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What Not to Say to Candidates

shockedWhen you’ve got all the hiring power, it can be easy to forget that the candidate’s experience throughout the hiring process is just as important as the hiring manager’s impression of the him.  Of course, negative candidate experiences can come back to bite a company in poor reviews online, all manner of bad word of mouth among interviewees’ friends and family and the potential for lost business from these consumers.

But a negative candidate experience can also cost the company in other ways, including quality talent who decide to take a pass when offered the job at the organization that treated them poorly.  Recruiting is already a costly endeavor – and even more so when it takes longer than absolutely necessary.  To ensure candidates stay interested, satisfied and excited about the prospect of working for you, keep it professional, and consider this list of 10 things never to say to the prospective new hire:

1. We’ll figure it out as we go along.  Candidates want to know what they’re getting into, so you need to be able to speak to the role in question with some authority.

2. Let me just take this call.  Or, in other words, I can’t give you the courtesy of x-number of minutes of my uninterrupted attention.

3. I’m so glad we fired that last idiot. I’m sure you’ll do much better.  Ouch.  This is how you speak of former employees.  I doubt they’re mentally getting in line to be bad-mouthed down the road.

4. Don’t worry about the job description.  This sends the message that the job ad they’ve become so familiar with in preparation for the interview may not reflect what they’ll be asked to do on the job.

5. I feel like it was only five minutes ago I hired the last guy.  Aaaaand now they’re interviewing either with a company that sacks folks left and right or for a position that nobody can stand to stay in for any length of time.

6. Can you remind me, where was your last job?  Really, the candidate has likely done their homework.  So should you have done.

7. Tell me about yourself.  This ever popular interview opener is vague and tricky to answer “correctly.”  Plus, nervous interviewees may be put out of the running for somewhat arbitrary reasons based on their answers to this question.

8. How long did it take for you to get here? Whether they’re just around the corner or half a metroplex away, the candidate’s commute is his or her affair, not the company’s business.

9. Excuse the mess. Is the office under construction?  No?  Then the workspace should be presentable.  On second thought, if the office is under construction, you should be interviewing elsewhere.

10. Sorry for being late.  Just don’t be late.  If there’s an emergency of some kind, that’s excusable, but how often do emergencies actually crop up?

Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  
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