Recently, I had a chat with my friend Cindy, who has been working for two years and is currently seeking a career move. She shared with me one of her candidate experiences with a company that she had recently attended an interview for:
Cindy got an interview invitation with the company she has been dreaming about. She spent a lot of time preparing for the interview, listing all the questions she could think of. Finally, the big day came. Cindy went there, thinking that she was fully prepared. It turned out that they simply threw her a one-hour test that contained math problems. Undoubtedly, you can infer how the story went—it was not a happy ending.
In fact, I have heard this countless times from candidates—especially new graduate students—complaining about situations like this. They went through job descriptions and company websites repeatedly, hoping to predict all possible questions. But interviewers basically went through their resumes and asked a few unrelated questions instead of questions about the positions they went in for.
There would be a considerable performance improvement if a candidate received more information about the interview. On the other hand, candidates could improve their interviewers’ satisfaction levels by being well prepared.
But how far should we, the recruiters, go? Of course, we don’t want to provide a negative candidate experience by putting them into totally unexpected interview situations. However, as a person who speaks for the company, we cannot completely stand on the candidates’ side by revealing too much to them.
Now, do you feel like you are in a dilemma? Perhaps you’re not. A recruiter should make sure that candidates are well-informed about the interviews but also ensure fairness. As long as you can define a clear line, then it should not be difficult.
Information to share:
- The type of interview they are facing – is it one-on-one or panel interview?
- Who they will be meeting with
- Question types they should expect – general questions, behavioural/situational questions, technical questions, or just a test
- Any documents they need to bring along – resumes, transcripts, etc.
- Other information – the story behind this position, the team’s vision, interview attire, etc.
If you are a job seeker and currently attend interviews, I suggest you request the information listed above when you receive interview invitations. It will improve your interview preparation, and more importantly, help you gain more confidence.
Information to avoid sharing:
- The specific interview questions
- What type of candidate the hiring manager tends to hire.
A recruiter is like a bridge between the candidate and the employer. If you build this bridge well, it could improve candidate experience and shorten the time it takes to find the right person for your company.