It's amazing how so many companies fall all over themselves to serve their paying clients but fall well short when it comes to serving less obvious customers like job applicants. Job applicants not only represent potential great hires, they may also be current or future customers. Companies can serve candidates well by following a few simple steps.
- Make a good first impression. Go to an office where people are warm, friendly, and having fun and you may want to work there. On the other hand, an unpleasant atmosphere and unpleasant people can make your organization a lot less desirable.
- Respect their time. I once went to an interview where the hiring manager made me wait for an hour before meeting with me. On top of that, she seemed put off when I explained I only had 30 minutes to meet rather than our agreed upon 60 since I had another appointment. Hiring managers may get busy with other things, but job candidates are often busy themselves and may even be sneaking in from another job.
- Sell your company. Yes, candidates should tell you why they are so great, but you should do the same. Your company is much more likely to attract great people if interviews feel like a courtship and not an interrogation.
- Follow up. OK, show of hands, how many of you have been promised a phone call at the end of an interview, only to never hear from the company again? Recruiters may not want to share unpleasant news or they simply don't have any news yet to give, but not following-up as promised makes your company look unfriendly and disorganized.
- Be honest, but be tactful. If you interview 10 people for 1 job opening, 9 people will probably end up disappointed. That doesn't mean they deserve to be ignored or treated rudely. Be honest and tell them they weren't selected, but also tell them how much you appreciate their interest. In some cases, you may even know of another opening in your company or someone else that may be a good fit.