Every job applicant needs to leave with the best impression of your company

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In this tough economy, don’t fool yourself that just because you’re likely to have a huge pool of applicants that it’s going to be easy to hire the best talent for your current opening.

The interview process must be a two-way street.

It’s your job to find to find the very top candidate, and you need to make sure that every finalist being interviewed walks away with the best impression of your company and isn’t heading directly over to your competition.

In today’s busy workday, some managers may think job interviews simply interfere with getting other, more important work finished.

Leaving a bad impression with a job candidate in any interview can have serious consequences in your hiring quest.

Here’s a simple checklist to make sure that every interviewee leaves with a goal of really wanting to work for your company.

  • First, try to limit the number of interviews to no more than four or five executives at most. In larger companies, you might create a rotating committee of managers who share in the interview process for different job openings.
  • Create a reasonable interview agenda with the correct name of the applicant and highlighted items on their resume. You’d be surprised how many times a manager addresses a job applicant by their wrong name. Applicants sometimes may be too embarrassed to correct them.
  • Keep the interview process on time. If a manager is running long in an interview, make sure someone, perhaps an administrative assistant or receptionist, is alerted to remind him or her to stick to the agenda.
  • Other meetings, of course, can run late, but don’t keep a candidate waiting in reception reading magazines. If an interview appointment is running late, instruct managers ahead of time on how to look a candidate directly in the eye and make a sincere apology for being behind schedule.
  • Remember, job candidates have lives, too, and they may need to pick up children from school or get back to another job. Offer them a cup of coffee or glass of water and use a little sense of humor to make them comfortable.
  • If a top manager, such as the CEO or CFO, must cancel his or her interview at the last minute (maybe a board meeting ran late), offer to schedule a direct conference call the next day with the applicant.
  • Think like a Boy Scout and “Be Prepared.” Don’t waste an applicant’s time with obvious questions like “Where did you go to college?” Have different managers ask relevant questions specific to their areas of expertise and how they’ll interact with the applicant on the job. Again, these are questions HR can prepare ahead of time.
  • Finally, top-notch employers will have a professionally written rejection letter for every applicant who is interviewed but not hired. Remember, you soon might have another opening, and you’d like to bring that same applicant back in for another chance.

Jean Imbler-Jansen specializes in HR Executive search in both the Denver metro area and national markets. She has more than 20 years of senior management Human Resources experience, and started Strategic HR Solutions in Boulder in 2001. For more information or to contact Jean directly, visit www.shrsrecruiting.com or call her at 303-247-9500.

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