10 Ingredients to Create the Best Interview Experience

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Important fact coming at you: 92% of U.S. adults have anxiety in anticipation of job interviews. Candidates are less likely to act like themselves and more likely to sabotage themselves when anxiety overtakes them.

Whoever you are (e.g., recruiter, hiring manager, HR generalist, CEO, etc.), if you conduct an interview, it’s your responsibility to provide the absolute best interview experience. And now that you’re aware of the hefty amount of anxiety-ridden candidates, there’s no excuse not to help them out.

Plus, along with online reviews, company websites, and social media presence, candidates use interviews as a way to gauge an organization. If the interview process is sloppy, interviewers are disorganized and disengaged, and before and after communication are sub-par, the company's not going to look too hot.

Just don't risk anything, and consider the following 10 tips the next time you’re about to start another round of interviews (and every other interview moving forward).

1. Give a heads up about the interview process 📄

Send candidates a detailed overview of what to expect, example questions, what not to expect, how to prepare, and how long the interview will last. When you go out of your way to help candidates onto the next step, you look like you work for them—not the company. That type of transparency will build trust, and that’s key to a positive candidate experience.

2. Give directions to the interview location 🚗

Send an email prior to the interview with detailed directions to the office. If it’s especially tricky, include some landmarks and places to park.

3. Look alive 💃🏻

Your 3 p.m. interview might feel like any old meeting on the calendar, but you can bet it’s the climax of the candidate’s day. Don’t walk into the interview dragging your feet; act like you want to be there. Be prepared with questions beforehand—don’t just wing it. Some questions will be standard for every candidate, but others should be catered to her individual experience.

Oh, and even if you decide halfway through the interview that he’s not the right fit, take up the whole 30 minutes. Treat every candidate equally; it’s the right thing to do.

4. Show company culture in real time 👨👩🎉

It’s far more persuasive for a candidate to see company culture first-hand than it is for you to boast about it. Break the boring conference room-only interview and give a tour of the office. Show candidates how teams and workspaces are organized. Even if you don’t personally think it’s necessary, keep in mind that 51% of candidates prefer to see your culture in action.

If you really don't want to conduct a tour, remember that 50% of candidates would at least prefer to hear about the culture from a hiring manager—and only 24% want to hear about it from recruiters.

5. Connect candidates with leadership 👑

The presence of authoritative figures can be a blessing and a curse. In some instances, they can trigger anxiety, but in other cases—like during interviews—candidates thrive in their presence. In fact, about 40% of candidates want to have a conversation with leadership during an interview. So whether you have to make time for a one-on-one or just a quick intro, make it happen.

6. Put your strongest interviewers first… and last 💪

People inherently remember first and last events more so than the middle ones. So put your best foot forward. Sandwich the not-so-strong interviewer (we all know at least one—it’s okay) in between the stronger ones.

7. Be friendly, but don’t act like BFFs 💔

Obviously, you should be kind and courteous to candidates, but if you’re too friendly, you could lead them on—and that’s the worst. Let them know where you are in the hiring process before they leave the office. Don't let them twiddle their thumbs for the next few weeks.

8. Respond to follow-up emails and calls 📱

Even if you discussed the decision-making timeline during the interview, an eager beaver candidate might contact you for a follow-up. Be polite and respond, even if you already discussed a timeline (and stick to it). They're just going the extra mile, so do the same for them.

9. Give candidates feedback ASAP 🗣👩

Rejection hurts, but it hurts more when without an explanation. Even if it stings a little, 36% of candidates still anticipate interview feedback. You’re the perfect person to give valuable insight so she can improve the next time around. But! Don’t just max out at negative feedback. If a candidate lands the job, it’s still worth the conversation.

10. Cap interviews at 3 👍🏼

Don’t bombard candidates with too many interviews. 3 is pretty standard these days, and 84% of candidates are cool with it, too. Any more than that and it just wears ‘em out. Plus, 3 interviews are plenty; if you find you need more than that, you might not be asking the right questions.

Candidate = #👆

Treat candidates not like a number, but as a person. Sure, you're interviewing for your company or client, but it's your job to make sure candidates are the right fit. If you don't give them the resources they need to succeed, you might not succeed, either. So, like I said: don't risk it. Always create and maintain the best candidate eexperience,and everyone in the process will thank you.
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Sam Sandler
Sam Sandler
Sam is a copywriter and strategist at Qualigence International. She enjoys exercising, eating pizza, and long walks through her Netflix queue.

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