Why Your Office Design Could be Putting off Candidates

Why Your Office Design Could be Putting off Candidates

We’ve previously covered ways in which a business can improve staff retention, but what about attracting staff?

Believe it or not, the way your office or room used to interview looks can play a significant role in determining whether a candidate takes a role or not.

And even those who do hastily accept a position often leave within the probation period – which is not only a pain in the backside, but really costly too!

In fact, Oxford Economics recently revealed that it costs a staggering £30,614 to replace an employee in lost output while a business has to find a replacement, get them up to speed and pay for any associated logistical costs involved.  


Clearly room for improvement!

So you’ve shortlisted your candidates, prepped your interview questions and tidied the office up – but how much thought have you put into choosing what interview room you are going to use?

  1. I’ve carefully booked our very best interview room.
  2. I’ve briefly considered it and have booked a room.
  3. I haven’t thought about it at all.

Well, if your answer is either ‘2’ or ‘3’, you’re in for one hell of a revelation next.

YouGov conducted a fascinating survey of 1,000 GB-based office workers, only to find that 48% of them agree that the room where they were interviewed would majorly influence their decision on whether to take a role at a company or not.

That’s almost half!

To break this down further into industries, some of the highest includes:

  • Medical & Health services 69%
  • Sales & Marketing 57%
  • Finance & Accounting 53%

From a demographical point of view, it’s the Millennial generation (those born between 1981 and 1996) who care most about the interview setting with 54% of them agreeing with this same notion.

This was closely followed by Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) and Generation X (those born between 1965-1980) voting 45% and 43%.

So what’s the problem?

According to the same research, 30% of respondents stated that the interview room and surrounding office is often dated, uninspiring and in need of a complete refurbishment job.

This particularly applies to the Hospitality & Leisure, Media & Sales and Legal sectors.

It serves as a reminder that first impressions are equally important for both parties involved and is a useful indication of what applicants are assessing during their time with you.

So even if you spend hundreds of pounds on the best recruitment agency, sourced the best job boards and even have the juiciest benefits package in place, if your office and interview room isn’t cutting the mustard, then you could lose out on a top professional.

Ways to improve the design of your office and interview rooms

The good news is that the same survey respondents suggested some top tips to make a lasting impression for both potential candidates and existing employees.

Interestingly, 33% of the professionals feel that a traditional boardroom is an outdated concept, with 46% of Millennials saying that it’s had its day.

With this in mind, maybe there’s a need to jazz up meeting rooms and office spaces. Just look at Google’s cool offices, which have everything from slides to wacky sleeping pods in them.

Naturally, spending thousands of pounds on a crazy innovative office design isn’t always affordable, but there’s no harm in creating smaller private spaces with more exciting wall colour schemes.

You see, in order to get candidates to open up during their interview you need to ditch the stuffy boardroom with uninspiring white walls, and instead, go to a relaxed breakout area where you can enjoy a coffee and a slightly more relaxed chat.

Pro recruiter top tip

Candidates will often feel nervous and anxious about going into an interview. As a result, this can stop you from seeing the real them and getting the open and honest answers you want.

To break down the wall and make them feel comfortable, you should consider asking some icebreaker style questions, such as:

– What is your favourite activity to do on holiday?

– What is your favourite meal?

– If you were given £1 million in cash, what would you do with it?

– What did you have for breakfast?

You can find more examples in our previous blog.

By just redesigning meeting rooms, you can make your business look like a fun place to work and encourage candidates to proceed with their application.

Space is another essential element in painting the right impression. For instance, is it really necessary to interview one candidate using a large boardroom?

It’s so cold and formal.

Creating smaller spaces can make the interview feel more personal and intimate – which will undoubtedly make a candidate feel at ease.

Final thoughts

While office design might not be at the top of your to-do list, it’s definitely worth considering at some stage –especially when it could be the difference between finding the perfect employee and not.

There’s also a lot of research out there that suggests that a nicer working environment can improve staff retention too, which will save you more money in the long-run.

So get your paintbrush out, roll up your sleeves and give it a go!

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