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5 ways to improve a potentially bad candidate experience

Candidates have options and aren’t desperate to fill your job openings. That’s the mindset you need to take in order to create better hiring processes and avoid a bad candidate experience.

In order to keep candidates from losing interest, you have to make a memorable first impression. If your recruiting and interviewing practices are inconvenient or frustrating, candidates will likely give up on your company.

Use these five tips to create a hiring experience that makes your candidates want to work for your business.

1. Your interviewing managers must be prepared.

For candidates, there’s nothing worse than a hiring manager who walks into an interview and is looking at your resume for the first time. They will likely feel disrespected and have a bad candidate experience.

You need to know candidates’ qualifications and experiences before shaking their hand. Yes, you’ll likely hear all about those things again in the interview. That’s OK. This gives you an opportunity to deconstruct and dig into the information more.

Be sure to study all materials that candidates provide before the interview, including portfolios or sample work. If there’s time, familiarize yourself with the companies your candidates worked for or the schools they attended. All of this pre-work will help you construct strong questions.

2. Make them comfortable and show respect.

In addition to showing up prepared, it’s important to make the candidate feel at home. Offer them a glass of water. Give them the opportunity to ask you anything. Make light conversation.

If you can avoid it, don’t bring your cell phone with you, even if you plan on leaving it face down on the table. Think about it: What if the candidate’s phone went off in the interview? How would that make you feel?

Receiving or answering a call during the interview makes candidates feel like they don’t have your full attention. This time is about them. Show them you value this time by giving them your undivided attention, which will help prevent them having a bad candidate experience.

3. Treat all candidates equally.

Let’s say the first 10 minutes of the interview are going great. Then, when asked a question about their familiarity with a software program integral to the role, they stutter and stumble, causing you to realize they don’t have the required skills.

Don’t stop listening to them. Don’t cut the interview short. Continue the interview. You may find that their personality and other skills still make them a qualified candidate. Even if you don’t hire them, you should continue to make a good impression. You never know who they know or what they might say to other potential candidates.

If you respectfully pass on hiring them, chances are they won’t rush home and write a scathing online review of your company. Which brings us to…

4. Have someone monitor Glassdoor.

Glassdoor is a website that allows anyone to write a review of their professional experience with a company, usually focusing on the hiring process or working there. Nowadays, most candidates will investigate your organization by taking a look at what people have to say on Glassdoor.

Inevitably, someone is going to feel wronged or be critical of their experience with your organization, especially if they weren’t hired. People take the time to complain online about a bad candidate experience more than reporting positive thoughts. To counteract this and fully understand your company’s image and mistakes, hire or assign someone to be your Glassdoor guard.

They should spend time daily or weekly checking comments about your company that are posted on Glassdoor. Ask them to take note of common complaints or serious claims weekly or monthly. It’s critical to keep your brand strong in the community. These types of rumors can spread quickly.

5. Streamline the process.

Lastly, try to cut down on the length of your hiring process. Applicants may get annoyed or move on to new opportunities if your process drags on for several weeks.

Hiring a new team member is undoubtedly a big deal, so it’s important to make sure you’re hiring the right fit – both culturally and professionally. But having a candidate visit the office more than twice in one month before offering a decision is too much.

Combine stages of the process. For example, for a sales job, combine the manager interview and role-playing exercise into one day. If there is preparation involved, provide the directions and your expectations prior to the interview. This way, your candidates are ready to get started immediately.

Learn creative ways to attract the best talent. Download our free e-book, Building a better team: how to attract, recruit and hire top talent.