4 Communication Mistakes Companies Make When Interviewing

Just because a candidate isn't right for one position doesn't mean the company should erase him or her from its future talent pool.

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By Andre Lavoie


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It's common for job candidates to be anxious during the interview process. The pressure of having the perfect resume and giving the best answer to each question can get to even the most confident job seeker. But maybe employers should be getting nervous as well.

Related: 5 Top Mistakes Hiring Managers Make When Recruiting Software Developers

In 2015, LinkedIn surveyed more than 20,000 employees worldwide. When it came to the interview process, 83 percent said a negative experience could change their mind about working for a company.

If they want to attract top talent, then, employers and hiring managers need to pay special attention to how effective their communication skills are during the hiring process. Here are four mistakes to avoid while interviewing job candidates:

1. Creating incomplete job descriptions

For many job seekers, a job description is the first form of communication they receive from a company. If what's posted on a job board is vague, inaccurate or incomplete, talent may be less inclined to apply for the position.

In many cases, these job descriptions simply lack important information. In a 2014 Talent Board survey of 180 different organizations, only 57 percent of these companies included "day in the life" descriptions; 49 percent gave examples of available career paths; and just 33 percent provided profiles of what a successful candidate would look like.

When writing up a job description, provide answers to any questions job seekers might have. A list of general duties and responsibilities isn't enough. Create a complete picture of what the position and the company is like by describing the company culture, its current employees, the company's direction and the type of future a candidate may have with the company. Here at ClearCompany, we use the objectives that each role will be expected to accomplish to give each applicant a clear view of what the job entails.

The more information job seekers have, the more confident they'll be that the job and the company are a good fit for them.

2. Asking interview questions not specific to each candidate

Hiring managers and employers expect applicants to research their company and tailor their cover letters, resumes and questions accordingly. If Joe shows up to an interview without a good understanding of what the company does or how it works, chances are he's not going to get the job.

The same goes for job seekers' expectations of companies. Before interviewing a candidate, the hiring manager has the chance to read the candidate's resume, contact his or her professional references and check out any social media profiles. Asking job candidates general questions about their past experiences is a signal that the company hasn't taken the time to get to know them as individuals.

By customizing interview questions to each candidate, hiring managers can get a more in-depth idea of who each candidate is. This will also show an individual candidate that he or she is not just another faceless applicant.

Related: 8 Clumsy Mistakes to Avoid During the Hiring Process

3. Not providing ongoing communication

One of the worst communication errors a company can make is not giving job candidates ongoing information. It can take a while to reach a decision about whom to hire, but if a company doesn't keep in contact with candidates during the process, these people will assume they haven't been chosen and move on to another opportunity. They may be left feeling sour about the company, as well.

In a 2015 ManpowerGroup survey of more than 200 employees, 35 percent of respondents said they wanted more information and more frequent interactions from companies during the hiring process.

Remember that for job candidates the interview process is a sneak peek of how a company communicates with employees. By limiting interactions to impersonal or infrequent updates about how the process is progressing, top talent can get the impression that people are often left waiting for and wanting more information.

4. Assuming communication ends after the decision is made

If a candidate is not chosen for the position he or she applied for, many companies cut off further communication at that point. But just because a job seeker wasn't right for one opening doesn't meant he or she won't be the perfect choice for a future one.

Employers need to keep the lines of communication open, even if an interview doesn't result in a job offer. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is to provide feedback on why a candidate wasn't chosen.

In the aforementioned LinkedIn survey, job seekers were four times more likely to consider a company again, subsequently, if they received constructive feedback during their first interview experience.

Instead of forgetting about candidates who didn't work out for one position, employers need to consider them a new talent pool to turn to when different opportunities become available in the future.

By avoiding these communication mistakes and implementing more effective communication skills during the interview process, companies can make a better impression on top talent. These techniques will not only ensure that candidates are more inclined to accept a job offer, but also improve the company's reputation as an employer overall.

What other communication skills should companies develop in order to make interview processes better for candidates?

Related: 5 Top Mistakes Hiring Managers Make When Recruiting Software Developers

Andre Lavoie

Entrepreneur; CEO and Co-Founder, ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the talent-management solution that helps companies identify, hire and retain more A players. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook LinkedIn and Twitter.


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