the loop-feedback mechanism we rely on for good communication. Not only that, but sometimes prospects have no choice but to look at their camera feed while answering, which can be about as awkward as meeting your doppelgänger.
2. Prepare! It can be easy to overlook the fact that when a prospect comes to your business, they’re your guest. Make sure your office is tidy, especially in the room you plan on conducting the interview in. Try to spend at least 15 minutes going over the candidate’s CV and any portfolio work before the interview, and if they need any special audio visual displays, make sure your equipment is up and running ahead of time.
3. The Welcome. How does it make you feel when you walk into an office building and the receptionist is expecting you? When people feel important, they act important, and they tend to take their work more seriously. Whether you have a receptionist or not, how your prospect’s arrival is handled can create an impact that influences their entire career with your company.
4. Be a pro. Showing up late to an interview is catastrophic for candidates, so when you’re late, it’s a subtle way of saying your time is more important than theirs, which, in turn, can reflect negatively on the work environment of your business. Another way to unintentionally marginalize your guest is to allow constant distractions. If you have to take a call, make sure to apologize and keep it to a minimum. Or simply set your phone to “do not disturb.”
5. The silent art of listening. Just like in normal conversation, during an interview it’s easy to get distracted by what you need to do later in the day, or the next question you might have, or simply in trying to come up with how you’re going to respond to your prospect’s answer. The more you can resist the temptation to let your mind wander out of the moment, the more productive your interview will be, and just as importantly, you’ll create a stronger bond with the interviewee that can give you hints, one way or another, to their viability.
Making a good first impression for prospects can be daunting. At Mankuta | Gallagher, our staff is trained in the art of recruiting so that you can be assured they represent your company and your opportunity professionally, helping to make the first contact between you and candidates a positive experience.