You know your company is great to work for — now you just have to prove it to potential employees. One major obstacle: Too often, hiring managers make interview mistakes that send candidates all the wrong signals.
Just like you and your managers are using the interview to evaluate candidates, the candidates are doing the same thing with your company. Certain behaviors will send them running through the door and never looking back.
Here are the most common red flags candidates see when they’re talking to managers:
- Badmouthing current or former staffers — It doesn’t matter if you’re hiring someone to replace a dud — managers need to keep that fact to themselves. When a manager speaks negatively about employees or ex-employees, it’s basically like saying, “I’m difficult to work for.”
- Hiding key people or information — Many candidates will learn enough about your company through what’s given to them in the interview. But some will want more — for example, they may ask to meet more employees, learn about company policies, etc. Managers need to oblige and help the candidate make an informed decision.
- Disappearing after the interview — Since managers are busy, it’s normally up to HR to follow up and tell the candidate what the next steps are. But that doesn’t mean candidates can’t communicate with managers at all. Some will have questions or concerns about the job, and managers need to take the time to address them with the candidate.
- Treating the interview like a chore — Hiring managers have a lot to do, but interviewees need to know they’re the priority. Being more than a little late and offering excuses (unless it was a real emergency) is another big red flag for job applicants. It tells them their time isn’t valued and, if they take the job, the manager will be too busy to pay them any attention.
- Getting too personal — Interviews usually start with some general small talk to warm up the candidate. But some topics are best avoided — such as religion, family situations, age, race, etc. Questions on those subjects could offend some candidates and may even lead to discrimination complaints.
- Reluctance or inability to answer some questions — Just like you wouldn’t hire a candidate who hesitates too much, dodges questions or gives poor responses, candidates don’t want to work for bosses who do the same. Most questions will be about the day-to-day work and how employees are treated at the company (such as “Walk me through a typical day,” or “How will my performance be measured?”). Managers need to be ready to answer them.
- Rushing them through the process — Most candidates have full-time jobs already and need some flexibility in scheduling. It’s understandable to want to get the ball rolling quickly, but not respecting candidates’ already busy schedules will give them a bad impression of what it’s like to work at your company.