Conducting an interview soon?
Believe it or not, the setting or location says a lot about your company and your work culture.
Get it wrong and the candidate could reconsider their decision to join your ranks.
But get it spot on and you’ll get off to the perfect start.
In fact, research from Monster reveals that 70% of job seekers turn down a job if their first impression is sub-standard.
With this in mind, I’ve put together a list of the best places to conduct an interview.
(And I’m not talking about a stuffy conference room!)
At a quiet restaurant
The key to this interview setting is the word “quiet”.
Don’t invite your candidate to a busy Wagamamas, where you’re forced to sit uncomfortably close to strangers while you eat!
Interviewing before or after the lunch rush is an ideal time.
You’d also get served a lot quicker too.
The idea of this setting is to “break bread” and create a relaxed friendly environment.
There’s nothing wrong with ordering a pint or glass of wine and encouraging the candidate to do the same.
Just as long as you don’t repeatedly do it for 6 or 7 interviews!
Not only will an interview over lunch help settle any nerves, but it’ll also make the candidate feel valued too – providing you pay.
In a large hotel lobby
Another off-site interview setting is a large hotel lobby.
This is ideal if you need better parking options or a central place to meet.
Granted, it may feel like you’re on a blind date, but it’s practical and will give you a real opportunity to get to know the candidate.
The main issue with holding interviews in company conference rooms is that you can get distracted.
For a candidate, there’s nothing worse than being made to wait nervously in the reception for a long period.
A hotel lobby is usually quiet and will enable you to focus solely on the candidate.
In a Café
If you’re a caffeine lover, this interview setting will sound like a ‘latte’ fun!
Besides getting to sip on your favourite hot beverage, your candidate will be able to meet you in an environment they’re very accustomed to.
Just be sure to check when the quietest times are or you may find it hard to ignore some old biddy’s latest escapades.
You shouldn’t ask the candidate to dress down either.
At the end of the day, you still need to see whether they’re willing to make the effort to impress you.
Leaving this for them to decide will tell you a lot about their personality and what they stand for.
On a train
This has to be the strangest place to conduct an interview on my list.
However, there is some logic to my madness.
If you’re feeling brave enough and your company prides itself on innovation, inviting a candidate to attend an interview on a train is borderline genius.
For the simple reason that you can tell a lot about a candidate’s personality when you see them in a normal, public place.
Yes, hotels and cafés are public.
But trains present a series of distractions and variables.
As an interviewer, assess how the candidate speaks to other people and how relaxed they are.
Do they offer their seat to the elderly?
Are they polite when squeezing past a mum and her pram?
Being surrounded by casual commuters should stop them from giving you dull, pre-prepared answers as they won’t want to draw attention to themselves.
It’s a naughty way to cleverly assess the real candidate in a normal situation.
Office breakout area
If you’d prefer to keep things within your company’s four walls, swap the standard conference room for your breakout area.
Whether this is a sofa area where employees usually gather or a nice bench outside on a warm day, take this opportunity to showcase the chilled working environment you have at the company.
However, don’t make the mistake of doing it in a busy canteen or kitchen area where you have kettles boiling, loud chit-chat going on and constant movement around you.
This will make the candidate more nervous and will paint a bad impression of your company.
Office wine and cheese parties
As we mentioned before, Creative Niche completely revolutionised the interview setting game by running frequent wine and cheese parties in their office.
They didn’t like the idea of one-on-one meets, so they decided to incorporate the whole business in this fun, innovative interview process.
Similar to speed dating, shortlisted candidates are invited to the office for an evening of getting to know their potential new managers and colleagues over a glass of wine and a whole lot of cheese!
Every employee then had a casting vote on who joins.
Unless the vote is unanimous, the candidate wouldn’t get the job.
This cool boozy night has drastically boosted the company’s retention rate to 90%!
So, it must mean they’re hiring the right people.
The learning never stops!
If you need some more help on improving your interview game, check out our previous post: 8 Potential Problems With Your Interview Process.
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