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Interview Etiquette— Prospecting Employers Must Mind Their Manners Too

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. So goes the saying to candidates about their applications. Job applicants are jam-packed with all manners of tips and tactics for that big day. But just because the market is flooded with job seekers does that mean employers should not show any manners too? So what are employers expected to do in preparation for the interview, in person or virtual?

With the labor market growing more competitive, and a global skills shortage looming ahead, candidate experience is, and will continue to be, a key battleground for top talent. For the past decade, social media and employer review sites have granted the workforce unprecedented influence in shaping employment brands, with the ability to change brand sentiment in real-time. As the labor market tightened, employer reputation became more critical to recruiting and retaining the best employees, and naturally the Candidate
Experience companies delivered had come under more scrutiny from discerning applicants. However, when the topic of Candidate Experience is raised today, the focus usually falls on improving the experience for the few individuals who advance farthest in the interview stage. We suspected that the real employer brand risk, and opportunity, lay in the often overlooked, but the vocal, majority — the candidates you didn’t hire.-Career Arc

Funny Millennial Interview

In a world of interconnectivity and social media, you can’t afford to show your candidates a poor experience. The principle here is simple, “Do unto your brother what you would have them do to you.”

Think about the common guidelines for candidates and turn them around to apply to the employer.

Remember, talent picks you. Not the other way round

a. Look professional and you will be taken seriously — but that is a topic for a different article. Employers have the option to dress how they wish but an air of professionalism is de riguer.

b. As the interviewer you expect the candidate to turn off their cell phone and put away their PDA. To look you in the eye, smile, and put forth the best possible self. You, the potential employer, are in charge of the meeting, set an example and put away your tech devices, make eye contact, tell the unvarnished truth, and end the interview with a firm handshake while letting the candidate know what the next steps are.

c. Robin Abrahams, author of the recently published and fun to read ‘Miss Conduct’s Mind Over Manners’, hears from both sides of the fence. “The number-one complaint I get from job seekers is that they submit their resumes, even make it to the interview — perhaps more than one — and then never hear another word “This is rude. Let people know if they’re no longer being considered,” says Abrahams.

d. Employers expect interviewees to come prepared. Bring a resume even though one was tendered in order to schedule the interview. Show up on time. Research the company before you set foot in the door. Come with examples of your work if this is relevant. What is expected but rarely given in return? Common courtesy! Review the candidates’ resume before they arrive. Be ready for the interview, how you act during this process portends your daily behavior. Focus on the candidate and the process at hand. Your job at this moment is interviewing not multi-tasking.

e. Be prepared with a detailed job description. Describe a typical day and be truthful about the start and end times. “Don’t get too wrapped up in happy talk or selling the company. Be honest! Research shows that “realistic job previews” — business jargon for telling people straight up what they’re getting into — makes for much better choices on the part of hirers and potential employees,” says Abrahams.

f. Have a solid set of questions to ask the candidate that delves into useful skills and lead to conversation. Conversation puts you both at ease, creating a positive environment for the interview. Ask how they handled a conflict with their boss in the past. Ask for an example of leadership on the job. Avoid pat questions about bad and good traits. We all know how to answer this by now.

g. Interviews do not need to be boring or laborious. Use them as an opportunity to find out about your competitors or new business practices. As employers, we are caught up in day-to-day business operations that we forget to keep up with new ways to do what we do. Job applicants are a great resource if you listen closely and ask good questions.

h. It is respectful to give candidates an estimate and explanation of how long you expect to take in making your decision, whether any second or third interviews will be scheduled and how you will notify candidates. It has become increasingly common, for some reason, for employers to make a job offer to one candidate and neglect to contact any of the other candidates following the process.

In my mind, this is extremely rude and reflects poorly on the company. Each person who interviews should either receive an email, telephone call or letter telling them that the position has been filled and thanking them for making application. Even a form letter is better than nothing. If possible write a personal note of thanks on the letter from someone who participated in the interview. These acknowledgements should be sent out as soon as the position has been filled or an offer has been accepted. Think of this as not only respectful, but as good public relations for your company or business.

Career Arc

Candidates who are NOT informed about their application are 3.5 times less likely to re-apply to that company. Among the Candidates who have had a poor experience, 72% have shared that negative experience online or with someone directly.

i. If for some reason the hiring process has taken longer than expected, or there has been a change in plans, let the candidates know. A simple postcard or email stating that there has been a delay and that you hope to fill the position by a certain amended date is quite professional. What you would like to avoid is candidates calling the company and asking where you are in the process — poor handling of hiring procedures will establish a reputation that will affect your company’s ability to attract good candidates for open positions.

Candidates are members of our communities, consumers, and even potential customers. In addition, they have taken time out of their day to consider employment with your company and deserve the respect of your attention and professionalism.

The next time you schedule an interview — roll out the red carpet and put your company’s best face forward!

Still looking for more? Check out Part 2 -




Jobonics is a blog centred on all things HR, Recruiting and HR Tech.

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Stella Ngugi

Stella Ngugi

HR Generalist| Founder @JobonicsHR | Where HR, Tech& Entrepreneurship meet| Eat. Pray. Code. Blog. Hire | 🇰🇪 IVisit for more info.

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