4 Hints Your Interview Approach Is Pushing Candidates Away

An overwhelming 73% of jobseekers revealed the job search process is one of the most stressful things in life, according to CareerBuilder’s 2017 “Candidate Experience From End-to-End” report.


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This disappointing statistic highlights a flaw in the system that no recruiter wants to hear: Candidates are suffering through their job search experiences. Unfortunately, the majority of candidates (15%) in Jobvite’s “2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey” say they’re most likely to give up on the application process during the in-person interview.

While it’s challenging to look at your own interviewing techniques as a source of stress for candidates, the key to improving is understanding candidates’ experiences and expectations. You can’t make improvements until you’ve recognized what parts of your interview approach are pushing candidates away.

Here are four hints that your interview approach causes candidates to give up on the hiring process:

1. You Feel Like You’re Talking to a Stranger.

How you speak to candidates during interviews determines whether they’ll continue in the hiring process. In fact, 86% of jobseekers believe employers should treat candidates with the same respect as current employees, according to the CareerBuilder report.

Give candidates the same warmth your employees experience. One way to make candidates feel welcome is to make an effort to get to know them. Understand who they are and what they’re capable of by using preassessment tools. Discover their personality traits, motivations, and skills on a deeper level to make more valuable connections during interviews.

Discuss how their personality traits will add value to the company culture. Using assessment reports, give them a look at how their skills will help the company accomplish its goals. Speaking directly to candidates’ strengths will make them feel like an important part of the team before even being hired.

2. You Do Most of the Talking.

As a recruiter, it’s your job to offer as many details about the role as possible, often in a limited amount of time. While candidates value these details, they don’t want you to monopolize conversations.

Jobvite’s survey respondents say recruiters’ conversation skills (40%) have the greatest impact on company image during on-site interviews. Consider your interviews a time to collaborate with candidates.

Ask open-ended questions that allow candidates to share details about themselves. Then, illustrate active listening by paraphrasing, asking clarifying questions, and summarizing their responses. Creating a space for open dialogue will show candidates you’re interested in getting to know them on a personal level.

3. You Read Off of the Job Description ‘Script.’

Most candidate experiences start by reviewing job descriptions. Unfortunately, only 47% of jobseekers in the Jobvite survey believe that job descriptions reflect actual job responsibilities.

If you’re rehashing the job description throughout the interview, many candidates won’t feel they’re receiving a clear picture of the role. This makes it impossible for candidates to picture themselves succeeding on the team.

Use the valuable time in the interview to go beyond the job description. Our team, for example, uses interview guides that provide questions for each candidate. We use the answers to these very specific questions to give candidates a glimpse of their futures if they were to become part of the team.

4. You’re Too Focused on Job Fit.

Aligning a candidate’s skills with the role is, of course, a critical part of the interview process. However, it’s not the only—or even the most important—step. Candidates want to know they’re looked at and valued beyond their professional skills. Starting a new job is also about integrating with a new community, one where their work and personal lives intersect.

Ask candidates about their passions inside and outside of work. Ask questions that begin with “Tell me about a time when …” to get them to tell a story and reflect on how their response ties to the organization’s values. These types of questions allow both you and candidates to evaluate candidate-organization fit during the interview process.

Neil Morelli is the VP of product and assessment science at Berke, an assessment technology that helps companies know who to hire. Connect with Morelli and the Berke team on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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