Job candidates usually get the short end of the stick when it comes to interview complaints.  There are career blogs, educational seminars, and social chats all dedicated to addressing their inefficiencies and fatal blunders of the interview process.

But applicants aren’t always to blame for a not-so-great interview experience.  Recruiters and hiring managers can be their own worst enemies in the recruitment process, often without even realizing it.  Do you know if your interview process is turning candidates off?

The number one complaint heard from job seekers day-in and day-out is in regards to lack of follow-up in the interview process.  While most candidates don’t like it, they can excuse not hearing back after they’ve submitted a resume.

But when an applicant has been contacted directly by a recruiter or the company, and especially if they’ve been invited to interview, either in phone or in person, they want to know where they stand, after the fact.  They have decisions to make and they’re trying to see if your company fits into their plans.

Companies can chalk up their follow-up misses to things like lack of time or a disorganized process, but what they don’t often realize is that poor follow-up can be costing them business and hurting their brand.

How so, you ask?  When you have a poor experience with a business, whether you’re shopping or dining or having your car serviced, what’s the first thing you tend to do?  Most people vent their frustrations to someone they know.  Bad reviews can go viral, even just by word of mouth.

When a candidate has a poor experience with your organization, it can stop other top candidates from applying for positions with your company.  It can also lead people to stop doing business with you, buying your products, or referring business and talent.

Sometimes companies forget that job seekers are often their customers or potential customers, and they should be treated with similar respect that you would give your clients.  Don’t burn bridges unnecessarily.

Sure, not every candidate will react well to a call or email stating they didn’t get the job, but the number of individuals giving you bad reviews will be far less than if you never made any attempts at all.

And if your problem is you just don’t have the stomach for turning applicants down, check out a previous piece, Interviewing Rejection: The Art of the Turn-Down, for tips on how to address each scenario of the interview process.

Another common complaint involves interviewers fielding multiple calls for extended lengths of time during the interview, which can leave applicants feeling taken for granted and devalued.

Here’s a tip: if you’re having the interview in your office, turn you phone ringer on mute.  If you can, try to schedule the interview in a conference room where you can be away from distractions and provide your full attention.

And just like interviewers, job seekers don’t like to have their time wasted.  This comes in many forms including: not having a clearly defined job description or salary range for the position they’re hiring for, not pre-screening or vetting their resumes and experience before asking a candidate for a face to face interview, and interviewing a candidate for a job other than what they applied for.

All of these scenarios have a high percentage of a candidate showing up to a mountain of disappointment, resentment, and anger when they’re finally told that the position you asked them to interview for pays significantly less than what they’re currently making,  that they don’t have enough experience for the role, or they’re not the right fit for the position (that they didn’t know they were interviewing for.)

A job seeker’s time is valuable to them, and they have basic expectations that if you are asking them to interview you have actually looked at their resume, background, and experience and think they might be a good fit.  They want to be treated like a human being, not a number or name on a list to fill a spot or make another candidate look good.

And companies beware, if you are using one of these 3rd party agencies that churn through both their candidate pools and their recruiters rapidly and the talent they refer seem to liken to spaghetti being thrown against the wall–these recruiters/companies are representing your organization throughout the recruitment process–and the reviews aren’t good.

I could continue to go on and on, but the objective here is not to complain, but to showcase things many already know but aren’t realizing or putting into action to improve the candidate (and ultimately the company) experience during the interview process.

One, the little things do matter and do effect your bottom line, and hiring the right employees is a hugely important decision for a company.

If you’re too busy to hold a respectful interview process, you should probably hold off on hiring, because you’re not going to get the quality of hire you desire.

If recruiters, whether internal or external, are hurting your brand, you probably need to address it, adjust your recruitment strategy, or find a new vendor.

And if you don’t know what you’re looking for in a new employee, take the time to assess it first, because you might think you’ll know it when you see it, but you’ll waste a lot of time and energy, as well as the candidates, in the process.

Don’t think that just because the examples above don’t apply to you that there aren’t flaws in your own interview process that leave candidates with a bad taste in their mouth.  The key is to be honest, identify your problem areas, and address them before the flaws becomes the focal point of the interview process.

Have a bad candidate experience of your own to share?  Please feel free to comment below.