Just last week I had dinner with a close friend that expressed frustration about his professional life. Specifically, he is at a point in his career where he is ready for a transition and he is going through the daunting interview process. I’d be lying if I didn’t go into this dinner fully expecting to receive an update, aka a dinner-long vent session. Just a few weeks prior I critiqued his resume and conducted a mock interview to help him prepare, so I knew this conversation was coming.
You can say I ripped the band aid off as I dove in with, “tell me some good news!”
However…his face said it all before responding, “what am I doing wrong?”
Immediately, I stepped in with comforting words of encouragement. I knew he began his “interview tour” almost 8 weeks ago with one role going to FIVE interview rounds and several other opportunities just getting off the ground with initial phone screens.
“I’m guessing you didn’t get an offer for that job. Did you at least receive any feedback?”
We continued this conversation, and both had an understanding 1.) it was good practice to prepare him for his upcoming interviews, but (more importantly) 2.) the right role for him and right team were still ahead. When it made the most sense, it would fit together like a puzzle. It will feel right!
Although, I believe he has great opportunities ahead, I couldn’t help but continue to think how he poured himself into five rounds of interviews and never received any feedback. Certainly, the hiring team had some feedback between these rounds of interviews that could have allowed him to demonstrate whether or not he checked off their boxes. To be fair, direct feedback would have also allowed him to figure out if this job did match up with his skillset and future career aspirations.
We finished are Tex-Mex and cheered to some final words of encouragement as I reminded him, “diamonds are made under pressure – and, you, hunny, were meant to shine! KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!”
From a recruiter and hiring seat, how can we positively impact (and improve) the interview process so candidates better prepare for interviews?
We can start with agreeing that the interview process should continuously evolve.
What’s not working? FIX IT.
What has another group had success with? SHARE IT.
What are we doing to better prepare our candidates, so we are evaluating the best of the best SKILLSETS (not people)?
Creating an interview process that allows hiring teams to compare skillsets, and not people, means we understand not everyone will interview under pressure the same. Interviews can be considered uneasy and difficult, but how can we ensure candidates are all bringing their “A game” that day?
Let’s start with feedback! A solid framework that can help with this process is the Radical Candor Framework ---> check it out https://www.radicalcandor.com/our-approach/.
CHALLENGE to Employers:
When advancing candidates beyond the first phone screen/ interview, provide some on-the-spot feedback about specific hesitations accompanied with positive highlights. These highlights can be based off their verbal responses or points in their resume that made them stand out. There should be a clear take away and call to action that you’d like each candidate to discuss in the next interview. THIS IS NOT CHEATING!
You want to bring out the best of the best, right? So, start by being more honest! You will know when your feedback embodies this Radical Candor Framework because it will be both empathetic and direct. Radical Candor is guidance that’s kind and clear, specific and sincere.
CHALLENGE to Candidates:
You own the interview process just as much as the hiring team. As you are on your interview journey, you should feel inclined to request feedback and share some openly with the hiring manager and recruiter.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind!
When invited for a second round (and beyond), ask for Feedback! Specifically, 2-3 points of interest or role expectations you can elaborate (and clarify) during the next round.
Have a top 5 points of impact, in short and concise STAR format, prepared for the interview. Make sure these examples are current and can be supported by quantitative and/ or qualitative data.
At this point in the process, have you noticed any red flags? Bring them up! Feel comfortable sharing your feedback with the recruiter and/ or hiring manager about your expectations and your career aspirations. If you noticed they don’t align, save everyone time, and withdraw your application. You own this process as well – feel empowered!