Employer Branding, Screening, Assessment, Interviewing

How to Lose a Job Candidate in Three Interviews

A colleague recently interviewed for a position with a company known as a leader in its industry. Her experience serves as a wake-up call for employers that overlook the connection between communication and culture, and offers a reminder to all about interview style.

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After a pleasant and successful first interview, this accomplished professional had another interview with the company.

Drilled and Grilled

Unlike the first interview, this interview seemed to be an endurance test. The interviewer barked questions at her as if they were orders, and the questions kept coming, in rapid-fire succession.

At one point, when she attempted to think before responding, saying, “That’s an interesting question,” the interviewer jumped all over her, didn’t give her time to answer, and moved on to the next question.

When she gave what she thought was an insightful answer to another question, the interviewer didn’t stop to consider her response and instead said, “That wasn’t the answer I was looking for.” But there was no time for clarification, let alone discussion. The interviewer had already moved on to the next question.

She said she felt like she was trying to beat the buzzer.

A third interview resulted in a conversation, if it could be called that, with a manager who had a similar interview style.

Upon Reflection

The highly qualified professional, who was previously excited about the prospect of working for the company, came away from the interview process feeling exhausted and disappointed.

“I don’t know if I want to work for this company, even if they offer me the job,” she said.

There was no exchange of ideas, no attention to mutual benefits, and very little interest in what new perspective she might bring to the position.

Indicative of the Job

Did the interview process give the candidate an accurate picture of what it would be like to work at the company? Or were two of the three interviewers simply unskilled at interviewing?

A company with culture issues sometimes has difficulty concealing shortcomings during the interview process. This is good news for the candidate looking to avoid a career misstep. For the company, however, it means open positions are likely to remain open longer.

If your company has trouble hiring job candidates, take a look at culture from the standpoint of communication. How do recruiters and hiring managers come across when speaking with candidates, coworkers, and others?

If all is well in this regard, it may be time to hold an interview workshop for recruiters and hiring managers.

Don’t underestimate the impact interviews have on your ability to hire. Not every candidate will take a chance and take the job after a bad interview experience.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.