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How the Candidate Experience is Key when Interviewing Top Talent

Some companies are more successful than others at forging an organization-wide effort to entice prospective employees. And, no one holds more influence over the candidate’s decision to accept or reject an offer than the hiring manager. Which is why the candidate experience is key when interviewing top talent.

People want to work for people they like – managers who are clear in setting expectations, seem reasonable, respect the skills of their team members and value their time. How well prospective employees connect with potential managers during their interviews is crucial to their decision to accept one offer over others.

With that in mind, here are five things to consider as you are interviewing top talent during the hiring process.

1. Be prepared.

Before an interview, thoroughly read the candidate’s resume, and do a bit of research by looking at their LinkedIn profile if allowed. This way, you can prepare targeted questions that will give you a deeper sense of the person’s skills, strengths and weaknesses. Just as important, the candidate will take note and appreciate the time you invested in getting ready for your conversation.

2. Pay attention.

Like anyone else, job seekers want to know people are paying attention to them. So, during the interview, focus on what they’re saying, don’t take phone calls, or look at your emails or your watch. Engage them with questions and comments that create a professional discussion.

Ask open-ended questions so the candidate has the opportunity to fill in details about their approach to business, teamwork and challenges they’ve faced.

3. Show them why they want to work for you.

At the same time, remember interviews are opportunities for both the hiring manager and the candidate. Just as you want to learn about the candidate, the candidate wants to learn about your company and the role they’ll play in it.

Interviews are the time for you to highlight why your business is a great place to work and why the job presents an exceptional opportunity. You need to sell your company, the department and the role as much as the candidate is selling himself or herself.

4. Take the time.

If you’re going to make a good hire, you have to block off the time necessary to go through the process. Besides reading resumes and learning about the candidate’s background, this means beginning the interview promptly and making sure you give the candidate enough space to have a real discussion.

You don’t get to know someone in 15 minutes, or even 30. Ideally, the person you hire will be with you for a while, so talking with them productively is worth your investment in time.

5. Collaborate with your hiring team.

Given that others on the team are likely to be involved in interviewing top talent, everyone should be on the same page and be prepared in the same way. Work with your team to determine different questions on which each interviewer can focus. It will impress the candidate and, of course, help you glean more information.

Have each person share why they joined the company and what they like about the product or service and the working environment. Candidates want to feel as if they fit with their employer in terms of skills, goals, outlook and personality. By taking a collaborative approach to interviewing and establishing a real dialogue, you’ll get a true sense of the candidate as a professional and a person, just as they’ll get a sense of you.

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