5 Ways to Win Over Candidates During the Interview Process

by Gary Olive
30 August 2015


By now we know that one of the most important aspects of the talent acquisition process is the job candidate interview experience. So why is it such a bad experience for so many candidates?

With the global talent shortage, forward thinking companies will provide a seamless job candidate experience and win them over during the interview process. 

Image credit: meridican / flickr

Image credit: meridican / flickr

Think for a minute that you are one of those poor souls out there seeking a new job or “a career opportunity,” as we like to say in the business. How would you like to be kept waiting for more than 10 minutes in a strange lobby past your scheduled interview time? Do you know the thoughts a nervous mind can come up in 10 minutes of focused, panic thinking?

Many companies and hiring managers fail to remember that a well-qualified candidate has options. Yes, they are also ultimately choosing which opportunity to accept.

The good news is that you can improve the job candidate experience with simple tweaks.

Here are five ways I'm confident will improve your job candidate experience, which will win candidates to your cause and to your company. After you have read this, you will be able to take these simple and practical tips to build a great hiring culture. This will add value to your company as a whole.

1. Give impeccable directions

Think, Do my directions make common sense to us human beings?

We've all had those tragic moments where Siri, Mapquest, or Google have provided directions that turn us in circles and turn a 30-minute drive into 90-minute drive.

So if you are unsure of the directions between where the candidate is coming and where your office is, double check the directions. If you still don't know, ask a colleague.

Also make sure the directions include how to get from the parking lot to your office. Many offices have large or multiple parking complexes with multiple elevators to take. Make sure you are providing comprehensive directions from the parking lot to the office. Ask yourself, Will they have to check in with security? If yes then it is a good idea to let your candidate know ahead of time.

I recently interviewed with a large aerospace company. I was expecting the worst, with all the security checks, obtaining a visitors badge, and having to wait for different people at different points to escort me; however, the opposite was true. This company was well versed in their candidate experience and handled it professionally. They won me over.

Also, consider how accessible your parking options are for those with disabilities and what you need to do for them to have a great experience. This is another significant point to consider as you develop a diverse team

2. Provide validation for parking

I know it’s 2015, but if your company has not already addressed this, then it needs to be addressed ASAP. Unfortunately what should be a no-brainer makes my list. There may be some hiring managers who are thinking like bean counters instead of being strategic and looking at the candidate interview experience as a value. 

Provide validation for parking to start winning candidates before they even get to the interview.

3. Be punctual for the interviews

Make a basic plan ahead of time.

Sure we get it. Things happen to even well-laid-out plans, but having a candidate wait for more than 10 minutes sends a horrible message to the candidate. It is disrespectful, and generally shows poor time-management skills on the hiring manager's part, to be late.

So hiring managers get out your organizers, iPhones, Outlook calendars, or whatever you use, and make punctuality a point.

4. Give each candidate a timely response

This is so simple to solve, but few companies actually practice this. The interview is part of your business relationship. Think of it like dating. In the beginning everyone is (or should be) on their best behavior. As a company how would you feel if one of your vendors or suppliers failed to provide a response to one of your bids? The same holds true for the candidate interview experience.

“Silence is hard to read,” as my father used to say.

Additionally the hiring manager is hopefully giving a realistic preview of the "next steps" that will occur in the process. Usually interviewing more candidates is part of the process and most candidates understand that they are not the only one being considered. However that does not mean you can't provide a realistic schedule for when second interviews or "next steps" may occur.

And once the successful candidate is chosen, give out the bad news to the other candidates as soon as you can. That is the least you can do to for a fellow professional who has made a small investment of time in hopes of joining your organization. Remember that many of them have researched your company and made a short or long commute to meet with you. So telling them they did not get the job is mandatory.

5. Make ambassadors, not enemies

Finally, one aspect many companies fail to realize is that even an unsuccessful candidate can become an ambassador for the company. They can and usually do tell their colleagues how their experience went. Treat them well during the interview experience and you have a free brand ambassador. But if the opposite was true—such as bad directions or they had to wait for 20 minutes before their interview—what do you think their perception will be of your company? More important how will that perception help draw talent to your organization?

Small price to pay for this type of goodwill.

A final thought

So there you have it! That was not so bad, was it? A few basic steps toward mutual respect in the hiring process for both the company and the candidate should improve the experience for all involved.


Gary Olive is a Relode agent, available on demand at a price-per-candidate model. He specializes in finding admin-clerical and healthcare candidates.