So much is written about preparing for an interview from the candidate side … how to dress, what to do and not do. After all, the hiring manager has the upper hand in any interview situation, right? Good candidates, however, are often considering more than one opportunity. Just as you’ll expect a potential hire to put his or her best foot forward, you and your company need to do the same. Here are some tips for making a great first impression:
Dinner Guests. We love the analogy of treating an interview like a dinner engagement. If you were meeting a potential client for a meal you would first make sure they were comfortable. The same goes for a candidate: offer a restroom, something to drink, some small talk to put them at ease so they can be at their best.
Appearances. You’ll expect your candidate to be dressed professionally. How about you? Extend the same courtesy. And your offices: how do they look to a fresh set of eyes? Inviting and professional, or cluttered and disorganized? The work environment speaks volumes about your company.
Be Prepared. You won’t be happy if a candidate keeps you waiting without good reason. Return the favor and be ready to start on time. And be prepared with 8 to 12 specific questions and a scorecard to track the answers, not just a quick glance at the resume and a plan to wing it as you sit down together. Your lack of preparation will be apparent and will signal to the candidate that they’re just not that important to you.
Two Ears and One Mouth. Yes, your job as an interviewer is to ask questions. But it’s also to listen – really listen – to the answers, and allow those answers to create a dialog that allows company and candidate to really get to know one another. If you do all the talking, you’re sending those same wrong signals to a potential hire.
In the end, it’s really just common courtesy. Not every candidate will be a good fit, of course, but making a habit of demonstrating that they’re important to you will help you to hire better, period.