The Worst Mistake You Make Interviewing Candidates
July 13, 2015

The Worst Mistake You Make Interviewing Candidates

by Brian de Haaff

Looking for a new job can really hurt. It takes a lot of energy and effort to put yourself out there and present yourself as a candidate. The process can be a roller-coaster of exhaustion, elation, and rejection.

Looking for a good job is stressful. Hiring managers sometimes make it even worse without even realizing it.

A candidate leaving a solid interview with a hiring manager believes she has a fairly good shot. Hopes are high that an offer is a good possibility and might be coming soon. She begins to wonder if her long search for a new job is over.

Then, silence.

Hours and days go by and the phone does not ring — there are no emails or messages on LinkedIn either. She reaches out on her own to get closure on the matter, although she has that familiar sinking feeling that she probably did not get the job.

Rejection, again. But worse, rejection without a reason. Job seekers say this is one of their top gripes. And it ends up hurting the company more than the qualified job seeker over time.

The worst mistake you can make when interviewing candidates is not following up.

As the employer, you think that job seekers should just get used to how the game is played. They should have thicker skins when it comes to job rejections, right?

Wrong. This is what happens when you fail to follow up after an interview. You:

Show a lack of respect The candidate might not have been just right for the position, but by failing to contact her about her status, you disregard her feelings and the time she spent preparing for the interview. Even a quick note or a phone call is better than nothing. Just notify candidates so they can move on with their search and still respect you and your company.

Make the company look bad At Aha! (which is product roadmap software) we apply The Responsive Method to customers and team members (both current and ones we are interviewing). That means it is important for us to respond to requests with a sense of urgency. If you are too busy or disorganized to notify the people you have interviewed, that does not say much for your business. Do not treat candidates poorly. If you do, be certain that they will tell others about it.

Lose out on relationships When you treat people poorly, you have probably lost them forever. You never know that while the person might not be right for a role today, she might be perfect for another role as your business grows. If you do not follow up after an interview, you can count that person out for future positions at your company. They (and likely their friends too) will never be interested again, even if you are.

When you decide whether or not to follow up with a candidate, think of how you would want to be treated if you were looking for a new position. And just because you may have disappointing news to share, do it anyway with integrity.

It is difficult enough for people to find a new job. Do not be another company that is part of that problem. Quickly respond to every candidate who has made it into your interview process, even with just a short thank you email.

How do you respond to job candidates after an interview?

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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