I sat with a group of clients during a breakout from a coaching session, and they began discussing the vagaries of candidate interviews and how they struggled to get the candidate engaged and unveil the relevant information they required to make a decision during the interview. Here is a great opportunity I thought to uncover some of the approaches from these senior hiring managers to understand why this situation was occurring so frequently!


Upon discussion, some of the revelations we uncovered:

    • Clients had not prepared a quiet area in which to interview the candidate.
    • Announced the participation of a colleague without notice.
    • Had not notified reception that the candidate would be arriving.
    • Did not offer the candidate a refreshment.
    • Did not show the candidate around the facility.
    • Had not reviewed the candidate’s resume to understand their background.
    • Ran late for the interview themselves.
    • Did not frame the role or the reason for the interview to set the scene
    • Did not explain how the interview would go.
    • Did not ask direct questions about the information they wanted to get.
    • Did the MAJORITY of the talking.
    • NO position description was provided prior to the interview.
Interviewer running late
Noisy interview Room
No refreshments offered
Not reviewed the resume
things to avoid during interview

Now, there were others, but I think these are enough to start with!

As silly as it seems, the clients forgot that this was a two-way interview and that the candidate was also interviewing the employer! In this market where candidates are considering multiple offers, you cannot afford to provide a poor experience when it is this that can tip the scales in your favour….so maybe a few notes to change this approach?

So, some things to do!

  • REMEMBER…. Expect the same preparation from yourself that you would expect from the candidate, and even if it is a NO, leave the candidate with a good experience and look after both your personal and company brand.
  • Have a quiet area where the interruptions are minimal, and both of you can focus on the conversation.
  • Offer a drink and explain how the interview process will go. Do a show round; remember you know the environment, they do not. This helps them frame the interview and elicits/provides context for the role and further questions.
  • Ask your Prepared questions and allow the candidate to answer in full. You should only speak 30% of the time!
  • Your questions should be prepared and thoughtful to elicit the information you want…if not, be direct and ask for them to clarify.
  • Let reception know who they are and what they are there for, this is a great welcome, and even if you are running late, they know you were expecting them and that it was not forgotten or an afterthought.
  • If you wish a colleague to join, maybe do this towards the backend of the interview and ASK the candidate if they mind.
  • If no Position Description has been provided, give them a few minutes to read it and digest it.
  • In the end, explain the next steps, thank them for their time and show them out.
successful interview

Now, these are all simple actions that were all agreed to be common sense but that the group failed to do consistently, with some blushes all around!  

Easily fixed and will make a hell of a difference and will be big strides in making your candidate and new employee engagement a positive one from the start!

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