Interviewing a candidate, especially top talent in an industry should be simple. A simple rule of thumb would be to consider all candidates coming to interview with your business as a potential future customer or client, and you will always ensure your candidate receives the best experience possible.

Every candidate who engages with your brand is a future brand ambassador and their experience with you could dictate how they interact with your business in the future or promote your business externally. Ensuring that you have a clear plan is important.

1. Expectations – Ensure you know the role before you interview – write out clearly what the candidate needs to demonstrate to be successful in the interview process, and even better, ensure this is communicated in the job description or through the consultant managing the search.

2. Schedule in advance – Plan the interview process and keep the interview process short (two weeks maximum would be ideal). Understand who will be involved in the process from the beginning and schedule in availability in the diaries.

3. Shortlist only 4 to 5 candidates from the start. Any more and your process will stretch out, increasing the potential of losing good candidates.

4. Preparation – Give candidates time to prepare. Invitations for interviews should be a minimum of 3 days notice. Don’t try to call candidates without booking a time in advance, as this will potentially put a candidate off your brand.

5. Process – If the process is delayed, relay this immediately and give a clear idea of the new timeframes.

6. Communication is key – Try to ensure candidates are kept updated weekly on the progress or clearly outline the next step and timeframe for next stage with the candidate in each conversation.

7. Offer interview times outside of work hours and even weekends; try to be flexible. You will gain better commitment from a candidate the more flexible you are.

8. Always remember that an interview is as much about a candidate interview the business as it is about the business interviewing the candidate.

9. Make a decision quickly after the interview and make a formal offer over the phone or through a consultant. Follow this immediately with a written offer outlining all the terms and follow that up with a full contract BEFORE a candidate commences with your business.

10. Offers – Avoid ‘under offering’ as this can be viewed as an insult. Financial expectations should be managed prior to or during the interview process, not afterwards.

11. Negotiation – Every negotiation is a positive sign as it indicates interest in the role. Treat negotiations like you would a client or customer negotiation. Fair outcomes for both parties where both parties are happy. If you are unable to increase the offer, phone the candidate directly and explain why. Avoid negotiation via email as it becomes impersonal.

12. Rejection – This should be treated with the utmost respect and tangible feedback is encouraged. Allow a candidate to be rejected with dignity and use any advice given to assist in future interviews.

For more information and guidance on interviewing top talent, speak with a Chad Harrison International consultant who can guide you through the process.