Create a 5* candidate experience at interview and you’ll uncover if they are the right person for your business

The majority of articles you’ll find on the internet regarding interview tips are normally catered for a candidate, but what about the interviewer?

In this article, we’ll give you some guidelines that’ll help you to ensure you make your candidate comfortable enough to uncover if they are the right person for your business.

Between us, we have conducted thousands of interviews so we like to think we know a thing or two about how to conduct a good one.

Have a butchers, and if you find value in this you’ll love our latest recruitment podcast episode!


Be versatile in your interview approach

Interviews don’t always need to be conducted within a 9-5 timeframe, you know. We have worked with businesses who are open to offering the opportunity for a candidate to be interviewed outside of the traditional working hours.

This is something we have covered previously, but offering that flexibility to candidates can be really beneficial to them (and you).

Stringently sticking to your hours of work potentially sends a signal to the candidate that you may lack the flexibility they could need. Put yourself in the shoes of the candidate, work with them on a slot that works for both parties.

Don’t forget, in some domains, there will be a myriad of opportunities still open to a candidate. You don’t want to do anything that could possibly drive the right people away.


The importance of the ‘interview experience’

It’s unfortunately not uncommon to speak to a candidate who has decided against proceeding with an employer due to a negative experience. The most frustrating thing about this is that it is also not uncommon for the interviewer to have a completely different perspective than the candidate.

Quite often I’ll have candidates assume things didn’t go well because of the ‘vibe’ they got from the interviewer, but in reality, the interviewer liked the candidate and they now want to proceed.

Put it this way, dear reader, it’s all about ‘da feelz’. Candidates work off instinct. If you give them the impression that you’re not impressed, when really you are, you’re cutting your nose off to spite your pretty little face.

There is still this legacy perception that interviews should go one way and that it’s all incumbent on the candidate to prove themselves. This really shouldn’t be the case.
An interview, if done properly, should be a two-way street. You’re also selling yourself to the candidate. Are you presenting an image that shows that you’re the type of person a candidate would want to work for?


Don’t leave a candidate hanging

Interviewing is a bit like dating. If you like someone you probably shouldn’t leave them wondering about your intentions for too long. Yes, picking up the phone before a candidate has even got home might show a bit too eagerness, but if he or she is the right person for you, don’t prolong the time it takes to give them your answer.

Remember, this is still a candidate-led market. Although we are standing at the mouth of a very deep recession, a lot of companies are struggling to find staff. There is a good chance that there is another opportunity for them and they might even be pursuing it.

So be proactive, letting things sit for 24 hours is fine but if you have arrived at your decision you’ll want to get the ball moving and put your offer in.

Providing feedback, good or bad, is advantageous to a candidate. Don’t forget to do that whatever happens. You should be moving quickly to put a candidate out of their misery. No employer is too busy to let a person know if they have got the job (or not).


Location, location, location

Please give some thought to where and how you’re going to conduct an interview. As Adam alludes to in the show, it really is a terrible experience to be dragged around a new environment, potentially in front of future colleagues, as your interviewer goes from place to place looking for a quiet area for the chat.

Plan ahead. Don’t leave things to chance. If you work in an office, ensure you have the room booked in advance. If you can, find somewhere that is well lit and warm, but not too warm that you risk falling asleep.

Incidentally, I have a good example of this that I talked about in the show. I once failed to plan ahead with a previous employer and conducted an interview in what was akin to a very hot cellar.

It was terrible and looking back I genuinely feel sorry for the candidate. It was so humid and there was limited space and no windows. Nightmare.

Why did that happen? Well, I failed to plan. It was last minute and I paid for it. But so did the candidate and that wasn’t fair.

Now, many interviews are conducted remotely these days but the same rules still apply. Ensure you’re in a place that is well lit with very little background noise. And remind yourself that there is a good chance your candidate will arrive early, so don’t leave them sitting in the virtual lobby for any longer than they need. Arrive promptly and get going.


A taste of things to come?

Depending on what the position is and the nature of your business, trying to provide a snapshot of life in your company can be beneficial to both parties. After all, the last thing you want to do is employ someone only for them to realise that they’re not cut out for your environment and thus you find yourself starting the recruitment process all over again.

Where possible, let a candidate shadow someone who is already in the position. Let them see the good and the bad. By exposing a candidate to this, they’ll be better placed to know if the job is definitely something they want to do.

It doesn’t have to be a big time commitment from either the candidate or team. You can just ask that the candidate hangs around for 20 or 30 minutes longer than they would have without this opportunity. Both Steve and I highly recommend doing this, it can be worth its weight in gold.





As always, we go into a lot of detail on the latest edition of Nobody Likes Recruiters, a podcast that is dedicated to those who want to improve their recruitment process and make it less boring and cringe.

In summary, if you want to nail your interview with a candidate, be pragmatic with your approach to availability, plan ahead and try to showcase as much of the role you are recruiting for as possible.

But keep it simple and don’t hesitate for too long if you unearth the right person.