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Aug 23, 2014
by James

How To Scare Off Good Candidates In 5 Easy Steps or Less – Guaranteed

Posted in Interview Training

HireBar - How to scare off a job candidateA very basic task that a recruiter must perform is following up with a candidate immediately after an interview.   We call this a post-interview candidate debrief.   This routine task lets you know if a candidate is still interested, what their concerns are and what they’re thinking relative to salary, relo, benefits, spousal concerns, etc.

Another use for the follow-up call is to do a little candidate experience checkup. 

Don’t wait until a bad review ends up on GlassDoor before you address a nightmare experience that someone had.

What I’ve found over the years when probing around this area is that there are clues to why you’re scaring off really great talent.  These clues can be found in the follow-up call script.

Call it what you want — spying on your hiring managers or simply collecting feedback on your hiring process — but the series of questions below may help you gain insights into improving your interview process and increasing your “Offer-To-Accept Ratio”.
It’s goes something like this…
“So, tell me about your interview experience with us…”
1.   Was your itinerary accurate and helpful?  How could we improve it?

2.   Did the interview start on time?  Where there any hiccups during the day?

3.   Regarding the people you met with…did everyone stick to the script or was it more of a casual conversation?

4.  Would you say the interview was easy or hard?   Why?

5.   Did you feel a connection between you and the hiring manager?  In what ways?  What about the other people you met?  Who were you most impressed with and why?
Using some of these questions in the past, I’ve had candidates tell me some really concerning things.    For the most part, I usually hear that managers don’t stick to the script…they make up their own (bad) interview questions and usually talk too much…not letting the candidate properly sell themselves.
I thought it would fun to just assemble the top 5 complaints that I’ve heard from job applicants over the years in hopes that it saves at least 1 reader out there from making one of these common mistakes.
So here you go…how to scare off great candidates in 5 easy steps (or less):

Step 1:  Start by adding an excessive number of interviewers to the agenda.

A lot of managers cover up their insecurities by adding 6, 7, 8…10 people to the interview process.  Research has shown that beyond 4 or 5 “key” people, the law of diminishing returns kicks in.    Having more opinions doesn’t always generate a better outcome.  In fact, it slows down and complicates the process and contributes to “group think” — not to mention creating a bad candidate experience.

Step 2: Screw up the candidate’s agenda or itinerary

There’s nothing worse than being nervous in a strange building, in an uncomfortable outfit and everyone is scrambling to figure out where you’re supposed to be.    It’s also a bad signal if you, the interviewer, show up late.   Not only does it make you look disorganized but it also cuts down your assessment time and forces you both to feel rushed.

Step 3: Show up unprepared for the interview

Don’t wait until the last second to print off a resume or put together an interview guide.   Interviewing is extremely important and it takes a lot of concentration.   You must be in the right mindset to evaluate talent.    If you’re scrambling for a pen or a conference room or a bottle of water for the candidate, you’re already off course.

Step 4:  Conduct an easy or overly friendly interview

Weak candidates love easy interviews.   Top candidates are scared off by easy interviews because they begin to doubt the quality of talent at the organization.    Make your interviews hard and relevant.  Ask great questions, probe deeply, test, give homework, etc.   Not only will you get better results, but you’ll make the best candidates think that your company sets a high bar for talent.   You don’t have to play Sergeant RapidFire with a candidate, but you should challenge them in every way possible.

Step 5:  Sell the job too hard, too early

This seems simple enough.  You’re supposed to sell the candidate right?    Yes and no.   You should, but not too early and not too hard.   You don’t want to come off as desperate, needy or unprepared.  Take your time and ask all of your interview questions.  Assess the candidate properly.   Then, when you’re satisfied that the candidate is “top drawer”, you can sell the job.   Let them ask questions and then sell based on their biggest needs.


Post Interview Debrief Meetings By HireBar

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