Are your interviews supporting your hiring process, or undermining your efforts by alienating your most talented candidates? When you invite an applicant in for an interview, are you paying attention to the impression you make? Or are you only interested in assessing the candidate? Far too often, managers think of the interview as a one sided process; they assume the partnership is theirs for the taking, and they’re surprised later when they present their offer with a benevolent flourish only to have it rejected. Don’t let this happen to you. Keep talented candidates on your side by making sure your interview process wins their approval. Try these tips.

1. A clean organized workplace goes a long way.

A few simple fixes can mean the difference between a yes and a no from a talented applicant. For example, that flickering fluorescent light in the entryway? Get it fixed before the interview. That chocolate ice cream stain on your office carpet? Cover it with something. That messy pile of papers on your desk? Push them into a folder and tuck them out of sight. If you can clean up the place, do so. If you can’t, at least try. Your effort will show.

2. Add warmth to your welcome.

Greet your interviewees the way you would greet a valuable client or customer. Smile as you walk toward them. Extend your hand before they offer theirs. Ask if they had any trouble finding the venue. Make it clear that you’re pleased to see them and honored by their interest in your company. If you keep them waiting in the lobby for 30 minutes or more, expect to lose them.

3. Maintain control over the interview process.

Don’t invite a candidate in for an interview with no script in hand and no apparent preparation. Talented candidates are typically turned off by an interviewer who seems surprised by the visit, distracted by other issues, or confused about the applicant’s name or the title of the position. If you have to look up this basic information while the candidate is sitting in front of you, something is wrong. Have your questions prepared, and have a copy of the applicant’s resume on hand.

4. Keep your questions relevant to the job.

It may seem cute or quirky to add “fun” questions to your interview like “If you were a crayon, what color would you be?” or “Who’s your favorite cartoon character and why?” But unless you have a specific purpose in mind, try to avoid these kinds of questions. Stick to subjects that relate directly to the candidate’s background and the needs of the position.

Impress your candidates, don’t alienate them or treat them with disrespect. For more on how to walk this delicate line, contact the staffing and interviewing professionals at Expert.

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