Job seekers have done some crazy things to kick off job interviews – like asking to take a quick phone call, unbuttoning a blouse to show some cleavage or mentioning that their sleepiness is just the result of popping some Xanax. But applicants aren’t the only ones who can get job interviews off to a bad start. Hiring and staffing managers can also do things that make an interview seemed doomed from the beginning.
If it seems like none of your company’s recruiting targets are pining for a second interview, it may be because your hiring and staffing managers are just screwing things up.
How do they do it? Let's count the ways.
1. Confiding that the company is in trouble.
Your company may be smarting from the loss of some important clients, but you don’t want recruiting targets to know that. After all, you probably need an injection of talent to replace employees who defected when the clients did. If an interviewer is on his way out the door as well, he may feel like giving candidates a heads up about the company’s quarterly results. Here's a tip: don't let that guy conduct the interviews.
2. Not knowing what position the applicant seeks.
Is the applicant trying to land an accounting job or a custodial position? If the person who’s doing the interview doesn’t know, she’ll have a hard time asking the right kinds of questions. Hiring and staffing managers expect applicants to be well informed about the position they’re seeking, so it’s only fair for interviewers to know which job is up for discussion and to have a list of questions ready for the applicant.
3. Making the company seem like a prison.
Your company may have important policies that affect its hiring decisions, but rattling them off at the start of an interview in your best James Earl Jones voice will make your business seem strict, uptight and no fun. People know that getting a different job entails taking on new responsibilities, but they want to feel like they’re embarking on an exciting journey, not entering a penitentiary.
You should definitely communicate any important rules that your company has, but don’t mention them when you should be making a polite introduction instead.
Maybe you want to hire someone who can talk on the phone, compose a PowerPoint presentation and balance the IT budget at the same time. That's fine, but make sure that your hiring and staffing manager doesn’t begin the interview by demonstrating how it’s done. If an interviewer handles other business while asking questions, he probably won’t conduct the best interview. And he certainly won’t be an ambassador of politeness or professionalism.
Your company’s hiring and staffing managers probably have a lot on their plate, but they have to be able to effectively introduce themselves – and the company – to job applicants. If they can't, the employee selection process will suffer. Candidates will run away to better jobs at better companies. They'll choose businesses that make a good first impression during the interview process. It's natural, and you'd probably do the same.