Interviews – not a one-way process

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First impressions are critical in the hiring process – not only for the candidate but also for the interviewer.

A recruitment intelligence survey by specialist recruitment consultancy, Robert Walters, found that the majority of job seekers, at 93%, are assessing a potential employer during the interview process.

Furthermore 90% of respondents, of the more than 250 professionals and 600 hiring managers surveyed, would tell others if a potential employer behaved unprofessionally. While nearly 84% of job seekers would turn down a job offer because of a bad interview experience.

Robert Walters Wellington director Sean Brunner said organizations needed to understand the dual nature of an interview.

“It’s important to appreciate that an interview is as much an opportunity for a job seeker to gather information about a company as it is for an employer to find out more about a candidate,” he says.

James Dalrymple, Robert Walters Auckland director, adds it is important for everyone who comes into contact with a company, in any capacity, to have a good experience.

“Poor feedback can easily be spread throughout an industry, and damage to the brand can be immediate given the reach of social media,” he said.

“The reputations of brands are very important. Once a name is damaged it can be challenging to claw back, and it has potential to impact the whole business, not just that interviewer’s team.”

There are numerous reasons why applicants would say an interview was bad, Dalrymple said, including a poorly prepared interviewer, the interviewer lacks interest in the candidate’s career development, no time is taken to adequately describe the organization, purpose of the role and potential for growth or the interviewer behaves unprofessionally by making disparaging comments about colleagues or shows a lack of ethics.

A bad interview could not only be costly for the company’s brand, but could also result in the organization missing out on top talent. Dalrymple said it wasn’t surprising such a large number of respondents would turn down a job based on a bad interview.

“The job market is not particularly tight in many areas of New Zealand, and so we are finding that often candidates are receiving more than one offer and can be more selective with their choice of employer,” he said.

Other key findings of the survey:

More than 50% of employers admitted to losing their preferred applicant due to delays in the recruitment process.

53% of hiring managers said that a candidate’s experience is the most important to an organization when interviewing, closely followed by cultural fit at 45%.

Every job-seeker said they would appreciate feedback after an interview.

Following a final interview 41% of potential candidates expect to wait between one to two business days for a response, while 46% expect to wait between three to five days.

Robert Walters recommends the following tips for managing the interview process:

The Interview is a two-way process: It's important to appreciate that an interview is equally an opportunity for a job-seeker to gather information about a company as it is for an employer  to find out more about a candidate. Therefore the interviewer should uphold themselves as a brand ambassador for the company and to manage the interview process as carefully as any marketing campaign.

Providing feedback is essential:  Potential candidates appreciate feedback that will help their job search if they are unsuccessful and will think more highly of an organization for providing it.

Implement interview guidelines and training: Have guidelines in place for employees conducting interviews. They should be designed for consistency, to facilitate appropriate questions, and ensure the interviewer conducts themselves in a manner that reflects company values.

Don’t delay the recruitment process unnecessarily: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to how long an interview should take, however it is important to remember candidates could be considering one or more job offers. To avoid missing out on the best make sure there are no delays and if your interview process is taking too long it may be time for an audit

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