The good, the bad, the ugly – An Interview Can Make or Break your Candidate Experience

You’ve heard the one starting, “A guy walks into a bar…,” right?

Well, what about this one? “A job applicant walks into an interview…,”

…and has to wait an hour before the interviewer shows up

…is called the wrong name

…doesn’t have the necessary paperwork

…has to watch the interviewer scarf down a hamburger during the interview

…shows up in a bathing suit

But we won’t look. Nor will we comment. In fact, we’ll ignore any aspect of you in your birthday… er, we mean… bathing suit. We know EEOC and anti-discrimination laws inside and out.

The candidate and new hire experience begins long before the interview process even starts. But, the interview is like the Holy Grail of the candidate/hiring experience. It is – no joke – the ONE thing that can ruin a candidate’s perception of your workplace. And vice versa.

Here’s a funny take on the interview process (if you like independent comedic YouTube videos):

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Considering the weighty importance of the interview, it’s imperative to study what separates the good from the bad from the ugly. Poor behavior or slovenly appearance or plain rudeness will stink up any interview. Those are inexcusable. But the banter is really what can make or break the interview process. We culled a variety of websites for their ‘expert’ (use that term relatively… it is the internet, after all) opinions and rounded up some of our favorite pieces of advice.

Don’t Ask Tips For Job Seekers“So what does your company do?” Ever heard of Google? Use it. Click on said company’s website. Read it. Done. “Do you do background checks?” Can you say red flag? You also want to avoid asking about drug testing. Just assume every company will run a background check and drug testing on you. If you need or want to disclose something to them, that’s your choice. If something negative or questionable turns up on your background check that eliminates you as a hire, that’s called Adverse Action. Read about it here. “Can I do this job from home?” Does it say that in the job description? If not, don’t bring it up. It insinuates you don’t work well with others or you need a position with more flex time. “ … “ Don’t remain quiet at the interview’s completion. It makes employers question your critical thinking and ability to think on your feet. However, don’t ask a dumb question either. You should’ve thought of at least one question ahead of time to ask at this point in the interview.

Don’t Ask Tips for Employers

*obviously, anything regarding age, sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, marital and family status, gender, health and physical ability are off the table “What’s your greatest weakness?” The answer to this awful question is ridiculously, hilariously and accurately portrayed by Matthew Inman: “How does your previous experience relate to the jobs we have here?” Duh. Any candidate who read the job description can connect the dots to what you want to hear. “How long have you lived here?” Asking about a candidate’s residency in the country or region is widely unacceptable and leans toward the discriminatory. Just ask them for a current address and/or phone number instead. “How much longer do you plan on working before retiring?” We know what you’re really wondering is how quickly you might have to turnover this employee. Turnover is expensive. But this question is loaded with discriminatory tendencies. It’s a slippery slope to walk.

What are your tips for a tops interview? What should you always ask? What should always avoid? Send us your thoughts and we’ll use ‘em in an upcoming post.

And, come back later for our next post on improving the candidate experience without breaking the bank. This is a must read everyone, but especially for small businesses and non-profits and public sector groups.

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