Talent acquisition is a time-intensive process. From attending career fairs to onboarding your latest hire, it’s a cycle that repeats itself again and again. Because everyone is competing for top talent, it’s also a race against the clock, which means candidates are more likely than ever to drop out of your pipeline and pursue another opportunity.

That’s why the job interview is so essential for recruiters. It’s an early, face-to-face opportunity to engage a candidate, assess their skills and personality and communicate your organization’s value. Research shows that the recruiter and the interview are some of the most important parts of the hiring process when candidates are deciding to accept or decline a job offer.

Squandering this prime opportunity could give star candidates a negative impression, ultimately deterring them from further pursuing a role at your company. After all of that hard recruiting work (like late night emails, phone calls and travel), it can feel downright criminal to see a candidate go.

To prevent top talent from walking away, avoid these two big mistakes that many recruiters make during job interviews:

1. Lack of preparation

Think about how great candidates prepare for a job interview. They take the time to research your organization, make a list of why they’re a good fit for the position, and present themselves appropriately and professionally.

Can you say the same about yourself or the recruiters you work with? Interview preparation isn’t just for candidates — it’s an essential step for recruiters to assess an applicant’s skillset. If you’re glancing at a candidate’s resume for the first time during their interview, you’re not only missing an opportunity to better evaluate their skills, but you’re forcing them to repeat details that they likely already included in their application.

It’s also important to create a detailed interview format when preparing to meet a candidate. Have you written thoughtful, open-ended interview questions to assess the candidate’s skills, personality and cultural fit? Or are you simply relying on obvious yes-or-no questions? Is your judgment criteria too specific, backing you into a corner where you’ll never find the right fit?

Talent acquisition software makes it easy to avoid these issues. Evaluation tools keep hiring teams on the same page by providing a central location to access key interview questions, tools and information.


2. Not respecting a candidate’s time

Don’t you hate getting to a doctor’s appointment early, only to get stuck in the waiting room for an indeterminate amount of time? What about when the cable company offers a six-hour repair window, only for the technician to arrive late?

Wasting time, no matter the circumstance, can be frustrating. But unfortunately, recruiters do it all the time. Making a candidate wait in the lobby before their interview or neglecting to prepare for interviews leaves candidates feeling like their time has been disrespected before the interview even starts. And lack of follow-up after the interview makes candidates feel confused and undervalued. Does that sound like a good candidate experience?

Remember: it’s likely that your candidate had to take a day off of work, find a babysitter, or make some other arrangements in their life to accommodate your interview. And when a candidate feels as if their time is being wasted, it can leave a very poor impression of your organization’s priorities and time management capabilities.

To save everyone’s time, use interview scheduling software so that applicants can select a date and time that works best for them. It’s an easy way to give candidates control over their interview, and helps them meet with the right people sooner. If the interview needs to be rescheduled, interview scheduling software makes it easy for either party to reach out and find an alternative time. Once the candidate arrives, meet with them on time and follow up after the interview with next steps.