Don’t Lose the Perfect Candidate Because of a Poor Interview Experience

Written on .

We reached out again to our community to find out about their interview experiences, and what recommendations they would give to employers in the future when conducting interview processes.

With so much focus on building employer brands and attracting the best candidates, employers also need to focus on how to create a great interview experience. The interview is often the first chance you get to speak directly to candidates, so it’s an important opportunity to give potential employees an impression of what it’s like to work with you. Don’t lose a fantastic candidate to a poor interview experience.

What was your best interview experience?

We asked our contacts to describe their best interview experience, and what made it so positive.

“The interview process was well communicated from the start. It was well organised and I was informed throughout the process.”

A lot of the time, candidates just want more information. They’ve gone through a relatively nerve-wracking experience; probably booked time off from work, told their family they are going for an interview and travelled to meet you – the least you can do is keep them informed and let them know promptly what the outcome is. We often hear of employers waiting weeks to deliver feedback to their chosen candidates – if you think they were good and worthy of a role, then it’s likely other employers did too so don’t wait around!

“The interviewer had taken the time to review my background and asked pertinent questions regarding this and linked their questions to the position I was interested in.”

We’ve said this before, but an interview is a two-way process – it’s also your chance to impress a candidate. Just as you expect the candidate to research your company, it’s also important to review your candidate’s CV and check out their LinkedIn to show you are interested and value their time.

“The client set a very relaxed atmosphere from the start and it was done fairly informally. Having a more conversational approach really put me at ease but also meant both of us got more from the interview as it was more open and honest. At the back-end of the interview I was also introduced to a couple of other people and shown around the office. This, for me, gave me a really good impression of the business and what it was actually like to work for them.”

The interview is the perfect time to get your prospective candidate better acquainted with you as a business, and who knows what insights you’ll gain from introducing them to staff on a walk around the office? It also helps your candidate to visualise working for you – and to check if this is really the environment and atmosphere they are looking for. After all, there’s no point a new employee starting with you only to find out that they can’t bear the noise and liveliness of your office.

“The interview was relatively casual, that put me at ease instantly.”

We had a couple of commenters echoing this same thought, but it all depends on your interview process and what you’re looking to gain from candidates during the interview. For some roles, a casual conversation might not be appropriate, but many of the interviewees we spoke to valued a casual interview for reducing their nerves. Maybe that means incorporating a quick chat over coffee for interviewees before they go in for group assessments?

What has impressed you about an employer during an interview?

So, what did our contributors have to say about what impressed them about their potential employers at interview stage?

  1. Professionalism and communication.
  2. Honesty about the good and bad regarding the company and the role.
  3. Hearing about their past experiences and what they’ve seen and done in their time at the business.
  4. Knowing the answers to my questions.
  5. Their people and culture.

One commenter went into detail about how his employer left a positive lasting impression for him at interview stage:

“I had one interview where I was greeted politely and the client started the interview with more informal (personal) conversation rather than jumping straight in. They had done their research on me through LinkedIn and already knew my CV and what they wanted to ask. The friendly and welcoming nature, along with thorough preparation, gave me a good impression of the business.”

How long do you prepare before you go into an interview? Do you do thorough research of your candidate prior to the interview? Do you have tailored questions specific to the candidate and their past experience?

Clearly, from the comments we received in our survey, the experience during interview stage has a big impression on the chances of a candidate accepting your offer. In a competitive candidate market, here are a few pointers to think about for your next round of hiring:

  • What is your organisation’s desired interview experience for candidates? Is it formal or informal? Is it one-to-one or individual? Is it friendly with the interviewee meeting lots of staff during their visit? Define a ‘desired interview experience’ for your organisation to work towards.
  • Think about how your interviewees experience each stage of the interview process, and ask yourself if this aligns with your ‘desired interview experience’. Review:
    • The process for arranging the interview
    • Who will conduct the first interview and their approach
    • Research prior to the interview about the candidate
    • The candidate experience, from walking in the door, to waiting in reception, through to the actual interview
    • How promptly do you aim to follow up with candidates after the interview?

If you need support defining your interview experience then contact us today at:

Or, if you’re going for an interview yourself and want a bit of extra support getting ready for your interview, then download a free copy of our Interview Guide:



Other News

  • The Worst Interview Experience I’ve Ever Had

    A few weeks ago, we reached out to our contact base to ask a few questions around advice they’d received…

Keep up to date with @YourPrimeRecruitment