Oct 01, 2010 | Post by: Vikki Pachera Comments Off on First Impressions Only Happen Once

First Impressions Only Happen Once

We all want candidates to be appropriately prepared for an interview.  We want the typical research regarding the role, our company, and our industry to be done and questions ready.  We want candidates to present themselves in a professional manner from resume to personal presentation the day of the interview.  No question!

However, are you appropriately prepared for the interview process as the company doing the interviewing?  If you are aiming to secure top talent I sure hope you are.

As a liaison between candidates and client companies I receive lots of feedback on candidate preparedness or lack thereof.  Flipside is I also receive considerable feedback  from candidates as to the lack of preparedness on behalf of companies conducting the interview process.

Every time you engage a candidate you have a PR opportunity.  You can use it to your advantage or blow it.  I suggest you take the extra time and make the most of these willing participants. Be prepared to engage them and educate them about your company, your product/service and your culture.   Plan send them out into the community at large with a positive impression of your organization whether they are the candidate you hire or not.  You can depend on one thing, candidates will share their experiences and with social media we all know how quick information travels.

A few things you might want to consider next time you get ready to receive candidates in an interview process:

  1. Who is on the interview team for each specific role?  Make a concise list of appropriate participants.  Make sure they are comfortable interviewing and commit to being a part of the process.
  2. Make sure all individuals on the interview team are familiar with the role and responsibilities.
  3. Create a well defined process i.e.,

Who will participate in first round, second round, and final round interviews?

Who will present the offer?

Who is going to close the candidate (a very important consideration in securing top talent)?

  1. Limit individual interviews to an appropriate length of time (make sure everyone is aware and stick to the schedule).
  2. Be sensitive to the fact that working candidates don’t have unlimited time to travel back forth to your office.  Set up a process utilizing a candidate’s time/travel as efficiently as possible.
  3. Is the office in order?  Remember you are making a first impression too.
  4. Is there someone available to meet the candidate upon arrival? I know this sounds crazy, but you’d be surprised how many candidates end up waiting for great lengths of time or wondering hallways trying to find someone.
  5. Make sure there is some form of final follow up with candidates you met in the interview process. Candidates know there is competition for most any role.  It is important to provide information on the outcome of the process.

All of these issues have an impact on a candidate’s impression of your company and your culture.   No matter how large or small your company, no matter your industry, you can take advantage of this captive audience and make a make a great impression on every candidate.  In the long run it seems well worth the investment of a bit more time and preparation in return for some great PR.

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