High performing talented people have choices. After sending hundreds of people out on interviews we have had a lot of feedback from job seekers on what items caused them to question or lose interest in an opportunity.
Although most hiring managers are prepared and represent themselves and their company well, sometimes, due to poor planning or other stressors, pieces of the interview process are done poorly and may turn off that potentially awesome candidate.
Have a read through these common missteps, make sure you are planning well to avoid these, and for some extra help, especially if you end up rushed again, download our 'How to prepare for an interview in 20 minutes' at the end of this article.
10 ways to lose a top candidate:
1. Be late or unprepared – in other words, give the impression to the candidate they he/she is not important enough to warrant any effort or planning.
2. Makeup questions as you go and include lame ones like, "tell me about your strengths" or, "if you were a dessert what would you be?". Thinking it up as you go communicates that this role is not important enough to prepare thoughtful questions.
3. Talk most of the time about you, the job, and the company. Since you barely inquired about or listened to the candidate, this gives the impression that you are not good at building rapport or don’t care much about people. Few people want a boss like this.
4. Don’t uncover the needs and motivations of a candidate and just spew out features and benefits that may not mean anything to them. This makes you sound like the stereotypical 'used car salesperson', which also does not demonstrate your interest in your potential employees or care for their goals.
5. Air dirty laundry I know you would never do this, but sometimes things slip out and a minor passive aggressive statement may take on a bigger meaning in the candidate’s mind.
6. Don’t outline the competitive advantages and future direction of your products or services. And especially don’t outline the organization's bigger purpose and a potential career path.
7. Answer calls or text messages during the interview. Are you so important that it cannot wait 20 minutes until you complete the interview? Your actions communicate both your values and the values of the company. If you say, "we value relationships", but you don’t demonstrate it, your company and you will be judged as hypocritical. This is a red flag for career seekers.
8. Hide any enthusiasm or interest in the candidate. Who wants to work with a poker-faced boss or teammate? Be genuine and generous in your admiration, but make sure you keep to the process. Jumping into what might sound like an offer to the candidate can mess up the engagement of others or salary negotiations.
9. Don’t leave enough time for the candidates questions. The higher the level the more time needed.
10. Take several days to follow up with or ignore a candidate’s inquiries. Are you so overwhelmed or distracted that you cannot demonstrate respect with a quick reply?
With any of the above, top candidates may draw negative conclusions, will drop out of your process and you may never know why. Those that hang in there are generally candidates that are struggling to find work and so will ignore or tolerate all the warning bells and bad impressions.
Of course, no one intends to make bad impressions or turn off top candidates. You can avoid these mistakes or oversights with some simple planning. Download our guide on ‘How to plan for an effective interview process in 20 minutes or less’. It could help you land that ideal candidate whose talent and experience will help you achieve all of your goals.
Engaging a professional recruiter to help you iron out the rough spots and mediate a candidate’s impressions and experience is also a very effective strategy to increase your likelihood of attracting and securing top talent.
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