Crumpled Rejected Loan ApplicationI know all the reasons for not caring at all about candidate experience: You have too many applicants. They should want the job more. You are busy too. You have actual employees to deal with…

Got it, thank you and noted. Now, for those of you not busy making excuses, let’s talk about it for a second. There are some serious issues with your interview etiquette and I’d love to chat about it. Presumably, once a qualified applicant gets to the interview (phone, video, face-to-face) the company is at least a little interested in having this person come work at the organization. Pardon me for trotting out the tired old “recruiting is like dating” trope but in this case it’s true. Just like asking someone out on a date, asking someone for an interview is expressing interest beyond the resume. In others words, job candidates (the interview is right around when applicants turn into candidates) have a right to expect as good of an experience as you would offer your customers. Here are five no-no interview blunders:

1) You keep them on hold. We all have lives and everyone gets busy and chances are your interviewee won’t say anything but if you set a solid time for your interview, you should do your level best to be in that conference room, on the phone or settled with your webcam. It shows a tremendous lack of respect for the time of future employees to leave them fidgeting in the waiting room. Inversely, if you scheduled an hour for the interview, make sure that you wrap it up within that time, both for your schedule’s sanity and to show that you value both of your time.

2) You’re not focused. If you have a laptop set up in front of you to “take notes”, get rid of it. No matter how much you think you will be able to focus on the person in front of you, you will fail and they will notice. As a semi-recovered, quasi-competent multi-tasker, I wouldn’t lie to you. Ditto for looking at your phone or allowing yourself to be interrupted by non-emergency calls. If it’s not behavior you would tolerate from the job seeker, then don’t do it yourself.

3) You haven’t glanced at the resume since you called them. I can hear you all throwing up your arms in despair, frustrated that I don’t understand your busy, busy schedule. I don’t care. This is flat out rude and I would not tolerate it as a job seeker. Imagine this scenario: You walk into an unfamiliar office, dressed to the nines, nervous as all get out, wait in the waiting room with your newly purchased briefcase until your name is called and then you follow this person through a maze of cubicles to a poorly lit room, where they sit down with a grin and say, “So tell me about your work history.” Are you kidding me? It’s possible that at this point, they’ve filled out a paper application, gone through your online process, sent in a resume and a cover letter and have 1-23 copies in their attache case. If you haven’t, at any of those touch points in the process, looked over the resume, or insisted that the hiring manager do so, you are doing a disservice to the job seeker and your organization. When a candidate has to reiterate their experience over and over again, it’s both frustrating and wasteful.

4) You simply ignore them. Not every company has the staff to hire a five person welcoming committee at the door of the office, but you can make sure that the person you are interviewing knows that someone works there. Don’t force them to wander the building willy-nilly, stealing trade secrets and doughnuts while they wait. Even if you don’t have a dedicated receptionist, letting the person who sits nearest the door know that “Jon is coming in at 2:30. Can you buzz me when gets here?” is sufficient. Another sub-sin is when no one seems to know who they are or why they are there, despite having a lot of employees bustling about. While this may convey energy and non-stop excitement to the fresh out of college crowd, it just makes those of us older than 30 tired.

5) You are using them as unpaid consultants. This is my absolute pet peeve. Perhaps it’s because I vacillated between being a consultant and working for companies for about four years, but asking someone for a strategic plan, write-up or list of tactics on how to solve an actual existing company issue is rude. Go ahead and devise on-the-spot tests, but wait until that person is darn close to getting the job anyway before using them. Giving homework to first-round applicants seems amateurish, unless you are Google, Apple or Facebook.

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