Are You Scaring Off Quality Job Candidates? 5 Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Business owners’ inability to find top talent to fill open jobs are at peak levels not seen since November 2000, according to the April 2017 NFIB Small Business Economic Trends report. If you’re a business owner with open jobs and without quality candidates to fill them, a few simple adjustments to your recruitment processes may improve your ability to attract top talent.

Here are five common mistakes business owners make that can scare away great candidates — and what to do instead.

Not familiarizing yourself with the employee’s background.

Competition for top talent is high. Quality job candidates have more options for where they want to work in today’s economy. This includes candidates that have little professional experience. The Society of Human Resources (SHRM) indicates that the number of employers looking to hire new college graduates is at a ten-year high.

Your small business may not be equipped to offer the same salary or benefits as larger employers. To combat this, your goal in every interview should be to make candidates want to join your team.

What to do instead: Don’t ask candidates to repeat information they’ve stated on their resume. Familiarize yourself with every candidate’s education, employers and organizations. Be sure to do this before the interview to personalize the process. Even if you ask the same basic questions of each candidate, consider phrases like: “Tell me the most challenging aspect of your job when you worked at X and why.” Getting distracted during the interview.

A distracted interviewer indicates to the candidate that, as a boss or a co-worker they will not be be supportive or attentive. Workers with in-demand skills want to know that they are a priority to you and the firm.

What to do instead: Turn off distractions like alerts for email, text or instant messages. Put your computer screen in sleep mode, and notify co-workers that you are not to be disturbed during the interview.

Not having a clear process.

Even for small offices, a lack of basic processes for interviews can give candidates the sense that your business is frenzied, reactive and potentially unprofessional.

What to do instead: When confirming the interview, provide candidates with information on where to park and check in. Include what to bring to the meeting and how to dress if applicable. Also list the names and titles of the people they will meet, and the start and end times for all meetings. Have the candidates greeted upon arrival, and offer a beverage and restroom visit before you start the interview. Ensure you’ve booked a room where you can meet, provide space for the candidate to place belongings and sit comfortably. Upon closing the interview, review next steps of the process with the candidate.

Not including others in the interview process.

Give candidates an opportunity to speak with other company employees,so you give them an opportunity to evaluate your company culture. A positive company culture is linked to higher levels of employee satisfaction, loyalty, motivation and engagement; Harvard Business Review reports that it can be correlated to higher levels of customer satisfaction.

What to do instead: Your business culture is the sum total of your businesses’ unique mission, values, priorities and the personalities of the many employees who contribute to your business each day. Have multiple interviews, even if they are by phone, to allow candidates the opportunity to evaluate better how well they may fit into your organization.

Quizzing the candidate, or monologuing.

An interview should be beneficial for both parties. One-sided interviews can create dissonance in the minds of candidates. This also decreases the possibility you’ll see them in their best light. While it’s important to assess a candidate’s skills, quizzing them in an interview or monopolizing the conversation won’t help either of you reach a decision.

What to do instead: Maintain a dialogue. A two-way conversation empowers candidates and provides you with the answers you need. Give candidates a sense of your businesses’ current priorities, pace and focus, and then allow them to ask questions. Armed with this information, a candidate can feel confident, informed and equipped to evaluate if your company is a good fit for them as well.

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