A Decline in Decorum

Interviewers Display Bad Behavior

Fall 2007

Despite the fact that companies are in tight competition for talent, we’ve heard from many candidates that hiring managers are not treating them as a top priority during the interview process. In fact, many hiring managers are displaying a decrease in decorum that has become counterproductive to landing good people. According to a study conducted by Vault Inc. (www.vault.com), a career information resource center, 37% of respondents believe that interviewers’ manners have significantly declined over the last two years.

Here’s a list of the worst and most repeated offenses:

 Answering cell phones and emails during interview
 Failure to prepare for the interview
 Late to arrive and making the candidate wait beyond a reasonable amount of time
 Dominating the conversation and interrupting the candidate
 Failure to look the candidate in the eye
 Making the candidate feel uncomfortable
 Asking personal questions that are not job related
 Not taking notes

Candidates get a real taste of your organization through the interview experience. Hiring Managers need to be aware that candidates place high value on working for a company that makes human capital their most important asset. Displaying poor interviewing manners and etiquette indicates the contrary.

From our years of experience, good manners and a well-conducted interview will not only entice top talent but will help to create ambassadors of goodwill. For example, on average an organization will interview 5 candidates for every one position, leaving 4 people to tell others about their experience. A negative experience will tarnish the reputation of a company whereas a positive experience resonates even among rejected candidates. Yes, you read that correctly. Even a rejected candidate can still walk away feeling good about how they were treated.

With the labor market very competitive today, it’s time to turn the microscope inward and assess your hiring protocol. Hiring authorities need to remember that they are being scrutinized as much as they are scrutinizing the candidate. They must treat the interview like it’s their most important meeting of the day. In fact, it probably is.