Why an interview should sell your company to the candidate .. not just the other way round

We’ve all had bad interviews. Whether it’s because of tricky questions, an aggressive interviewer, or halfway through realising you’ve completely misunderstood the job, they can be tough experiences.

Perhaps, in some cases, deliberately so. After all, if a business is hiring for a new senior position, it wants to know the candidate is up to the job by testing their ability to handle scrutiny, field tricky questions, and manage difficult situations.


Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that an interview process is a reflection of the business itself. That’s not to say it shouldn’t be robust – rather, there are certain aspects of the experience that employers might want to finesse or adjust.

That is particularly in the current landscape, where the search for the best talent is particularly competitive. Employment is at record highs, while unemployment is historically low – companies are struggling, in some cases, to hire even for relatively junior vacancies.

At the more senior end of the spectrum, it can be difficult to attract the right person at the best of times. Senior people often have a range of job options in front of them and, if an interview process makes them feel alienated, there could well be another suitor waiting around the corner.

In some cases, that might require an employer to dispense with what’s often thought of as the standard recruitment format.

James Blyth, senior consultant at HRC Recruitment

For graduates up to middle management, the usual two-stage interview followed by a choice of candidate tends to work. Decisions can be made fairly quickly and the vacancy is filled satisfactorily.

However, for senior roles, this can start to fall apart. Getting a company’s leadership in one place at the same time to conduct the interview, discuss a candidate, consider whether they have seen enough people, or even come up with a decision, can be drawn out over weeks. Sometimes, it ends up being months.

In that time, candidates can disengage with the process and start to ask themselves questions. Does the protracted interview reflect the business’s efficiency? Is the management team particularly bothered about filling this position?

If it drags out too long and extra steps are introduced, people start to disengage. In fact, I have seen cases where companies have taken so long to decide that the candidate has turned down the offer.


Instead, businesses should look to create slicker and quicker interview processes that engage people and make them feel wanted. A key component of that should be providing feedback at every stage of recruitment and ensuring communication with candidates throughout.

While employers might feel like people should be queuing up to work at their company, the reality is that it’s seldom been a more competitive market for talent. If businesses want to attract the best candidates, it’s time to rethink how they interview.

James Blyth specialises in the food and drink sector at HRC Recruitment , which has offices in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow


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