Even as the economy crumbles and more companies lay off their workers, it is more critical than ever to sharpen the interview process in your company. Candidates today are more cautious, and less likely to leave the companies they are with. The ones actively looking are talking with a number of companies and have screening experiences to compare.

I recently went in for an interview with a staffing organization about a month ago. They came across my information and asked me if I was interested in meeting with them. I had heard some industry rumblings from former colleagues in the past that they were a body shop etc. They seem to always be looking for Recruiters, which should have been red flag number one. You generally have to consider the source, and since none of my colleagues actually had any experience working there, all the negative press could have been hearsay and rumor. I proceeded with caution and scheduled the interview. Here is a breakdown of my experience.

1. Directions-They never sent directions, just an address. Not a huge deal, with Mapquest and Google maps this was an easy work around. I used my GPS.

2. Address-What the directions didn't tell me, and what they could of easily told me was that their address and where they were actually located were different. In addition the entrance to the building was a little funky. I was almost late figuring out how to get into the building.

3. Reception-The lobby felt like Grand Central Station, I told the receptionist the person I was there to meet. She hands me a clipboard and barks at me to fill out a mountain of paperwork. In the meantime I hear a Recruiter discussing a candidates salary within earshot.

3. Tardiness-My interviewer was late, and then spends 10 minutes finding a conference room to place me in.

4. Location-He puts me in a tiny room that is nothing short of a police interrogation chamber, and asks me if I want water. When I replied "yes that would be fine" he then leaves me sitting there alone for about fifteen minutes.

5. Manner-He returns with a jacket on, and no water. From that moment he proceeds to grill me. I felt like I was just patted down. No information was given on the company, or what he was looking for. He acted like he had somewhere else to be.

6. Parking-This was the only place I interviewed that did not offer to validate parking. No heads up was given prior to the interview about paid parking.

7. Follow up-No follow up call or email after the interview. I was a just a number.

I left there taking my paperwork with me and trashed it. I did not want them to have my information. When you bring someone in to interview, you are an ambassador of your company. As a recruiter you are the first line of quality assurance for your organization. As an interviewer you have an opportunity to brand your company. It is practically free advertising to a captive audience. Why not make this a great moment for the candidate so they leave with an uplifting feeling? They in turn will be more inclined to spread the word to their colleagues. Good press is hard to come by, but it comes easier if you strive to do the right thing every time.

If candidates are comfortable in the interview process they are more likely to reveal things about themselves than they would in a tense situation. In closing whether you hire that person or not, they will leave with a solid impression of your company. This makes asking for referrals from them a whole lot easier.

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Comment by Sally Raade on November 21, 2008 at 11:26pm
Great blog!

It's amazing that things have not change. I went through the same process but I was doing it for market research since I was planning to start my own business. I knew that I would succeed..there was no customer service at all.

I alway treated my candidates with respect. I know that in the long run, perhaps these candidates will be my clients.
Comment by Dan Nuroo on November 23, 2008 at 8:00am
It continually surprises me, (or saddens?) that so many companies have the ego to treat people with such disrespect. Interviews are a 2 way street. The candidate has to impress the interviewer and the interviewer (and thus company) need to impress the candidate. The notion of some companies that the person should be grateful to have an interview, in these economic times, I thought went out with the tech wreck. Well it should have. The workforce is shrinking, the babyboomers will be leaving the industries (market prevailing) your employer brand will continue to be of utmost importance.

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