I recently asked my network on Linked In how we can improve the relationship between job candidates and the organizations who interview them. I was stunned at the response. Every single respondent replied with a request to communicate more effectively. One person even stated “While I don’t want the answer to be no…let me get you off my list!”
A-list Interviews responds to every application we receive on behalf of our clients. Taking care of your candidates, even after the application process is completed, is a direct reflection of your company, not to mention an incredible marketing opportunity. While, I agree, some respondents to do not take the news of rejection well, the incredible people who are ideal for another company deserve the respect of a response. It is as easy as an auto responder email stating, “Thank you for your application. If you haven’t heard from us by x date, then we have moved on with other candidates.”
In closing, when you post an ad, get some free marketing by responding to your applicants and Just Say NO!
As we move forward on the tail end of the worst recession in our lifetime, it is time to learn from our mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes that we make in our businesses is our blatant disregard for a professionally run interview process. We spend so much time, energy and money trying to replace the actual interviews. We use recruiters, phone interviews, and employee testing just so we don’t have to interview candidates. But, guess what? You can NEVER avoid the actual interview. Even if you decide to hire someone without having met them, you still have to speak to the candidate and perform that initial interview. You can’t avoid it. So, how do we fix this? Simply by talking about the big white elephant in the room, and acknowledging what Martin Yates calls a “dirty secret.”
We as companies promote people to management, tell them to hire a team of people, hold them accountable for that team, and never teach them how to conduct an effective interview. When someone makes a big hiring mistake, they assume that they “are just not good at interviewing.” That is not true. People can be taught to conduct fast, effective interviews. However, until we begin the conversation about it, the interview process will remain in the dark. And, our company culture will continue to deteriorate.
Every once in a while, I apply for jobs just to see what candidates have to go through in order to get a position. It is important as an interviewer to understand the process from the candidates’ perspective. The application process is a direct reflection of the company who is hiring. While every interview process is different, if you want to NOT hire good people, here are some NOT to do’s:
1. Make the application process so hard that good candidates would rather have a root canal. One company I applied for posted an ad with an incorrect link. I was really curious about the position so I went to the company website and located the right link. I discovered that I had to write an essay of my qualifications and how they fit into the job description. I also had to send a resume, cover letter, references, and a salary history. The link to send the materials in was also incorrect so I moved on to the next one. While gathering good information on your candidates is important, asking for too much will discourage the applicant and give you more paperwork to review. A well crafted resume and cover letter should tell you all that you need to know to determine if you should move to the next step in the interview process.
2. Be disrespectful of the candidates’ time. One company asked to schedule an interview with me. They asked me to be 20 minutes early. The day before the interview, I received frantic email asking me to actually arrive another 40 minutes earlier than that. I was an hour early as requested. They started the interview at the original time.
3. Leave people hanging. I interviewed with another company that told me they would give me an answer within three days. Two weeks went by without any communication. I sent a follow up email re-iterating my interest in the position, and I still haven’t heard from them. If you do not intend to hire the candidate, at least send them an email thanking them for applying and let them know you filled the position.
4. Be confusing. One company asked me to interview and I ended up watching a 45 minute sales presentation. This is not an interview.
5. Be vague. A company that doesn’t put their name on the job ad will get people looking for a job. A company that stands behind their ad with their name on it will get people looking for the next perfect position.
Peter Drucker says that 2/3 of all hiring decision are found to be a mistake within the year. Dr. Peirre Mornell says that if you rectify the situation of a bad hire within 6 months, then it will cost you 2 ½ times that person’s annual salary. The cost of a bad hire is staggering. Could this be a reason that we are in a recession? Could an improved interview process help businesses succeed? Of course! As a matter of fact, if we want to get serious about business, then we need to get serious about interviewing effectively. I helped a small retail store by teaching the manager how to interview effectively. We hired together 7 people, from the front line, to the marketing director, to the manager. Within 90 days, we saw a 96% drop in customer complaints, and all 3 revenue centers increased an average of 19%. Imagine what GMC could do if they revamped their interview process.