There are high expectations set for a candidate coming in to interview, varied depending on the level of position. They are required to show up early, act eager, be polite and respectful, while answering questions that quite possibly range widely in relevance and obscurity.
Many recruiters or managers that are interviewing feel a sense of authority or power. Applicants are often times vying amongst hundreds of other candidates for a position. Downsizing has left many desperate for work and spells of “raise draught” have caused good employees to look elsewhere. Though he who owns the job-fulfillment process has control, taking a moment to remember what it feels like to be on the other side of the table may put things into perspective.
Follow a few simple tips for proper interview etiquette:
Don’t unnecessarily keep a candidate waiting. A stress-assessment tactic many organizations use is the abuse of time. When a candidate is called back, without explanation, an hour or more after the scheduled interview time, it may allow the interviewer to evaluate how they will react in a given scenario, however, the first impression of the organization given to the applicant is a highly unprofessional one.
Check stereotypes at the door. Don’t pigeonhole your candidate simply because of an attribute they possess (especially since some cases of this practice could be deemed discrimination). Even if the stereotype does not involve a discriminatory situation, this habit is detrimental to the hiring process, as well as the candidate.
Prepare. Sticking with the theme of professionalism, spend some time preparing for the interview. The first thorough read-through of the resume shouldn’t be when you sit down in front of the candidate. Be familiar with their background and adjust your line of questioning accordingly.
Be honest. You expect applicants to tell you the truth about their education and employment history; the least you can do is return the favor. Don’t oversell the job or the company. Don’t build up hope if the candidate is obviously not a fit. If they ask how they did or if you feel they would not be right for the position, be as honest as possible without divulging too much information. If there is easy constructive criticism to give, share it. Keep in mind, however, that in some cases what you say can be misconstrued or misinterpreted, so choose your words carefully.
Explain the process and the next steps. Don’t leave the candidate to wait by the phone. Let them know the process moving forward and the timeframe. If they were told they would hear word within a week, be sure to give them a call back or send them a letter within that amount of time.
Give out your business card or contact information. Don’t force applicants to call everyone in your department in search of an update. Hand out your card or give out your information in the event a candidate has a question.
Call candidates that didn’t pass the interview phase. If you are one that has enough time and the lack of cowardice necessary to speak one-on-one and candidly with an applicant, give anyone that made it to the interview phase, but failed, a call to update them on the position. It may be awkward, but it goes a long way to show the integrity of the organization and all those involved in the hiring process.
Traci K. is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration. When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.