5 key ways to impress candidates at interview

Many of the candidates we speak to, particularly in software development, will receive a lot of calls from agencies like us – their skills are highly desirable and to some extent they can take their pick when it comes to deciding who they want to work for.  That means, more than ever, that the interview needs to be a two-way process.  Of course they should impress you – if they don’t, it’s a no-brainer.  But when you interview a standout candidate, you need to bear in mind that there’s a good chance they are also interviewing with your competitors.  If you are missing out on the top talent time and again, it might be worth asking, what are you doing to impress them?  Or rather, what could your competitors be doing that you are not?

Give them a whistle-stop tour.

Giving the candidate a quick tour of the offices is a good way to break the ice and help them to feel more relaxed – also if your offices have nice modern facilities or perks like a canteen, it can be a good way of impressing the candidate.  Show them where they would be sitting if they get the job – in the candidate’s mind they will start to picture themselves working in the role and may be more receptive to an offer.

Introduce them to the team.

Interviews can be quite nerve-racking* and some of our clients like to provide a bit of respite by allowing the candidate to meet the team they would be working with, or even sit down with one or two of them and see what projects they are working on.  It’s good to see the candidate in a more relaxed setting and also to find out what the people they will be spending the most time with thought of them – an informal setting can provide very different insights to those of a decision maker conducting a formal interview.

Find out what they would change about their current role.

In a professional setting, candidates won’t want to badmouth their current employer so it can be hard to find out what their motivation is for moving on, but if you know what it is, you can really sell the role to the candidate provided it genuinely offers them a better prospect.  Ask them what they would change about their current role if they could.  Does that sound like something your company could provide?  Well that’s a good starting point for convincing them to come and work for you.

Tell them what you like about working there.

If you consider your office to be a fun place to work, tell the candidate about it.  Hopefully they will get to absorb a bit of banter when they sit down with your team, but make sure they go away from the meeting thinking that they will actually enjoy working for you.  If your competitors seemed stuffy and formal in comparison, then portraying your workplace as friendly and fun might just be enough to influence them in the right way.  After all, the company culture is one you’ve contributed towards – so why not be proud of it?  We spend 40 hours a week in the office, so don’t underestimate the value jobseekers will place on a fun working environment.

You like them during the interview?  Make them an offer.

These top candidates don’t stay on the market very long – don’t be let down by a slow recruitment process or you will lose them to your competitors.  Making an offer quickly demonstrates that you really want them on board, and with any luck it will deter them from attending other interviews.


* nerve-racking or nerve-wracking?  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-34626663