Attracting top candidates can improve every aspect of your business, including the customer experience. Top candidates have a responsibility to come prepared and be professional, but hiring recruiters have a responsibility to leave a positive impression, too.
10 Things Top Candidates Don’t Want Hiring Recruiters to Say During an Interview
In a competitive hiring market, hiring recruiters need to do everything they can to positively impress talented, top candidates who can make their business better. When a top candidate is sitting in the chair across from a hiring recruiter, here are ten things they never, ever want to hear.
1. Sorry I’m Late!
When you look at your (prospective) boss, you expect them to lead by example. This doesn’t mean perfection is expected, but would you ever dare to be late as an interviewee? It’s not that you don’t understand everyone is busy, but being late to an interview is a sign that you don’t respect someone’s time. This could be a red flag to candidates, who might also infer that there could be problems in your organizational culture.
2. If You Were a Cartoon Character, Who Would You Be?
Believe it or not, there are hiring recruiters who ask questions like, “If you were a cartoon character, who would it be?” Creativity is one thing, but being asked an obscure, confusing, off-putting question like this is a miss, especially when you could be asking more important questions to find out whether the candidate would be a great fit for the company.
3. TMI (Too Much Information)
When a candidate shares personal information or talks badly about former colleagues or bosses it’s a red flag, so remember that if you do the same, it’s a red flag to candidates, too. Be personable in order to set the job candidate at ease and establish a personal connection without crossing the line. TMI in an interview could also be a sign that this type of sharing comes from the top down. Plus, how can you keep things professional in a career if lines are crossed before day one?
4. Tell Me About Yourself!
This open-ended question-statement leaves a lot up for grabs with little direction given. As a recruiter, show you did some research and ask questions to help you connect your candidate with your company’s story and mission.
5. I Was Looking at Your Social Media and…
GULP. Maybe the candidate forget to take down a picture from a crazy weekend in Vegas. Or Maybe they forgot about a 3-hour comment battle with friends over who should be the next president-elect. That said, it might not be a negative point you want to make, so don’t scare candidates by referencing social media without first noting the point (such as their college, degree, fraternity, sports, etc.) On the flip side, if you’re coaching a talented candidate for next steps in the interview process and there’s something problematic on their social networks, giving them a chance to delete photos or updates could be a good thing. Make sure your candidates know to plan ahead and be aware that prospective employers can see everything they’re putting on social media.
6. We Only Hire the Best.
When candidates hear this they might immediately go into battle mode, feeling that they have to prove they are the best or defend weaknesses in their work or education history. If candidates aren’t selected to move forward in the process, they also might believe that you don’t think they’re good enough, which might lead them to self-select out, eliminating the opportunity for future placements.
7. We Have Some Bad Employees Around Here.
Hearing this in an interview sets the tone for a negative start. Candidates may immediately wonder that, if hired, would people be talking behind their backs like this? It can send the message of a critical environment where workers aren’t praised and positively motivated, where – no matter how good their work is – it will never be good enough.
8. We Have a Lot of People Left to Interview.
This phrase shows that a recruiter may already be looking on to other candidates; it sounds like a cop-out. When hiring managers say this to candidates, it’s as if they’re ending a first date by saying there are a lot of fish in the sea! If you’re wrapping up an interview with a great candidate, don’t be coy. Tell them you do feel they could be a good fit and let them know what your general time line is (not how many people you’re bringing in).
9. How Bad Do You Want This Job?
Warning! Red Alert! This creepy (at-best) question is one an interviewer should never ask. Asking a question like this lets the candidate know they are going to be asked to compromise in some way or another, and implies that you hold all the power in the relationship. Remember, candidates can reject your company, too – maybe the real question to ask is how bad do you want top talent?
10. We’ll Be In Touch.
Effectively saying “don’t call us, we’ll call you” is another way interviews are commonly ended that can sound like you’re trying to duck out. Be prepared to tell candidates what you anticipate the hiring timeline will be, when they will hear from you, and give them a way to contact you or your office if their availability changes or they don’t hear from you on time. Remember that candidates are eager to know whether they are going to move forward in the process, and they also want to know if they should focus elsewhere.
Hiring recruiters have the same responsibility that top candidates have – to make a good first impression, so that talented candidates want to take the next step. If you’ve been relying on cliché phrases or gimmicky questions, this is a great time for you to refine your hiring process.
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