6 ways companies can improve the interview process

6 ways companies can improve the interview process

If you’ve ever recruited people for your team, you know that others in your organisation will hold you accountable for your choices.

Hire the right person, and you could add huge value to the business. Hire the wrong person, and you could do the opposite, creating a drain on your company’s resources.

But it doesn’t stop there. The recruitment process itself can have important, long-term implications for a business. For instance, the way you interact with those who don’t get hired can have far-reaching effects.

“Candidates openly discuss their experiences and name the employers concerned, which in turn influences the reputation of the company amongst potential future candidates,” said Nikki Wild, ACMA, CGMA, a UK-based executive career coach.

As a candidate, you may have witnessed some memorable moments. Such as the time, perhaps, when you sat down for your interview and it quickly became apparent that the hiring manager had brought along the wrong CV. They didn’t even appear to know who you were.

A recent survey by global recruitment firm Korn Ferry found that a majority of applicants (56%) would stop being a customer of a company if they had a bad experience as a job candidate.

Three-quarters of respondents to the survey also said it is unlikely they would accept a job offer if they were treated poorly during the recruiting experience. And that’s even when they felt the job was a good fit.

The increasing role of social media

The survey highlighted the critical role of the internet in recruitment these days; using social media such as LinkedIn can be valuable tools in helping you source the right candidate.

Get the recruitment process wrong, and these same tools can cause you harm.

When considering applying for a role, some 98% of respondents to the Korn Ferry survey said they took to social media sites to see what others say about the hiring process and working for the company.

While the majority would stop being a customer if they had a poor experience with the firm, more than a third (34%) also said they would likely urge friends and family to stop being a customer as well.

Take a shoddy approach to recruitment and your slip-ups could go viral.

“Professionals are increasingly prepared to ‘out’ companies through social media for bad practice,” said Melinda Beckett-Hughes, managing director of executive coaching and business mentoring firm Ayuda.

So, what should you do to ensure your recruitment process adds value and avoids the pitfalls?

Align process with brand values. “The employer brand should typically be built around an appealing core offering such as ‘challenge, personal growth, teamwork, innovation, and internationalism’; all engagement with prospective employees can follow that theme,” said Gordon Barrie, ACMA, CGMA, a London-based HR consultant and executive coach.

“Employer brand values should be congruent with product brand values so that if a company stands for equality, fairness, transparency, etc., then a candidate should expect to be treated in exactly this manner,” Beckett-Hughes said.

Improve training. Hiring managers and in-house recruitment staff must have proper training.

“Hiring managers need to be highly trained and responsive and understand their role as a fully engaged front-line ambassador and key point of contact and communication,” Barrie said.

Prepare for interviews. Those recruiting should make sure they prepare well for interviews.

“I often speak to candidates who have felt that they were more prepared for the interview than the person interviewing them,” Wild said. “As a result, they felt that the recruiting employer wasn’t valuing the process or the candidates.”

Show empathy and respect. “Interviews should be conducted with empathy and curiosity, listening to answers with interest and respect,” Barrie said. “All too often, interviewers project a powerful gatekeeper role, which will be alienating and off-putting, particularly for Millennials.”

Don’t leave people in the dark. Failure to follow up or keep job candidates posted on progress is a common complaint amongst job-seekers.

“Once someone is in the recruitment process, give regular updates,” said HR consultant Rebecca Bevins. “In my experience, applicants will ‘wait’ for a recruitment process if the recruiters pay attention to them, keep them warm, make them feel like a person and not a number.”

Use surveys to improve the process. Another reason to follow up with candidates is to seek their input on how to make the hiring process better.

“Where possible, undertake periodic surveys of your candidates to get ideas on how to streamline and improve the quality of the recruiting process,” Beckett-Hughes said.

James Hester is a UK-based freelance writer. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Neil Amato, an FM magazine senior editor.