Good people have choices in this employee marketplace. Listed below are 10 common experiences that have caused candidates to judge a job, boss or company poorly and thus causing them to hesitate in taking the next step. For advice on how to plan for and avoid some of these common missteps, download our 'How to prepare for an interview in 20 minutes' at the end of this article.
10 ways to lose a top candidate:
1. Be late or unprepared to receive them – in other words, give the impression that they are not important enough to warrant any effort or planning.
2. Makeup questions as you go and include really lame ones like, "tell me about your strengths" or, "if you were a dessert what would you be?". Thinking as you go communicates that this role is not important enough to warrant more thoughtful questions.
3. Talk most of the time about you, the job, and the company. Since you barely inquired about or listened to the candidate, this gives the impression that you are not good at building rapport or don’t care much about people. Few people want a boss like this.
4. Don’t uncover the needs and motivations of a candidate and just spew out features and benefits that may not mean anything to them. You end up sounding like the stereotypical used car salesperson, which, for most, is not an ideal boss or team member.
5. Air dirty laundry Okay you would never do this, but sometimes things slip out or a minor passive aggressive statement may take on a bigger meaning in the candidate’s mind.
6. Don’t outline the competitive advantages and future direction of your products or services. And especially don’t outline the organization's bigger purpose and a potential career path.
7. Answer calls or text messages during the interview. Are you so important that it cannot wait 20 minutes until you complete the interview? Your behaviors communicate both your values and the values of the company. If you say, "we value relationships", but you don’t demonstrate it, your company and you will be judged as hypocritical.
8. Hide any enthusiasm or interest in the candidate. Who wants to work with a poker-faced boss or teammate? Be genuine and generous in your admiration, but make sure you keep to the process. Jumping into an offer can mess up the engagement of others or negotiations.
9. Don’t leave enough time for their questions. The higher the level the more time needed.
10. Take several days to follow up with or ignore a candidate’s inquiries. Are you so overwhelmed or distracted that you cannot show respect with a quick reply?
With any of the above, top candidates may draw negative conclusions, will drop out of your process and you may never know why. Those that hang in there are generally candidates that are struggling to find work and so will ignore or tolerate all the warning bells and bad impressions.
Of course, no one intends to make bad impressions or turn off top candidates. You can avoid these mistakes or oversights with some simple preplanning. Download our guide on ‘How to plan for an effective interview process in 20 minutes or less’. It could help you land that ideal candidate whose talent and experience will help you achieve all of your goals. Engaging a professional recruiter to help you iron out the rough spots and mediate a candidate’s impressions and experience is also a very effective strategy to increase your likelihood of attracting and securing top talent.