Interviews represent a pivotal point for every organization from both employees' and company managers' perspectives. This initial interaction gives HR and recruitment staff their first real insights on how job applicants conduct themselves in direct conversation, without the filter of a cover letter, resume or LinkedIn profile. On the job seekers' side, they get a glimpse into the atmosphere and culture of the organization to which they've applied.
There are plenty of ways in which interviews can go off without a hitch for all involved, leading to a mutually beneficial and productive employer-employee relationship. However, recent research shows that certain mishandled aspects of the interview process are particularly bothersome to prospective new employers, and these can end up overshadowing the entire experience. Even if a qualified candidate who has a negative experience ends up taking the job out of personal necessity, any problems that continue through the onboarding period and into their tenure can ultimately motivate them to leave as soon as possible.
Lack of clear communication is devastating
According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll for Glassdoor, which queried more than 1,100 employed American adults who are either currently employed or actively searching for a job, half of the respondents said lack of information about compensation and benefits is among the biggest frustrations they encounter. An equal number said that companies sending mixed signals about when an interview will take place is a notable irritant, whether this comes as a result of unexpected cancelation or the meeting being rescheduled multiple times. Only slightly fewer respondents (47 percent) called failure of employers to respond at a reasonable pace one of the most significant problems.
All three of these issues involve what Paul Newman so famously described in Cool Hand Luke: "A failure to communicate." Whether a business handles recruitment entirely on its own or with the assistance of a staffing agency, communicating clearly about salary and insurance options, illuminating the specific nature of open positions and sticking to scheduled interviews (as best as possible) are critical.
First impressions matter
The Glassdoor survey also covered matters that would drive job seekers to withdraw their candidacy from an open position. Chief among these are recently announced layoffs or other major budget reductions, cited by 44 percent of those questioned, but poor initial interactions with recruiters or hiring managers came right behind at 40 percent.
Finding negative reviews of the company was a more distant third place (35 percent). Negative employee feedback might not always be reliable, but a bad encounter with a hiring manager or other HR staffer involved in recruiting sends a clear – and blatantly negative – signal to prospective hires that the organization doesn't care about employees' perceptions and opinions. Also, Business News Daily pointed out that interviews in which organizations don't showcase their culture, or fail to offer much in the way of clear information about it, will look like a red flag to many job seekers.
Don't dominate the conversation
There will be times in which brief lulls enter the interview – it's part of the natural rhythm of most conversations. According to Workable, dominating the conversation is never wise, even if a recruiter's intention is keeping the ice broken. Talking too much in that manner will make job seekers feel as if their voice isn't valued, regardless of whether an interviewer thinks that or not.
Workable recommended that prospective employees take up about 80 percent of the interview's time speaking about their qualifications, abilities and passions. The role of the interviewer should be that of interlocutor rather than a 50-50 conversation partner. Ask clear follow-ups to gain clarification and develop a better image of a candidate, but never forget: this interaction is their showcase, not yours.