5 Interview habits that are scaring off your candidates

In today’s candidate-driven market, individuals – particularly those under the Gen Y bracket – can afford to be far more selective when considering which offer to accept. We’ve pin-pointed 5 outdated interview tactics that are scaring off your candidates, and show you alternatives to ensure that valuable talent does not slip beyond your reach.

1. Treating the candidate like a patient in a doctor's office

Active job-seekers with the potential to be top talent within an organisation tend to plan everything down to the minute – when to shower, dress, eat and leave their home for the interview. During their commute, they will obsessively look at the time to ensure they are on schedule, and when they arrive, they verify that they’re 10 (or more) minutes ahead of time and congratulate themselves for the flawless execution of their pre-interview plan. So if you, as a recruiter treat a candidate like an overbooked doctor treats a patient in the waiting room, the candidate may begin to question your credibility and whether or not you really value their time or care about potentially placing them into the role at all. Time is money, and if you waste their time, they will cease to invest in what you may have to offer. For this reason, it is absolutely crucial to plan ahead of time and free up your diary to ensure that other engagements do not overlap with the interview.

2. Turning the interview into a sales pitch

Competition for top talent has always been intense, and although it’s all good and well to showcase the culture and perks of the organisation that you are representing, it’s important to ensure that your interview does not turn into a gimmicky sales pitch. Individuals with desirable personality traits such as emotional intelligence and a sense of self worth can see right through the pretty packaging – to put it politely. Unfortunately, the war for skilled candidates has led to many interviews becoming high-pressure sales environments, and this red flag leaves the candidate with one less-than-positive thought: ‘If this is such a good position at what you say is a great company, why are you trying so hard to sell me on the opportunity?’ Honesty and integrity will get you far in recruitment, even if it means occasionally having to inform a candidate on the less appealing elements of the job. Although they may not end up taking the role you have interviewed them for in that instance, they will come back to you for career advice on future roles because they will trust you to have their best interests at heart.

3. Neglecting to set proper expectations

After the interview, the candidate only has three questions:

  1. Am I in the running for this position?
  2. When will I hear from you again?
  3. When will your decision be made?

Again, it’s important to ensure that you are managing expectations and not replacing integrity with false promises. But that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t give a candidate their due praise either. If a candidate is suited to the role and ticks all the boxes, let them know that you are optimistic about their chances and will do all within your power to place them to the role. Alternatively, if they seem to lack experience or a thorough understanding of the role, advise them accordingly.

4. Talking too much

The only thing worse than a self-centred person that drones on and on about their life is an interviewer who engages in that behaviour. A big mistake that many recruitment consultants make is monopolising the conversation or making the interview about themselves rather then the candidate. In that situation, the candidate will be unable to tell his or her story or learn what he or she needs to know about the company and job to make an informed decision. While it is your responsibility to sell the candidate on why the company may be a good match for them, the interview really is the time for the candidate to be allowed to shine. Let them talk, and give them your full attention. Put your phone on silent, avoid interruptions and pay attention to them.

5. Asking silly questions and making snap judgements

‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how lucky are you?’ – That has got to be one of the most ridiculous questions ever asked at an interview, because you are sure to receive a doctored answer, I.e. ‘I rate myself 10 because I’m so lucky that you’ve given me this opportunity’. Candidates are more intelligent than many recruiters give them credit for, and at best you’ll have the candidate walk away thinking that you’re a joke, or at worst, you’ll place an insincere candidate who is perhaps not suited to the company’s culture or the particulars of the role. It’s also important to remember that the prospect of being interrogated on professional experience and ability is a naturally intimidating scenario, and it's not always easy for even the most confident of candidates to maintain composure. Asking the wrong question could throw them off guard and cause you to miss the possibility that their skills and expertise in reality make them perfectly suited to the role you are trying to fill.

In conclusion, recruitment should always be about investing in people. You should consistently aim to put your candidates first and never assume that you are their only chance of finding or switching a career. Nurture them and invest in them, and they will more often than not refrain from disappointing you.

We want you on our team!

Are you an experienced recruiter looking for your next role within the industry? Search Consultancy is a nationwide recruitment agency that offers a wide range of jobs from a variety of specialist industry sectors. If you feel you would be an ideal addition to our team, please do not hesitate to contact our internal recruitment manager, Peter Barry by email – [email protected] Take a look at our recruitment consultant jobs that we have on offer here.

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