Many job seekers stress out about the interview process, and rightfully so. But it's not just interview candidates who need to make a good first impression. Companies need to do a good job of giving prospective hires a positive interview experience so that when offers are extended, the right people opt in.
Thankfully, a number of companies seem to have a good handle on what makes for a pleasant interview process. Glassdoor just released its list of the best places to interview, and based on its findings, here are a few takeaways all companies should consider.
1. Make the interview process efficient
The interview process takes 23.8 days, on average, among U.S. companies, and while part of that boils down to logistics and scheduling constraints, it also means that candidates are often left hanging for days as businesses sort things out on their end. Of course, it takes time to find the ideal hire, and companies shouldn't rush through the process per se, but what they can do is strive to make it more efficient.
Of Glassdoor's top companies to interview at, the process took 21 days, on average, among the top five, which is almost three days below the national average. But what candidates appreciated just as much was the way interviews were scheduled, such as consolidating meetings into a shorter timespan rather than spreading them out.
2. Make interviews less structured, and more conversational
It's hard for candidates to let their personalities shine when they feel like they're being interrogated, or that their interviewers are simply working through a checklist and ticking items off one by one. Another takeaway from Glassdoor's study is that companies whose interviews were more laid-back and conversational tended to not only put candidates at ease, but impress them the most.
3. Set clear expectations for prospective hires
The point of an interview isn't just to see whether a certain candidate is right for the job; it's to also help that candidate understand what he or she is actually signing up for. While many businesses fail in this regard, and see employees jump ship early on as a result, Glassdoor's top companies did a good job of letting prospective hires know what was expected of them, and the sort of workers they were looking for.
4. Be transparent
Though sites like Glassdoor offer job seekers a chance to read company reviews and get a sense of the businesses they might someday work for, it's up to companies to give interviewees that same information. One thing that several companies featured in the recent study did right was do a stellar job of conveying what it's like to work in their respective environments. Finding a company culture that aligns with one's outlook and personality is a critical part of building a successful employee-employer relationship, so it pays to be open about the nitty gritty.
5. Follow up thoroughly
From a job candidate's perspective, there's nothing worse than the feeling of doing extensive company research and attending a series of interviews, only to have that company fail to follow up for days on end. This puts prospective hires in a funny position too, as many might hesitate to reach out for fear of seeming desperate. Following up quickly and appropriately after interviews sends the message that candidates are valued, and that companies appreciate them taking the time to come in. And that's a strong message to send.
Nailing the interview process isn't just something for job candidates to concern themselves with. Companies, too, should make a point of perfecting that process to give job seekers the best possible experience. It's the sort of goodwill that really can go a long way.