(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by HireRight. They deliver global background checks, drug testing and employment verification services to help companies hire the right candidate. Their annual Employment Screening Benchmarking Report provides valuable information about screening programs, practices and trends. Enjoy the post!)
According to the latest information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job market has turned in favor of the job seeker. Yep, we’re in a candidate driven market. This means that the conversations we’ve been having about employment branding, career portals and the candidate experience are significant to our future recruitment efforts. We can no longer wait for the market to shift. The shift has already happened.
As much as we might be tempted to label the candidate experience a buzzword, we have to resist the urge. The candidate experience is important. But it’s made up of many touch points: from the moment an applicant applies for the job using their mobile device to their arrival on the first day of work. One touchpoint that is sometimes missed in the conversation is the job interview.
Many pieces of the hiring process are maintained by human resources. The job interview is that place in the process where multiple people get involved. Making sure that everyone who is a part of the hiring process understands their role in the candidate experience is key.
I was having lunch with a friend recently who was sharing her job search stories. We’re both in HR, so we know how these processes are supposed to work. She shared her amazement at the organizations that have forgotten the value in the small details.
So I thought it might be a good time to share a refresher about job interviews. Even when we’ve been doing something for a long time, we forget the details and need someone to remind us, “Yeah, that’s important. I used to do that. I need to get it back in my routine.” If you haven’t audited your interview process lately, here are a few things you might want to review:
The application process should be easy to use. By now, you’ve heard about Google’s Mobilegeddon, where mobile friendly websites are being given preference in search. If your career site isn’t mobile friendly, well it’s definitely time. The best talent is finding opportunities using their mobile devices. They are applying for the next opportunity using their mobile devices. And they are sharing great opportunities with their friends using social media on their mobile devices. If your career site isn’t mobile friendly, it isn’t part of that equation.
Understand the purpose of the initial screening interview. Organizations have access to technology tools to help them screen candidates. Which is terrific and they should be fully utilized. The question is what is the purpose of the initial screening interview? Is it to identify culture fit or confirm basic qualifications? I don’t believe this question should be answered solely by the human resources department. HR should work with hiring managers to determine the best approach.
Make the candidate feel welcome during initial contact. When scheduling the screening interview, give candidates a sense of what to expect. For instance, if you’re using video technology for initial screening, let candidates know how to test their equipment, what to do if they have technical challenges, and a Plan B if things just don’t work. Good interviews are about conversations. Not about worrying that the technology won’t cooperate.
Make a good first impression. When it comes time to schedule the in-person interview, tell candidates what to expect. Share the small stuff. We always told candidates when they were interviewing on “jeans day” that they were welcome to wear jeans too. We didn’t want them to be surprised and feel uncomfortable. The way candidates are treated the first time they come to your facility speaks volumes about the way they will be treated as an employee.
Choose the right interview format. I’m a big fan of collaborative hiring. Not because people can’t make decisions, but because the candidate gets to speak with multiple people during the hiring process. Then when they start, they know more people than the human resources director and their manager. In fact, we told people during the hiring process our philosophy. Every company has to choose the right interview format and process. It’s a company decision.
Tell candidates what to expect after the interview. If a candidate doesn’t ask the question, make sure they know when a final decision will be made, the best person to follow and how to stay in touch. Candidates don’t want to pester companies. Organizations don’t want to be pestered. The best way to avoid it all together is by setting the expectation at the end of the interview.
Give the process closure. Once a final decision is made, let all of the candidates know the outcome. Even when they don’t get the job, they respect knowing the outcome. It’s possible the organization will be interested in a previous candidate for a future position. Keep the door open by letting candidates know what’s happening in the process. They’re more likely to consider other opportunities or give referrals because they were treated well in the past.
Speaking of the past, always remember that candidates are consumers. They can purchase your product or service. Or they can recommend it to others. The candidate experience has a direct impact on the consumer experience. You never want to lose a candidate and a customer at the same time.
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In addition to the info from the BLS that I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I ran across an article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) saying that the average U.S. hiring time has increased by 10 days since 2010. The bottom-line? Recruiting is getting tougher.
If you’re looking for ways to accelerate your hiring, I hope you’ll join me and the HireRight team for a webinar on Wednesday, August 19. We’re going to talk about how to get hiring managers engaged in the recruiting process. Registration details can be found here. The secret to hiring the best talent is developing a candidate experience that can’t be ignored. And you can’t do it all by yourself. Developing your hiring team is essential.