Poor interviewers driving away talent

Aug 09 2007 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Many organizations are fatally undermining their recruitment and retention efforts because inept or downright rude interviewers are making a negative first impression with job seekers.

Two-thirds of job seekers report that the behavior of interviewers influences their decision to accept a position, according to a study released by consulting firm Development Dimensions International (DDI) and Monster.com.

Based on a survey of almost 6,000 staffing directors, hiring managers and job seekers, the study reveals that despite the fact that companies are increasingly desperate for talent, many are becoming their own worst obstacles when interviewing qualified candidates.

"An interview can quickly escalate from being a 'meeting of the minds' to a 'clash of personalities' if both parties are not prepared and respectful of one another," said DDI's Scott Erker.

"Interviewers sit inches from the candidate, but there's a wide gap between what they think candidates are looking for and what would actually motivate interviewees to become employees."

Among the sort of behaviors that adversely affect job seekers' willingness to work at a company are interviewers who are aloof and act as if they have no time to talk, withholding information about a position, turning interview into cross-examination, interviewers showing up late or appearing unprepared and asking questions unrelated to job skills.

"The interview is not only a crucial assessment touch point in the recruiting process - it's an important marketing and branding opportunity," said Monster's Neal Bruce.

"Amid today's war for talent, successful interviewers will quickly determine the marketing messages that resonate with each individual candidate and reinforce those messages."

To make matters worse, hiring managers too often struggle to identify what job seekers want in a new job and misunderstand the elements that are most important to potential employees.

For example, while two-thirds of job seekers say that working in a compatible team is a significant factor in their job hunt, only around a third of hiring managers attach the same importance to this.

Similarly, three-quarters of job seekers view having a good line manager and working for an organization they can be proud as among the most important things they look for in a new job Ė but both factors are underrated by employers.

Another gap exists between employees and employers in assessing whether job seekers misrepresent themselves when interviewing for a position. Although almost six out of 10 hiring managers say job seekers misrepresent their experience on a resume or during the interview, only five percent of potential employees admit to doing so.

Lest employers think that mishandling the interview process doesn't matter, the study also highlights just how cavalier today's job seekers are about staying with an organization.

Not only did half of those surveyed say that they have had between two and three jobs over the last five years, but almost a third have been in their current job for less than six months but are already in the market for a new one.

"Employers often don't know what motivates their employees to accept jobs or what drives them to look for a new one and leave," Scott Erker said. "The war for talent hinges on employers closing the gap between their perceptions and employee realities."