Before each interview, a good recruiter will prepare their candidates with relevant information regarding the interview that's about to take place. The candidate is told who they're speaking/meeting with, how long they should expect the interview to last, what types of questions they will be asked, and, ideally, some information regarding the personality/interview style of the hiring manager(s).
After the interview, the recruiter will ask if the interview went as expected. Unfortunately, more often than not, the answer is no. The candidate will say things like . . .
- “I talked with the Manager of IT instead of the Director, because the Director was out sick.”
- “The Manager explained the position very differently than you did.”
- “The Manager doesn’t seem too thrilled with the way things are going there.”
- “The interview was cut short because of a last-minute meeting and no one else was available to talk.”
As a hiring manager, it’s important that you have the right people involved in, and prepared for, an interview. Never make a last-minute switch in who will be talking to the candidate. Not only does this give an impression of being disorganized and unprepared, but it could also end up being a deal-breaker.
More likely than not, the “replacement interviewer” will not be prepared with good questions or have background knowledge on the candidate, which results in a waste of time for everyone involved. A good candidate will see this as a huge negative.
Make sure that the people involved in the interview process are on the same page. Ask them how they’ll describe the opportunity to the candidate. Is it the same as how you’ve described it? Find out which questions that they plan to ask, as well as how they will answer questions about their role within the organization. Do not assume that everyone you want to be part of the interview will leave a good impression on the candidate.
You’d be shocked at how often I hear that negative things were said about the company and/or management during an interview. As a director, if you know that one of your employees has had issues with other managers, or yourself, do not include this person in the interview process. If they’re overwhelmed with their workload or have had a recent complaint by a customer or colleague, it’s best to eliminate them as well. The candidate is evaluating the company as much as you’re evaluating the candidate, so take that into consideration when you choose who will be representing you.
What it all comes down to is preparation and planning. Good hiring managers expect candidates to come to an interview with a résumé, prepared questions, and examples of experience. Good candidates expect the same preparation — that adequate time will be set aside for the interview, that they will meet with who they were told they’d be meeting with for a certain amount of time, and that those people will have an understanding of the candidates’ backgrounds and have relevant questions prepared for them, as well as be able to describe the opportunity in more detail.
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