I don’t get it.
I’ve been writing about recruitment for years now and you do kind of assume that the basics have been covered…
I mean everyone already knows that “recruitment is a two-way street” and that it’s the employer’s job to sell the company to candidates.
Or do they? Unfortunately, it appears not.
Candidates still come to me with the same old complaints about the same old interview mistakes.
Here are the top 5.
1. “The interviewer was just horrible.”
I was a bit shocked after a conversation I had with a recruiter recently. She (actually) said…
“Yes, but I just love to watch my candidates squirm.”
And to be honest, she’s not the only one.
There are a fair few people out there who take an intimidating approach to interviewing, justifying their behaviour by saying “it shows how well they can cope under pressure.”
Does it really though? Or does it just make you look like a d*ck?
This kind of behaviour includes…
- The staring competition. Sitting silently and staring at a candidate as they answer your question, even when they’re clearly finished. This leads them to blabber on nervously, revealing more, random (mostly irrelevant) things about themselves.
- The bluff. Asking ridiculous questions that you know your candidate won’t be able to answer, just to see whether they’ll admit to their lack of knowledge or attempt to blag it.
- Blatant disregard. Being openly rude, nasty and/or arrogant towards a candidate, just to see how they’ll cope (or just because you’re generally not a nice person).
Horrendous! But it still happens.
Interviews should be based on a mutual respect for each other. You’ve both (hopefully) made a lot of effort to be there and prepared, even if it doesn’t work out.
2. “They blatantly lied.”
One of the worst things you can do is lie to your job candidate.
- Firstly, it’s unethical.
- Secondly, it’s often pretty obvious (we can naturally sense when something’s not quite right).
- Thirdly, even if you do get away with it, you’re starting off on completely the wrong foot with your new recruit who’ll soon realise you lied.
You’d be surprised how many placed candidates leave within the first couple of months, because the role wasn’t “what was promised.”
That’s a heck of a lot of your time wasted!
Most recruiters that lie do so because they’re afraid of making the company (or themselves) look bad, putting off the candidate and/or making a fool of themselves.
But a little bit of honesty goes a long way – setting the right expectations straight away will mean that if and when a candidate does join you, they won’t be shocked and completely put off by anything.
3. “The interviewer talked and talked (and talked).”
Have you ever been interviewed by a complete chatterbox?
I have and this is what I remember feeling…
- Completely overwhelmed. (Do I interrupt, let them talk? Is this what it’s like all the time?).
- A bit put out. (I’d travelled pretty far and didn’t get a word in edgeways).
And I’m pretty sure the interviewer walked out of the room with absolutely no idea about who I was, what my strengths were and whether I’d fit into the company at all.
Good interviewers start a conversation with their candidates; asking the questions that need to be asked, but adapting to topics as and when they crop up and keeping things flowing.
This will put the candidate at ease and allow them to feel a bit more natural and willing to reveal more of that shining personality.
If you’d like to find out more about putting your candidates at ease, this blog post could help.
4. “They didn’t talk at all.”
A conversation kind of implies a bit of back-and-forth!
If you’re sat sullenly and silent, just watching your candidate, you’re going to make things incredibly awkward, intense and unnatural.
There are a few reasons why this kind of thing might happen…
- Perhaps you’re nervous, lose track of what you’re saying and therefore stumble?
- Or maybe you’re so under-prepared you have no idea what to ask next?
- Or are you just a bit horrible (see point 1)?
If you’re already making a candidate feel awkward… do you really think they’re going to want to work with you full-time?
Always be prepared for every interview and always try and keep the conversation going!
5. “The interviewer tried too hard.”
We can’t all be Google, Facebook or Apple (insert the name of any hip tech company you like).
In fact, the whole point in “company culture” and “employer branding” is that it’s unique to you and your team.
Unfortunately, instead of discovering their own identity, a lot of companies attempt to replicate the ultra-quirky, “hipster” things they see in the news – and can’t pull it off.
It’s a bit like a totally uncool parent attempting to “get down with the kids.”
The disconnect is so obvious that it comes across a little bit desperate.
- Asking out-of-place and bizarre brainteasers in interviews.
- Going on about quirky perks, like “bring your pet to work” day.
- Boasting that your office is the most “fun place to work, ever.”
When in reality, you’re a fairly average, quiet, absorbed office (which is not a bad thing).
Going back to point 2, be honest and you’ll attract people that fit into your business.
Why, why, why?
I guess some employers feel the need to stamp their authority in interviews. Or perhaps they still have the old mentality that every single job-seeker is desperate for a job…
But that is just not the case these days.
Recruitment really is a two-way street and there are plenty of companies out there willing to work hard to pinch that awesome candidate off you.
Recruiter Pro Tip
If you really want to attract the right people for your business, remember to…
- Be yourself.
- Unless “yourself” is mean and grumpy, in which case you’re probably in the wrong profession…
- Don’t lie.
- Start a conversation.
Authenticity is the key to success.
If you’d like more recruitment and HR advice – click here to subscribe to the blog.- Anthony Hughes