“If your firm is working on using a DEI interview model (involving anti-bias), you may want to start an interview by noting that. Candidates unfamiliar with that process can feel that they are being cross-examined as they answer multiple questions in a short time period, with little chance to assess the personalities of those interviewing them. An anti-bias mode of interviewing is laudable and shows your company values diversity and inclusion. But it can backfire as well. It may be perceived as work environment that doesn’t allow for personality and requires employees to continuously prove their worth. A red flag for many candidates.”
Employers all over the U.S. are still running uphill when it comes to hiring. You could be doing it all right, but still fall short. While you may have an excellent recruitment site, amazing word of mouth from your current employees and a stellar benefits package, there could be one more element that helps you hire the best candidates. Many employers fail to focus on their communication between the interview and the hiring process. Here are a few tips on how to use that time between getting to know a candidate and bringing them on board.
Ask anyone who is in process of applying to new jobs about their experiences post interview, and they’ll likely tell you horror stories about being ghosted by employers. One candidate even found out after a grueling second round of interviews that she was passed over for a candidate with better political connections, at you guessed it, a political fundraiser. But beyond the horror stories of ghosting, the time between interview and hiring is an essential one. Employers may want to remember that candidates who are seeking new positions have many options. The time between the last interview and the offer could be filled with other offers.
Job seekers are becoming savvy to the idea that the hiring process can show a lot about the company culture that a simple interview cannot. This may have become even more important during the pandemic when video interviews were a necessity. Employers who haven’t caught on to that new focus among job seekers may want to pay attention to 4 key areas: 1) scheduling interviews; 2) the actual interview questions; 3) in between the interview and the offer; and 4) the almost but not quite candidate.
Interview Scheduling: Many consultants, as well as seasoned job seekers, will tell you that how you schedule interviews with candidates can inform them about company culture. For example, requesting an interview on a short notice with few time options lets your candidate know that they will be expected to interact with supervisors in a similar way. While a 10:30 AM interview in person may work best for your schedule, it essentially means your candidate must take either a half day or entire day off. A 9:00 AM (or better yet, 4:00 in the afternoon) interview allows your candidate more flexibility. Similarly, rescheduling an interview multiple times also shows a lack of respect for their time. To make scheduling easier, some employers have begun asking candidates if the employer can record the interview (if by video) to show a panel later so that there are less schedules to coordinate.
Interview Questions: It is necessary to find the right fit for the open positions at your company but drilling too far into specifics can send red flags. For example, if you are repeatedly asking about juggling multiple deadlines to make sure you find a candidate with good time management skills you might be sending the message that the project management skills of the supervisors are lacking. Instead, you might want to try asking a candidate about a time they struggled with managing time expectations on a project and how they learned from it. Keep in mind that job seekers may be interviewing at firms that are moving towards a DEI model of interviewing – opting to avoid potential bias by keeping to scripted interviews. If your firm is working on a similar model, you may want to start an interview by noting that. Candidates unfamiliar with that process can feel that they are being cross-examined as they answer 20 to 40 questions in a one-hour time period, with little chance to assess the personalities of those interviewing them. An anti-bias mode of interviewing is laudable and shows your company values diversity and inclusion. But it can backfire as well. A work environment that doesn’t allow for personality and requires employees to continuously prove their worth may be one that candidates avoid.
Interview Interval: The time between the interview and the offer can be critical. The reason this period is essential can be summed up easily for a job seeker: “During the interview process, you had a singular goal: to get an offer. Now that you have one, you need to assess whether the job and organization are a good fit.”  Candidates may spend more time perusing your online reviews and reputation. They may also reach out to potential colleagues that did not interview them, or individuals they can find on professional networking sites like LinkedIn. If you, as an employer, want to ensure that the candidate meets with their colleagues or has a chance to ask candid questions, you may want to have the potential colleague reach out to them post-interview.
Additionally, the time between the last interview and the job offer is frequently a time when a candidate may check the salary options for a position against a market benchmark. If your company has posted a salary range in the opening notice you may want to be prepared for a candidate to challenge that salary range after the interview. A seasoned candidate may realize from your interview questions that your salary target was based on too low a level of work experience for the position you are seeking to fill. Some employers may want to check in with a candidate after an interview to assess any questions they might have after the interview, specifically about salary or benefits.
Coach the Close Calls: Interviews can, and should, involve the long game. The candidate that didn’t work but was close is still a potential future business connection. If you had a second-choice candidate who came close but just missed it, you may want to consider how you respond to them. There are a few things you can do to position yourself to add that candidate to your network, if not your company. You may want to connect them with someone else who is hiring. Don’t just tell them you are keeping their resume on file – let them know if you expect a position to open up at your firm. For example, that candidate who was ghosted to find out at a party she was passed over turned out to be able to direct business away from the company who slighted her. In an opposite real life scenario, a supervisor used networking time to cultivate a second choice candidate for a prime internship. The result? Within 10 years the supervisor and the potential intern were colleagues; the not quite right candidate had fast tracked to a leadership position in the organization because of the coaching she received.
These articles are prepared for general purposes and are not intended to provide advice or encourage specific behavior. Before taking any action, Advisors and Plan Sponsors should consult with their compliance, finance and legal teams.
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