Many employers assume that an interview is all about their choice: who will be the best, most qualified, and most competent candidate for the job? However, the truth is that interviewing should be treated as a two-way street: not only do employers need to gather the information they need to make an informed choice, but they also need to offer the kind of information that will result in the right employee taking the job, for the right reasons.
One Street: The Employer’s Informed Choice
Clearly, there are still important choices that an employer must make when getting to know one of their most promising candidates. Some of the important questions that an interview can answer include:
- Does this person demonstrate the corporate culture and attitude that makes our company successful?
- Can they speak knowledgeably and confidently about the work that made us like the resume?
- Do they hold up under questions about the most challenging and complex parts of the job they will be considering?
Expert manager and interviewer Alison Green gives tips about how much an employee must prepare for a job interview at New York Magazine’s The Cut; she mentions just how much a person should prepare for the interview. When you are getting to know a candidate, you want to see that they didn’t just show up, assuming they’d wow you. They should give off the impression that they are ready to jump in and that they know what they are getting into.
That being said, a job candidate isn’t necessarily a bad fit if they need more information about the job. In fact, you are really doing only half of your work if you only ask questions that help you evaluate the candidate. Helping your candidates make a smart choice about your company is the other side of the street, and it makes for better hires every time.
The Other Street: Your Future Employee’s Informed Choice
Most of your candidates have at least one or two small hang-ups based on the job description they saw. They will likely keep these things to themselves, but they are asking, mentally, about their futures at this company.
- Does your company reward success with promotions and greater responsibility?
- Does your company value transparency or does it occasionally sweep problems under the rug?
- Will the job be 90% one task and 10% the other, or some other unusually skewed structure?
- What levels of formality, self-advocacy, creative thought, collaboration, and hierarchy are typical in your business?
If someone leaves your job interview with a number of unanswered questions about your company, it doesn’t necessarily matter just how wonderful your job offer is; they may still leave it on the table. Even if the candidate doesn’t have a lot to ask, make sure that you prompt for them to ask what they need to know. A great question is, “What kinds of information would help you make your own decision in the job process?”
Psychology Today encourages companies to eliminate bias by having fairly consistent interviews, but one of their most important tips is about preparing candidates in advance. Don’t plan to put your employee on the spot unless everything about your job is on the spot; give them a chance to prepare and be ready to ask informed, thoughtful questions that help them complete the puzzle of your company.
If they aren’t right for you, they won’t get an offer either way, but this strategy of a two-way street will greatly increase your chances of a “yes” once you make the offer.