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Posted on February 21, 2013

The art and science of interviewing

My husband is in the midst of a job search. After launching a successful mobile/social start-up, and then spending some time with the company that acquired it, he’s ready for a change. As someone with a true entrepreneurial spirit, he’s honing in on small but promising start-ups in New York City, and one thing has really struck me about his job search. These start-ups seem to understand something that a lot of bigger, more established companies don’t – that the interview experience really matters. The half dozen or so companies my husband has interviewed with have consistently offered an honest, transparent view of the company. They’ve invited him to meet with several leaders in the company, from the CEO to the head of software – to understand the company’s philosophy and vision for the future, as well as to test chemistry with the colleagues he’d be working with most closely.

Perhaps it’s because three out of four new hires fail, and smaller companies can’t afford to make hiring mistakes. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that these companies are on to something, and we can all learn from them. After all, Brilliant Ink’s own Employee Experience Survey found that while 89% of employees said the interview process made them excited about working for their company, 23% felt misled by it, and those who did are more likely to be disengaged.

So, a meaningful and effective interview process can have huge implications for companies – it not only helps to ensure you’re finding the right kind of people, but it’s also a driving factor in ensuring long-term employee engagement. Some things to consider:

  • Is your interview process giving employees a real sense of the company’s culture and work environment? If you’re an organization that works hard and plays hard, make sure that comes through. At the same time, if the company’s culture is more traditional and buttoned-up, be up-front about that as well.
  • Have you chosen the best interviewer to represent your organization? Sometimes the first line of sight into a company is someone on the HR/recruiting team. If that’s the case, make sure the interviewer is well-equipped to share details on who the candidate would be working with (both managers and partners), the various aspects of their day-to-day responsibilities, and how their performance will be measured and rewarded.
  • It sounds simple enough, but worth a reminder – be nice! A friendly and approachable attitude can help ease candidates’ nerves and foster a more open dialogue. What’s more, a positive interview experience shapes their overall impression of the company, which not only affects their level of engagement if they’re hired, but can also influence what they tell friends and family about the company.

Does your company have a particularly good (or bad) interview process in place? Tell us about it in the Comments below.

Brilliant Ink